The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1 Review

Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Pencils and Inks by Eduardo Risso
Colored by Dave Stewart

The Grim Knight #1 serves as both an origin story for the aforementioned character as well as the next chapter in the Batman Who Laughs ongoing saga and plot to take down Gotham City and to turn our universe’s Batman into a nightmare version of himself – just like the Batman Who Laughs.

In this issue we follow two ongoing stories. In the first we see the Grim Knight making his way through the underground sewers beneath the city of Gotham, and he has with him a prisoner, Jim Gordon. Jim tries his best to learn more about his captor and what motivated the Grim Knight to become a stone cold militaristic killer in his universe. The Batman Who Laughs Jim understands, a Batman who is corrupted by and turned into the Joker, but Jim can’t imagine who could have made the Grim Knight this way. As we find out through the story, the answer is closer than Gordon realizes.

The second half of the story is told through memories and well written narration how the Bruce Wayne of the Grim Knight’s universe learned very early on in his life that if he wants to make a difference, if he wants to defend himself and make sure what just happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone ever again, then he has to use the weapons around him to take control and impose his will. So as that Bruce Wayne watched his parents die in Crime Alley, Joe Chill drops his gun and young Bruce uses that gun to kill Chill and gain Control.

It’s from there we start to learn more about the Grim Knight and who helped shape him into the Batman he is today. As it turns out, a Batman who kills is an efficient Batman – one who never had to face off against colorful criminals because he had already killed them before they started. He took control of his city, but someone was there to call his form of justice what it really was: terror. And that person was Jim Gordon.

I personally think it was a pretty cool concept to have Jim Gordon be the one who challenged the Grim Knight on his earth. It highlights how no matter what earth, there’s at least one constant, and that’s that Jim Gordon will always do the right thing to bring justice, even if that means risking his life to take down Batman. I loved the fact that this Jim Gordon made it a point to do things the right way, the honest way, to try to take Batman down by the book, even if only to prove that the book can work.

This issue features two of DC Comics best current writers penning this story, and that really shows in the way that there are seemingly two storytelling styles intertwining together. One is the classic style of straight forward dialogue that pushes the events further along, and the second way the story is told is through direct narration. It recaps things quite nicely, and I honestly really enjoyed the way these two styles and two writers worked so well together.

Ultimately I really enjoyed the way things were presented to us, and it’s always a welcome treat when we are given the origin of a new Knightmare Batman. I found the relationship and interactions between The Grim Knight and Jim Gordon to be the highlight of the book, and it really gave me a much earned feeling of respect for everyone’s favorite commissioner as the events of the story does well to remind us how much of a bad ass Jim can be when his city is being threatened by a crazy psychopath. Where I didn’t end up finding the Grim Knight’s origin to be everything I had hoped for, I did still really enjoy learning what fuels and motivates him, and it piqued my interest enough that I wanna learn more and see where this story will go. I wonder what the Grim Knight’s future beyond this story will be because he’s a very promising character with plenty of room to grow.

I give The Grim Knight #1 / The Batman Who Laughs #3 a 7 out of 10

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