March 13th ushered in the week’s new comic releases, including a one-shot titled The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight. James Tynion IV is one-third of the team, which also includes Scott Snyder and artist Eduardo Risso who along with David Stewart and Sal Cipriano who respectively colored and lettered the issue are responsible for the story.
Tynion recently tweeted a preview of the comic to show his excitement at seeing his name on a cover, but it also gives fans a look at the vintage-inspired variant cover complete with retro DC Comics bullet logo by artist Philip Tan. The issue also has covers by Jock and Gabriele Dell’Otto, all of which emphasize the Cape Crusader’s new gun-toting style.
The Grim Knight Pays Homage
Casual fans might not be aware of this alternate-reality Batman persona who carries a gun and operates a little more like The Punisher than the caring father figure who adopts orphans and raises them to adults under his wing. The cover represents a much grimmer Dark Knight, this time unfurling his massive wings around Harley Quinn to reveal the weapons he brandishes.
Longtime comic fans will recognize this variant cover as an homage to Todd McFarlane’s 1988 cover for Batman #423 where the hero’s wings surround a homeless girl in a similar protective stance. Even Todd McFarlane has been reproduced the iconic cover image for more recent covers. The stance so easily evokes different ideas. Minus the artillery, the original cover is less menacing than Philip Tan’s take, and it serves to exemplify the Dark Knight’s fatherly personality and his willingness to use the resources of Bruce Wayne to protect Gotham’s children when his Batsuit isn’t up to the task.
Within the pages of #423, a tenderness comes to light despite disbelief by other characters. However, The Grim Knight #1 will tell a story of the second-most deadly Batman who will use weapons and wealth to make the city’s criminals pay. The new story follows the Craped Crusader as he hands down his own death sentence to anyone he deems worthy of death. The dark tone makes this superhero story best for mature audiences.
The story also pays homage to the infamous Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. Miller has never been afraid of telling a story that’s too dark or weird. In The Grim Knight, that darkness returns. For those who enjoy Miller’s work, The Grim Knight will be enjoyable and the story skillfully told.
Unexpected Yet Appreciable
Some people may not enjoy the character’s lethal intentions, but the team makes a strong argument for this particular brand of violence as the story unfolds. The Grim Knight is hardly the first time the Caped Crusader has carried a gun, either. He was no stranger to using firepower in early issues; although, guns were scrapped when DC Comics hired a new editorial director.
In many ways, The Grim Knight #1 sees a return to the character’s roots, even though some of those roots might be long-forgotten or never fully explored. Fans seem to enjoy one-shots that allow creators to shine a light on the hidden sides of the Caped Crusader.