Dawn of DC Knight Terrors Free Comic Book Day Special Edition review

Knight Terrors is upon us. For the months of July and August, almost every ongoing comic that DC publishes will be part of an event which sees their characters trapped in a “Nightmare Realm” where they must face their deepest fears. Far be it from me to tell DC how to do their jobs, but I’m baffled by the decision to do this event in the Summer as opposed to around Halloween. Regardless, the question on everyone’s mind is whether this event will be worth interrupting everyone else’s stories for two full months, like what happened with Future State a couple years back.  With Dawn of DC Knight Terrors Free Comic Book Day Special Edition (what a mouthful!) we finally get a first glimpse of what to expect.

Whenever these types of stories show up, it’s almost obligatory to have a stretched out sequence of the character not realizing they’re in a dream. Mercifully, Damian manages to avoid all that by almost immediately deducing what’s going on. It actually plays out as a bit of a comedic beat with how absurdly over-trained Damian is in all facets, like a parody of Batman’s prep time. Getting it out of the way early also allows Damian to explain to the reader what’s happening more clearly, since this issue is meant to introduce the premise for the entire event.

One small moment I’d like to call out in Damian’s dream sequence is when the nightmare tries to exploit his insecurities about living up to his mother and father’s expectations. That’s been one of Damian’s earliest character arcs, even going back to his Morrison days. However, as soon as that initial arc ended writers seemed unable to move on from the concept. “Will Damian learn to be less of a jerk?” and “will Damian reconcile his relationship with his parents?” seemed to be stuck on an eternal loop that he would learn and then unlearn every time a new story began. It’s extremely refreshing to see Damian dismiss the attempt immediately, smugly declaring that both his parents love him. If this is the start of actual character development permanence, I’ll be extremely happy.

With the threat established and Damian aware of the dangers, we’re treated to a beautifully drawn, trippy sequence as Damian fights to break free. Chris Bachalo does a wonderful job of creating an almost delirious fight sequence as the action overflows from one panel to the next. The art intentionally blurs the lines separating one sequence from the next, but never difficult to follow along. It’s genuinely impressive how everything flows together despite the circuitous path you take while reading. The two-page spreads especially are where the art really shines, even managing to give a preview of the what the rest of event has in store.

The story itself is only ten pages long, so there’s a lot left open with a cliffhanger ending. The rest of the comic is devoted to ads and covers for the event proper. It gives just enough to whet your whistle and then pulls back as soon as it gets interesting. It doesn’t feel like a complete story, but that doesn’t seem to be the goal and it’s hard to argue you don’t get your money’s worth on free comic book day.

Recommended if…

  • You’re interested in learning about the upcoming Knight Terrors event
  • You want to see Damian fight against a trippy nightmare come to life
  • Hey, it’s free


Dawn of DC Knight Terrors Free Comic Book Day Special Edition offers a glimpse into the nightmares to come from the Knight Terrors event that will dominate DC for two months. It’s an interesting premise with some beautifully drawn fight sequences that successfully leans into the hallucinatory nature of the situation. There’s not enough to render full judgement on what the rest of the stories will look like, but as a preview at least it delivers intrigue.

Score: 7.5/10

DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.