Overview: The Arkham Knight makes his first move against Batman.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): So it begins.
The Arkham Knight stands before his followers and tells them the months of training and dedication have led them all to this moment. This is a moment of clarity where each of them represents a symbol. Symbols are woven into the fabric of this world. People create symbols, stand behind them, follow them, and become them. They have all left behind the darkness and embraced the light. They are now all members of the sun.
Elsewhere in Gotham, Commissioner Gordon arrives at a playground littered with dead bats. He tells a fellow officer to bag one of the bats and take it to be analyzed. He calls Batman and mentions they have a bat problem. Batman responds he has one as well. He tells Gordon to give him a sample of a bat that he found.
After they hung up, Alfred asks if they have begun a long day’s journey into the night. While looking at all the dead bats in the cave, Bruce confirms they have just started their evening. While doing an autopsy on one of these bats, Bruce asks how many of these has he done. Alfred tells him it is his fifty-sixth. Large amounts of bats have died all across Gotham. After finding nothing useful during this autopsy, Bruce goes to the one person who knows more about bats than he does – Francine Langstrom, wife of Kirk Langstrom (Man-Bat).
In her lab, Francine notes she only took the Man-Bat serum once several years ago, but she still is finding the pain unbearable. She must stop the screaming. Batman enters her lab and tries to calm her down. He tells Francine that Kirk is working with the Justice League and he is doing okay. (Read Justice League Dark to follow his journey.) They can work together to resolve this issue. Francine tells Batman they only way to understand the screaming is to become them. She injects herself with Man-Bat serum, and she transforms into a bat.
As she is flying away, Batman uses the rope of his grappling gun as a lasso. He uses the rope to control her descent and avoid casualties. Francine notices something and flies off to meet it. With Batman on her back, she flies through different buildings and arrives at the Gotham Park Zoo, specifically the bat safari exhibit. She lays on the ground writhing in pain saying so many of them are dying. Batman injects her with a serum, and she reverts back into her human form.
While on top of the Gotham Park Zoo, Batman notices a massive beam of light in Gotham. He radios Alfred for a status report. Alfred responds it was an intense, powerful beam of light which produced a concussive wave. Batman realizes someone has just created a small sun over Gotham.
As he goes to the site of where the light was, he is ambushed by a group of knights. The knights’ weapons are penetrating his suit while his weapons are being deflected by theirs. Batman tries to retreat, but is overrun by all these knights. Batman throws a gas grenade at the group of knights, but it is stopped by the Arkham Knight.
While looking down upon a tired, beaten, and battered Batman, the Arkham Knight declares it is a new day in Gotham. It is time for the shadows to start running from themselves.
Analysis: In Detective Comics #1000, we were introduced to the Arkham Knight. This is the first time the Knight has been in comic continuity ever. As a fixture of the Arkham games, we learn that Arkham Knight was Jason Todd. Obviously, this Arkham Knight in #1001 is completely different. It seems he is a part of some cult, one who is hellbent on cleansing Gotham of its darkness. He wants the shadows to dissipate and the city to live in the light. Since Batman lives for the shadows, the Knight must eliminate him to eliminate the darkness.
I am not a big fan of the cult’s uniforms, but that is neither here nor there. From what we see of the Arkham Knight, I really enjoy how Walker is drawing this character. In fact, I think the art in this issue is wonderful. The colors are very vibrant as well.
Final Thoughts: I feel this issue was a tad slow, but the first issue of every run has its problems because it is introducing so many different things. I am excited to see where this story is going.