The Blackest Knight ends this week, and I’ll certainly miss Cameron Stewart, as he is a phenomenal artist who helped this book tremendously, but at least we get a strong showcase for his art before we see him go, with a a rollicking conclusion to what has been a fun arc (and a very important one in the life of Dick Grayson as Batman, as well).
First off, I think it’s really great to see how Morrison has embraced the characters of the Knight and the Squire. He created them for the Ultramarine Corps in JLA (Chris Stansfield is correct to point out that the character of the Knight and the Squire already existed – Morrison just updated them, and created a brand-new Squire), but he smartly brought them back from the Ultramarine Corps for the Club of Heroes arc in Batman, and they’ve been popping up every so often ever since, which is great, because they’re such a blast to read.
I especially like the interaction between the Knight and Batman, seeing as how both of them are former sidekicks stepping up to take over the role of their respective former mentor.
The best part of this issue, though, has definitely got to be the evil clone of Batman.
Forgetting the fact that it’s nice for Morrison to explain whose corpse Superman found at the end of Final Crisis, and forgetting that realizing that Bruce DIDN’T die at the end of Final Crisis is a major revelation for Dick (and which will undoubtedly set the stage for the next series of stories in the pages of Batman and Robin, as the Return of Bruce Wayne looms) – evil Batman is just freakin’ AWESOME!
Morrison already played around with the notion of Batman’s experiences being so painful that no one else sharing his memories could survive the experience (which was a brilliant scene during the Batman Final Crisis tie-in issues), but in this issue, Stewart actually SHOWS us how painful these memories are, by visualizing this clone/monster’s thoughts.
Isn’t that a visually stunning page?
Watching Alfred and a recuperating Damian try to best evil clone Batman (who is almost as formidable as the real Batman) was a real treat, especially watching Damian’s particular twist on being Kitty Pryde in Uncanny X-Men #143.
And when Dick shows up – wow, once again Stewart nails a page, elevating a scene from good to great!
Meanwhile, Batwoman is served quite well in her guest spot. Morrison treats her the way pretty much everyone would love their characters being treated in another title.
Finally, after some striking (pun intended) action scenes, there is also a great little bit with the Knight and the Squire that calls back to the first issue of this book – very cute.
This was an enjoyable story and it now sets up Dick Grayson for the possible return of Bruce Wayne, making this an “important” arc on top of just being a blast of a wild, colorful ride courtesy of a wonderful comic book artist.
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