Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo re-team after their days of the New 52 Batman stories for the ‘Last Knight On Earth Book’ DC Comics Black Label trilogy. It takes place in a dystopian future and features Joker’s head in a lantern. I previously reviewed the individual issues, but since it is out as a collected edition, I wanted to revisit it.
Bruce Wayne awakens in a strange asylum reminiscent of Arkham Asylum and finds Alfred Pennyworth trying to keep him there. He manages to escape and finds the head of the Joker placed in a lantern. The Joker is alive and offers to guide Batman through the desolate region. Batman is attacked by Green Lantern wielding zombies only to be saved by Wonder Woman. She tells him the world has been conquered by Omega, a supervillain powered by the Anti-Life Equation who killed most of the Justice League including Superman. Omega hears of Batman’s returns and dispatches Bane and Scarecrow to find the Dark Knight. Batman finds the Fortress of Solitude where Lex Luthor is trying to find a way to undo the damage done by Omega. Later, Batman meets up with Nightwing and Batgirl, imploring them to have a showdown with Omega, who may in fact be a corrupted clone of Bruce Wayne. However, the villain is waiting in the wings.
While it was good to see the duo who brought us such great story-arcs as Zero Year and the Court of Owls, I have to admit, this new story is underwhelming. The artwork is good, per usual for Capullo, and the journey to leave Arkham Asylum is interesting, but I did find the world-building problematic.
I know that in this age where inclusion is more important than good writing, where are all of the men in the Justice League? The only two named deaths are Batman and Green Arrow. While others are mentioned to have fallen, why all of the men, but Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy, Vixen, and a few other female Leaguers survive? Where’s Black Lightning, Simon Baz, Cyborg, Hal Jordan, Firestorm, and the others?
As for the Green Lantern angle, I know Mogo is responsible for sending out Green Lantern rings, I find it hard to believe that the Guardians would just let human zombies have them. Even if they feared this new villain Omega’s powers with the Anti-Life Equation, they have been shown in other comic books to have the ability to recall the rings to Oa. I know I’m knit-picking, but still, it is hard to argue with dozens of years of canon.
Also, and this a bit of a spoiler, the headless Joker gets attached to a Robin-branded robotic body that Tim Drake built. After this, the Clown Prince of Crime insists on being called “Robin.” I felt that this was incredibly dumb. Come on, this is a mass murderer that Batman felt compelled to drag across this barren world. It got kind of old after a while.
The first two parts were a bit underwhelming, but fortunately, the finale wraps everything with a twist so unexpected, your jaw drops. Sometimes, these twists, especially in comics, can feel like a gimmick, but this one, without giving too much away, rescues the series. Honestly, it feels like the first two parts were not utilized to their fullest potential, but the final round does redeem it. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are a good duo when it comes to Batman comics.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of Superman: Year One and Feast Or Famine. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.