The greater part of the book is a Mad Max-ian road trip through Snyder’s infernal future DC Universe, complete with bizarre mutations for both the Green Lantern and Flash family of characters. This is the Batman who believes in the better part of humanity, joker costume and in redemption. 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. Here again, where Metal often went small and dark, Knight is big and expansive, with Batman fighting his battles in semi-daylight. Although there are many different versions of Harley Quinn’s character, here is how we would make the costume no sewing required. These Harley Quinn costumes are perfect for Halloween parties. Cindy Crawford sported not one, but two Halloween looks over the weekend.
Honestly, if you want to have a Joker appearance, you have to have the looks and facial representation. 1, where he was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, the Joker resonated as an out-of-the-box malevolent jester figure with chalk-white skin, garish green hair, and an unexplained facial deformity that twists his face up into a permanent smile. Add to that his displeasing hair, chin-length and in a strange blue-green color tone, worn slicked back and styled to look greasy, and the crazy villainous ensemble is complete. Since their famous Batman collaboration, sure Snyder’s gone back to his Dark Knight roots with The Batman Who Laughs, for instance, but not with Capullo. 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. Opposite the more personal, Jokerized Jack, there’s a school of thought that says the Joker works better when you know nothing about his background or origins. 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.
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. 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. As well, Snyder bandies around the idea of echolocation here, that bats are blind in the dark and use their voices to “see.” Omega treats this as a weakness, that Batman has essentially “called in the dark” his whole existence, with no one listening. My kids are so different. These themes are almost predictable, though surely worth repeating, and I no more mind Snyder having thematic continuity between his works than I do Grant Morrison’s “if you dream it, it will come” aesthetic.
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. 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. The rest of the book, however, never quite achieves that issue (or the previous volume’s) studiousness. Lex Luthor merges with a Phantom Zone creature at the end of this book, and in that way attains the god-like power he’s always craved. The Secret Six story is chaotic, not always as much about Lex as the conflict between Vandal and Scandal Savage. That’s a feint, we find, with callbacks to Bruce and Alfred’s conflict in the creative team’s Batman Vol. Very rarely will you ever see Batman sport anything that isn’t pitch black. Snyder and Capullo’s DC Black Label series Batman: Last Knight on Earth is a cool burst of air, a lush, spacious, clever reminder of Snyder and Capullo’s best work.