The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1 Review

by Hussein Wasiti on March 13, 2019

Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Art by Eduardo Risso
Colouring by Dave Stewart
Lettering by Sal Cipriano
This series has been so consistently strong and this interlude one-shot just continues the streak of quality, and a return to form for Scott Snyder.
The most significant aspect of this book is the presence of one Eduardo Risso and Dave Stewart. Risso is an absolute legend of an artist whose work I greatly respect and admire, and Dave Stewart is Dave Stewart. He's probably the best colourist in all of comics. The combination of these two made for a very impressive-looking book, and one that I might genuinely come back to every once in a while to admire. Risso shifts between the present and the past of the Grim Knight, the focus of this particular book. The way Risso depicts scale, perspective, and emotion are all wonderfully done, all adding to the threat of the Knight. The scenes set in the past have a watercolour look to them. There's a dreamy and faint look to the panels and the colouring is completely different from the present scenes. Risso's depiction of the Knight in these scenes evokes Frank Miller's bulkier take on the character, and intertexually that connected me to a more violent and out-of-control Batman than we're used to. There's an edge to the past scenes that I really liked, and the way that the Grim Knight is depicted makes him seem even creepier than he looks in the present.
When Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV are both credited as writers, I suspect that Snyder provides a plot while Tynion scripts it. It's a solid combination. They work well together and this issue has that essential Snyder voice, a dark horror vibe that works wonderfully with the titular villain. I like how the origins of the Grim Knight play on convention, in that one action causes a sort of ripple effect throughout all of Gotham that fundamentally changes what we know of the city. The Knight doesn't deal with the same threats that Batman does, so there's an interesting dynamic between the two characters. They don't have the same life experiences, unlike the Batman Who Laughs, and that makes for an exciting rivalry. Famous scenes of Batman history are revisited with a twist, and these scenes didn't feel untoward or mishandled in any way. There was just enough different about the scenes that justified their existence.
This should be on everyone's reading list this week, on the basis of Eduardo Risso and Dave Stewart alone. Thankfully the script keeps up with the incredible artwork and we have a genuinely fantastic and brutal issue that delves deep into this new villain.

Our Score:


A Look Inside