Touted as the final Batman story written and drawn by Snyder and Capullo, an undeniably legendary duo, Last Knight on Earth has a ton of hype going into it. What’s more, this 3 oversized issue series falls under DC’s Black Label, their new ‘mature’ only lineup. We haven’t seen much come out of this say for Batman Damned which I believe was the first series to come out of the branding. It’s important to note that I don’t think this story is canon. So taking both its free range to explore mature elements and tell whatever story Snyder wants into account, Last Knight on Earth has a near unlimited amount of potential. This is truly the creative team’s swan song when it comes to Batman storytelling, so consider me a little somber about the whole situation, but if you love something you have to let it go right? I think that’s what this is for Snyder and Capullo as well. Nevertheless, I’m excited to finally dive in and see what these all-time greats have to offer.
Last Knight on Earth is a very disorienting story. It’s also legitimately a culmination of everything Snyder has written about Batman up until this point. If you’ve never read anything prior, there’s probably some confusion here on at least a few story beats. From a certain perspective, that kind of sucks. At the same time, long time Snyder & Batman fans are all in this together so they should feel rewarded for knowing this stuff. Snyder’s story takes place in the not so distant future. Society has utterly crumbled, both by Omega, a new villainous entity within the DC universe with the Anti-Life Equation, and by general unruliness. This story sets up a pretty strong precedent that chaos is pretty much inevitable, and that when it comes down it to, when we’ve depleted the world’s resources and ripped apart the fibers of ethics, people no longer want to be saved. As such, despite the efforts of Superman, Wonder Woman and the other powers that be in the DC world, Earth crumbles into the apocalypse.
Batman is gone, and while it’s obvious he had a much larger role in the events that transpired off-page to make the world the way it is, we’re only provided with hints throughout this first issue. I won’t get into heavy detail because I do want to avoid any spoilers, especially because this is only 3 issues, but the entire comic is a psychological ride that raises a lot of questions and vaguely answers others. Basically a Snyder story. Joker’s fully functioning head is in a lantern that Batman carries around, so there’s that I guess.
It’s difficult to say much from looking at a story standpoint. Snyder loves to build for big reveals and climaxes and he’s obviously doing that here too. Readers need to be along for the ride or they’re going to feel a little burned by the probable confusion that this first issue is going to bring. Unlike many big idea comic writers however, I think Snyder usually does a solid job of wrapping everything together cleanly so I have little fear that questions will be answered in later issues. The issue does succeed in being wholly entertaining to read factoring in Capullo’s insanely iconic and gorgeous art style and the psychological thrill ride that the whole thing actually is.
I can’t really say it enough: this comic really feels like a finale of something massive in comic book history. Perhaps we’ll see Capullo and Snyder working together on Batman again in the future, but it’s years off at least and while King has been doing his thing with Batman for a while now, the S&C run is arguably one of the greatest of all time. To see DC giving them the reigns and the Black Label branding really feels like a well deserved treat for the creative team. I can’t get enough of these guys, they reignited my love for Batman solo stories, and I wait with bated breath for the issues to come with this short series.
(5 / 5)