Batman: Knight Of Vengeance could be the silver lining to the cloud that is Flashpointless. While they do serve their purpose, none of the tie-in series have made the Flashpoint world that interesting. Knight Of Vengeance is the only one that has made me want to see more of what goes on in this new reality. The story is so good, the writing so well crafted that I’m actually going to miss this twisted version of Batman when all is said and done. Knight Of Vengeance also proves another point – that DC would be better to launch an “Ultimates” style universe with this kind of first-rate storytelling than just reboot their regular titles.
Writer Brian Azzarello has done a smart thing by stepping out of the Flashpoint shadow. Instead of playing along with the whole Wonder Woman vs. Aquaman war plot, Knight Of Vengeance tell its own Batman story, just raised up a notch in both nihilism and dark cynicism. The Thomas Wayne Batman sees his crusade as a punishment and he works it that way. Where Azzarello’s genius comes in is how he structures the story. Nothing here feels as though it was changed just to satisfy a greater good. Every character has a part to play in Knight Of Vengeance.
I love the way Azzarello introduces all the new parts of this Batman’s world. Jim Gordon has the same guilt and self-doubt, but with no family, he doesn’t have the strength of will our Jim Gordon does. Selina Kyle as Oracle takes one of the strongest female characters in the DC Universe and puts her in the weakest position. The best of the lot is the Joker, who comes with a twist nobody will see coming. It’s a true shocker. One of those drop-the-comic-book and yell moments.
Even with cool twists and interesting character developments, none of Knights Of Vengeance would matter without Azzarello’s script. It’s interesting because he’s almost DC’s version of Ed Brubaker. The guy who always nails the writing, who always manages to create stories that rise above the standard dreck the company is dishing out. Flashpoint itself is a real mess, but Knights Of Vengeance is totally compelling and not just because it’s part of the big event series. I love how violent this issue is. People pissing their pants, Joker venom delivered through pizza, slashed throats, blood and gore, this is nothing we’d see in the normal world of Batman, it’s just way too twisted.
As comic books go, the final pages of Knight Of Vengeance issue # 2 are some of the best written in recent years. The effect is not just pure shell shock but also heartbreaking. I think Azzarello is using this brutal of a story to force Thomas Wayne’s Batman to trust Flash in hopes of turning this world back to what it was. After reading this, you’ll completely understand why.
The final piece of the puzzle is the fantastic art from Eduardo Risso. It’s clear that Risso has a cinematic view of comic books. Each panel is put together like a scene from a classic noir crime drama. The backgrounds are stark, the figures usually hidden by shadow and the muted colors make give the scenes a documentary style reality. Risso is all about the moment and with every stroke of the pen he makes you believe in the horror of it all. Imagine the cinematography of Apocalypse Now pushed through a noir filter and emptied onto a comic book page. That’s how powerful Risso’s art is in this issue. No matter how bad Flashpoint ends, it will be the event series responsible for giving us Knight Of Vengeance and that makes the entire endeavor worthwhile.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING 9/10