Who is the Gotham Knight? And what are they planning? Your Major Spoilers review of Detective Comics #1004 awaits!
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciler: Brad Walker
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Molly Mahan
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 22, 2019
Previously in Detective Comics: The face behind the mask is revealed! Who’s taken up the mantle of the Arkham Knight? What’s their endgame? And what’s the shocking secret that Batman never knew about a part of his life he’d taken for granted?
A TRULY HORRIFYING ORIGIN STORY
In the subcellars of Arkham Asylum, Batman and Robin have finally found the secret lair of Gotham Knight, realizing at last that they have figured out who is inside the armor: Astrid Arkham, daughter of Asylum founder Jeremiah. Confronted with the truth, Dr. Arkham finally spills the beans, explaining how, years ago, he met and fell in love with a young doctor named Ingrid. Ingrid insisted on providing the best care for even the madmen and monsters of Arkham, earning their respect and even their affection over the years. They married, she got pregnant, but their idyllic life was overturned by a riot at Gotham, during which a heavily pregnant Ingrid was trapped among the inmates. Rather than harm her, they chose to help her deliver her baby, with the Joker himself giving up his shirt to swaddle the child. Ingrid was tragically murdered by a Batarang, thrown by a new transfer, leaving Dr. Arkham alone to raise his newborn daughter. For years, he kept Astrid hidden within the Asylum, during which time she took advantage of the maze of hidden tunnels and secret levels, enjoying the company of The Joker, Clayface, Poison Ivy and more, all the while hating Batman. She even found a stash of hidden ancient weapons which provided her sword, and Jeremiah chose never to tell her the truth that her mother was killed by an inmate and not Batman. As she prepares to destroy the city, it seems like a bad plan…
I actually enjoyed the glimpse of humanity in Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery in this issue, a bit of lightness that I wholeheartedly endorse, even as it seems out-of-character based on recent portrayals. A Joker who treats young Astrid as a beloved niece and a Clayface who defends the girl with lethal force is a likeable change of pace, and the story makes it clear that Astrid’s fear of Batman makes perfect sense given where she grew up. She seems to have the best interests of the city in mind as she tries to wipe out the shadowy monster that’s haunts her aunts and uncles. Brad Walker’s art gives us a much more armored and alien-looking Batman, supporting her thesis, and his Robin is kind of adorable (especially as he jokes that Batman kind of IS a curse on the city.) The delicate features of Walker’s characters are incredibly expressive and attractive, adding more emotional depth the the tragic love story at the core of this issue, and I really like the final page of Arkham Knight standing ready as Batman and Robin fly in on their personal Batwings.
THE BOTTOM LINE: AN EFFECTIVE ISSUE
As someone who’s not generally drawn to Batman stories, I am happy to report that Detective Comics #1004 grabbed me with a strong emotional story and kept me sympathizing with not only our villain, but the denizens of Arkham, drawing me in with really pretty art and a well-conceived story, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. I expected to not care about this issue’s video game antagonist, and was instead drawn into a very satisfying issue of comics.
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DETECTIVE COMICS #1004
I don't know anything about Gotham Knight and I'm not really a big Batman fan, but this issue got my attention in a very impressive way.