Most brick and mortar suit stores don’t sell movie-inspired outfits such as this one, and there is little hope of finding a Joker suit in a shopping mall. It takes a little while – long enough that I thought maybe Snyder was going a different route this time – before Snyder’s themes start to come out in this story. The story takes place in the middle of the 21st century, a little further in the future than the present. As readers we understand this as patently untrue, as demonstrated no less than by the Bat-family still present and fighting for good in the future. Here again, where Metal often went small and dark, Knight is big and expansive, with Batman fighting his battles in semi-daylight. But Snyder, via this young Batman, interprets it another way too, that if Batman is not special, if he’s just one person among the rest of humanity, “then so be it” – that again, Batman is only human, and thereby inspires us to our better selves. These days to go into a Scott Snyder Batman tale (whether Dark Nights: Metal, The Batman Who Laughs, or the end of his Batman run) is to expect certain thematic elements, namely that Batman is not so much a frightening dark night as a paragon of humanity that inspires our better selves.
It is more in the vein of their Batman: Zero Year than Metal, perhaps more unusually bright for a Batman story than what one usually expects, but with a summer blockbuster ending akin to the team’s Court of Owls. The two teamed for Dark Nights: Metal, but for all the craziness, Metal never captured the magic of Snyder’s Batman for me, nor did Capullo’s art on the (albeit enjoyable) crossover seem quite up to snuff. The second volume of Black Ring begins with the two-issue crossover with Secret Six (also collected in Secret Six: The Reptile Brain), an annual, two issues guest-starting the Joker and Orange Lantern Larfleeze respectively, and the two-part conclusion. Of these, the Joker’s is the best chapter and the most like the great material in volume one. That much of the second volume of Superman: The Black Ring is good, and this is a successful examination of the Lex Luthor character, though it all does get somewhat marred by too much cosmic hoo-ha. There’s a great nerd-chic moment that follows in which Lex and Braniac shout techno-babble at one another, and I’ve appreciated how both Black Ring and Grounded have called back to the “New Krypton” storyline more than I expected, as in the fight between Lex and Brainiac.
This is the Batman who held the door to the Hall of Justice open for a raving mob, hoping to reason with them, rather than the Batman who’d have frightened them away and shut the door. We’re reminded how different Snyder’s Batman is from Morrison’s before him; though Knight has a Morrison-ian bent in the sound of a door opening resonating throughout history, Snyder’s Batman has always (at least since Zero Year) been the more trusting, less suspicious Batman than Morrison’s and others. It’s curious, however – ambitious, appealing, but curious – that Snyder’s last word on Batman seems to be “Superman.” The tongue-in-cheek final page of Knight is a kind of faux Polaroid of a battle-hardened Wonder Woman, the Joker’s head-as-Robin, and a smiling Batman in a futuristic suit cradling an infant Kal-El who, through time travel shenanigans, has just now arrived to the future. When word of his plans gets out, occupants of Gotham’s three central islands flee the city, paving the way for thugs and villains of all stripes to cause mayhem. Though we’ve seen team-ups between these two arch-nemeses before, Cornell’s issue seemed especially wise; Cornell never tries to find where the two villains coincide, but instead focuses entirely on their differences, and it makes their encounter unexpectedly fresh.
At the start of the book, it seems Alfred is the narrator, a reasonable assumption, though we find later it’s actually the Joker’s disembodied head. With Ledger The Joker’s green hair was stringy and hung in his face. A black mask that covers your entire face. The Die Hard star appeared to be wearing a natural-looking mask that gave him deep under-eye bags and changed the shape of his nose. DIY: – To recreate this costume all you’ll need is an all-black outfit and a full cat/panther mask. Snyder has a lot of ideas, and not all get (or need to get) full exploration, but very surely if Snyder saw fit, there’s plenty of ground in Last Knight that he could return and mine later on. The 47-year-old even broadcast his uneventful stroll through the crowds via the video streaming app Periscope, much to the subsequent lamentations of fans who saw themselves walking right past Dr Bruce Banner himself.
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