Here we are at the last part of Robertson’s Bad Night, Good Knight story. Batman has had a rough night, chasing down various Rogues, struggling with his own personal demons, and when we last left him, being captured by Quiz. Will Robertson stick the landing, or are the disparate portions of this story just not coming together?
When last we left Batman he was caught in a trap set by Quiz. In this issue we’re quickly brought up to speed about why. Turns out Quiz wants his help keeping Riddler safe, as he’s been caught up in the mess that’s been plaguing the whole of the narrative as he’s one of the Rogues trying to buy up the new gas being sold by Gas Mask. From there the narrative moves pretty fast, and dives into the grand finale as Batman goes to take on both Scarecrow and the person selling the gas.
As with issue #1 there is a lot going on here. We’ve got Batman dealing with Quiz and Riddler, the gas plot being tied up, more villains double crossing villains, and a return to Gordon and GCPD officers on their rooftop waiting for Batman. All in all, it feels like too much. There are so many things happening here that it’s main elements ever really had the time they needed to work for me.
The first element, the emotional core that had me so interested last issue, is now couched in the tale of Riddler and Quiz. The story spends quite a bit of time convincing us and Batman about why he should help them. There’s a whole conversation about second chances, and finding someone who makes life worth more than being a petty criminal, and it tries hard to tie back into the emotional notes Robertson was touching on in the last issue. However, once Batman leaves Riddler we never really turn back to any of that. There is no follow up about Riddler and Quiz, no real internal consideration of them or even the idea of Batman doing his quest for Gotham. It’s just kind of forgotten as the tale moves into it’s conclusion. Yes, the latter half of the story is filled with narration from Batman, but it feels unattached to this opening conversation and the feeling I was getting from issue #2. It’s a new string of thoughts, somewhat connected with Bruce’s exhaustion and his bad night, but there’s nothing to tie readers or him back into any of the segments the story wanted to make important, like Quiz and Riddler or this question of “what would you do for someone you love?”. It’s a bit disappointing that none of these moments really felt tied together in a concrete way for me.
Much like how the emotional core of the story doesn’t come together, the conclusion to the plot with Gas Mask and the Rogues also just doesn’t do it for me. It feels very rushed and in the end I’m not even sure Batman did much more than just get in the way of things. It’s not even Gas Mask he really faces off against, instead it’s a group of thugs hired on by Scarecrow, and then kind of Gas Mask and his men. The fight feels very chaotic, and sometimes that can work in a story. Here it really doesn’t especially since the story is also told partially from the present and partially as another flashback. To top things off, there’s not a solid resolution to the plot really. Things end, but–not in any kind of satisfying way after the chase we’ve witnessed over the past three issues. And maybe that’s the point of the bad night, that sometimes things don’t go the right way or the perfect way, the narration seems to point to that, but it also feels like one more element tacked into a very full tale.
I will say that I absolutely love the way Robertson draws Batman in the rain. Out of everything in this issue, that was my favorite portion. Just seeing Batman perched on a roof and waiting on the meeting between Scarecrow and Gas Mask to go down, and the whole of the landscape drenched in rain is so wonderful to look at. You could just about feel and hear the absolute downpour of rain going on around him.
And I want to give kudos to Diego Rodriguez this issue too, the fight in the rain drenched setting could have easily felt muddied and too dark but he does an amazing job keeping things clean and clear for the reader. Even during some of the more chaotic moments during the fight, he utilizes lighting and other elements to keep things clear and bright and easy to follow.
So how does this whole story stack up when looked at together? From the start of the story I’m not sure Bad Night, Good Knight knew what it wanted to be other than a long tale of a terrible night for Batman. In that sense I’d say it does succeed, Bruce really does have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, night. When looking at everything else it was trying to do, I can’t say it was as successful. I think this story could have worked really well if it had opened on the emotional notes we saw in the second issue, and touched on them again towards the end of the third. Or if it had omitted that and focused on the mystery itself. A tour of the Rogues could have been a lot of fun if that is the sole thing the story was going for. I just wish Robertson had narrowed the scope a little bit more, I think then we would have been treated to a much stronger tale.
- You’re interested in seeing how this whole thing wraps up
- Stories that jump around a lot to tell their tale are okay in your book
- It’s always fun to see Batman take on a couple of his Rogues
I had high hopes for this story going into it. I love a good mystery and the initial set up of the whole arc was enough to draw me in. As was the interesting internal conflicts presented in issue #2. Unfortunately for me, I just didn’t see everything come together in this third part of the tale. It felt a little too scattered and rushed, like it still wasn’t sure what kind of story it wanted to be, even at the end. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad read, it just never quite lived up to what it could be, and as the opening tale in this new revamp of Legends of the Dark Knight I was hoping for a little more.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.