SYNOPSIS: Young Bruce Wayne’s global journey to become the Dark Knight continues as he finds himself deep in the heart of Moscow searching for Avery Oblonsky, the world’s foremost expert in disguise and espionage! Finding this phantom will prove more difficult than expected, but is Bruce willing to die trying?
Bruce Wayne — joined on his quest by “Anton” — has been incarcerated in Russia for thirteen days. They were still adhering to Ducard’s list of experts when they got arrested in their search for ex-KGB operative Avery Oblonsky.
If you’ve known me for all of ten minutes, you’re probably aware that I’m a massive James Bond fan, and Zdarsky crafts a tale that is chock full of espionage and international intrigue. He even throws in some Mission: Impossible-style mask work for good measure!
Something I really love about this series is how Zdarsky adds to the tapestry of Batman, acknowledging various aspects of the lore to come, laying the groundwork for it in this series. This time out, we see Bruce get the makeup scar he dons in Batman: Year One. He has a light touch with these elements, not calling too much attention to it, but eagle-eyed readers are sure to note the callback (call-forward?).
Zdarsky plays up the competition between Bruce and “Anton”. I haven’t been a huge Ghost-Maker fan, but I’m warming to him due to this series. He’s a good foil for Bruce here, whose mission needs some refinement. I can see how his cavalier attitude helps to push Bruce, making him strive to be the best he can be.
Colors continue to be a delight. Ivan Plascencia makes each environment feel different, adding the glow of decadence to the American embassy and a sterile coldness to Oblonsky’s base of operations. There continues to be heavy use of shadows when it comes to the face of Bruce Wayne. Whether or not that is Plascencia or the work of DiGiandomenico, I’m not sure, but I love it nonetheless. I’d be thrilled to have a Batman: Noir edition of this sitting on my bookshelf one day.
I feel like DiGiandomenico is channeling his inner Kubert for some of these characters, particularly Oblonsky. His distinct style is still very much present, but I am reminded of some of Andy Kubert’s faces. Panel work is pretty standard, favoring widescreen, cinematic-style panels. Nothing too groundbreaking, but it gets the story told effectively and lets the coloring and linework stand out.
Batman: The Knight continues to be a fun, at times exhilarating, read. The visuals are outstanding and every issue gets me more excited for when Zdarksy takes over the main Batman title! Make sure you get in on the new(ish) ground floor! – Javier E. Trujillo