Bruce Wayne isn’t Batman and never was.
It was all just a delusion – or so he’s told when he wakes up in a psychiatric hospital, surrounded by doctors and nurses (some of whom bear an uncanny resemblance to the villains in his rogue’s gallery…). It’s now up to Bruce to work out what is true and what is a trick as he starts to unpick the jumbled memories of a life never lived.
Billed as the last Batman story ever told, Batman: The Last Knight On Earth starts off on familiar ground as Batman is trying to solve a case that has strange similarities to the murder of his parents. However, from there writer, Scott Snyder, and penciller, Greg Capullo, twist the mythology to deliver one of the boldest, most bombastic amnesiac stories ever.
Batman is in a world he doesn’t remember; a world that has been all but destroyed. Here, all the heroes are either dead or gone and the Joker is a talking head in a jar… and if it doesn’t make sense to Batman, we sure can’t explain it either!
Snyder and Capullo’s seminal work on their last Batman outing, ‘Court Of Owls’, showed the world that they are not afraid to play with canon. Since leaving the main Batman title they have continued to create mini-series titles like The Last Knight On Earth to consistently break the character down, freeing him up to be utilised in new and more outrageous ways without overly diverting from the character’s core.
Narrated by the Joker (seriously… he’s a talking head in a jar…) Batman proves once again he is the world’s greatest detective as he slowly pieces together what has happened, uncovering the true villain behind the destruction of the world and taking steps to make them pay. Featuring a plethora of DC’s heavy hitters including Wonder Woman and Superman, this collected edition of 2019’s three issue mini-series packs in a whole lot of story. (While it is self-contained, you might want to brush up on your DC history – we recommend re-reading Snyder’s story ‘Twenty-Seven’ in 2014’s Detective Comics #27).
Snyder’s storytelling is audacious and confident, layered with cleverly concealed mysteries, each one challenging the reader to re-evaluate the evidence at every revelation. There are not many artists who could match the fine balance of Synder’s story but Capullo’s ability to capture a sense of absurdist, grotesque horror is used to great effect. His creative layouts cleverly pair fantastical and epic splash pages with emotional and poignant panels
Batman: The Last Knight On Earth is nothing short of epic. While it’s not quite as outrageous as Snyder and Cupollo’s other recent book, Dark Knights: Metal it certainly seals their place among the great masters of DC canon, showing off yet again their ability to build on history while creating magnificent modern mythologies.
Batman: The Last Knight On Earth is out now.