The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1 – Review

Writers: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Cover: Jock
Variant Cover: Gabriele Dell’Otto
Editors: Jamie S. Rich, Katie Kubert, and Dave Wielgosz

The Batman Who Laughs mini-series has been a huge hit for DC thus far, easily going back for second and third printings, and with the amount of fan love for the character The Batman Who Laughs (who I will refer to as the BWL from here on out) it isn’t all that surprising how successful his mini-series has been. One of the newest characters brought forth from DC’s Dark Multiverse along with the BWL is another evil version of our beloved Caped Crusader. The Grim Knight, who has been described as “Batman if he had picked up the gun in Crime Alley”, is at first glance Batman meets Punisher, and yes that is definitely as badass as it sounds.

The Grim Knight #1 focuses on telling the origin of this new and twisted Batman, while also subtly moving forward the main plot of The Batman Who Laughs. The Grim Knight’s origin leans heavily on the lore we see in both Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns. As a huge fan of both books, it is awesome to see so many visual callbacks and the tone of Miller’s work suits the Grim Knight exceptionally well. The gigantic difference between any Batman we know and the Grim Knight is his willingness to use extreme violence and lethal force.

This Batman won’t just cross that line, he’ll do somersaults over it. The Grim Knight is fully decked out with essentially an entire armory on his back and using WayneTech he transforms Gotham into his own criminal eliminating sandbox. It’s a really compelling thing to see what Batman could be like without any regard for a moral code. It also brings up an interesting debate about whether or not these extreme methods are better for Gotham. The Grim Knight’s effectiveness is absolute, but is the cost worth it? This conundrum offers interesting character exploration for both The Grim Knight and our main Batman.

Risso delivers some stunning art throughout, including some brilliant renditions of iconic scenes. The violence is blunt and brutal and we’re given the perfect amount of details. Stewart’s colors compliment every bit of Risso’s work, and the difference in coloring between past and present help elevate the book and separate the narratives. Stewart’s colors also set a mood that oozes off the pages.

Overall The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1 is a hell of a story that delivers another great alternate Batman. There is a ton of potential waiting to be explored with this character and this issue just barely scratches the surface. I can’t wait to see the Grim Knight in the rest of The Batman Who Laughs and part of me hopes he has some staying power, perhaps on an alternate Earth.

SCORE: 10/10

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