WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Detective Comics #1001 from Peter J. Tomasi, Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy, Nathan Fairbarn and Rob Leigh, in stores now.
When fans learned the Arkham Knight was coming to DC comics, conspiracy theorists immediately began scouring for clues as to who the villain would be. In the Batman: Arkham Knight video game, it was Jason Todd beneath the armor, but considering he's pulling double duty as Red Hood and the new kingpin Penguin's empire, we can safely rule him out.
As the speculation continues, however, Batman has a lot more to worry about than who's under the mask. That's because Detective Comics #1001 introduces the Arkham Knight's biggest weapon: a new league of assassins called the Knights of the Sun.
When the Arkham Knight debuted in Issue 1000, it became clear the comic realm was fashioning a very different path for him. He isn't bitter like Jason, but instead more cerebral, and adheres to the belief that Batman is an instrument of hate, violence and oppression. And as we find out, the Arkham Knight has created the legion as the antithesis to the symbol of the Dark Knight. The Caped Crusader operates in the shadows, using the night as a weapon of destruction, and that's why these Knights must function in the light.
When the initial phase of the assaults begins to unfold, the Arkham Knight has been killing bats in Gotham as a distraction while he builds a devices meant to create a mini-sun above the city. He intends to take away Batman's greatest ally, the shadows. As he tells his crew, they must "burn bright and burn the dark back," so they can take back Gotham. It's no surprise we don't find out who Arkham Knight is so early on, but when Batman comes to investigate the device exploding near Gotham Zoo, he gets up close and personal with his crew as they ambush the hero.
They're clad in special suits that deflect all of Batman's weapons, and shockingly, with their unique swords and arrows, they somehow penetrate Bruce Wayne's armor. It appears they have intimate knowledge of Bruce, something we've seen Hush expose in the past; they know his weak points. Or it could simply be dumb luck. But by the way they dissect him, clearly there's an X-factor the creative team is keeping close to the vest.
This new development will certainly test Batman mentally and physically. After all, Bruce has gone up against so many societies and cults, from Ra's al Ghul's League of Shadows to the Court of Owls to Kobra to Azrael's Sacred Order of Saint Dumas. But none has ever put him down in such a dominating manner. By the end of the issue the Arkham Knight himself enters the fray, incapacitates Batman, and ends up holding up his sword and shield victoriously.
It's interesting he and his army aren't using high-powered guns like Jason did in the game, opting instead for something more medieval and intimidating. ell, when it comes to the Arkham Knight and his minions, hopefully clues come Batman's way sooner rather than later, because as it stands, this foe knows the Caped Crusader well, and is ready to burn to the ground everything he stands for.
Detective Comics #1002 goes on sale April 24.