Knight Terrors: Detective Comics #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Dan Watters, art by Riccardo Federici, colors by Brad Anderson, and letters by Steve Wands. This is part of the Knight Terrors event. Jim Gordon is not even the Commissioner of Gotham anymore, but he still finds himself dragged into something that even Batman would shrink at.
This comic has a story that is utterly bewildering, showing what can be done within this dreamscape. It exists on two fronts, following two characters. On one side is Jim Gordon, moving through his world, completely unaware that it is not real. Struggling with grief and loneliness, his new ward Sorrow takes up most of his time. But the boy with powerful abilities takes him to a place where a ritual is occurring. This leads us to the other character, one that is important to the whole event of Knight Terrors. It changes Knight Terrors: Detective Comics #1 into something almost indescribable. It becomes primordial and inhuman, approaching a horror that sits quite comfortably with Lovecraft.
After that, things get much more dramatic and unbelievable, brutally involving Jim in something well above his pay grade. There are so many layers to the comic going into the final act. Jim’s determination to stop what is happening, putting him through agonizing, horrifying pain, looks hopeless considering the multidimensional, harrowing foes that have made themselves known for the first time in the event. Balancing the scale of the story made my head spin.
Two characters narrate in Knight Terrors: Detective Comics #1, and they couldn’t be more different. At its core is Gordon, a figure who is probably the most consistent in all of DC Comics. He fights for what is good and protects those who can’t help themselves. This issue demonstrates a true fearlessness in the man, even if he is in the middle of a nightmare. Remember, Gordon isn’t aware he is dreaming, so what happens to him is still upsetting and traumatizing. He’s up against things that can’t even be touched, but that doesn’t matter. Batman isn’t in town, and they need to be stopped.
On the other side of the book is a being that isn’t even human. This leads to writing that is eloquent and sinister. Watters uses repetition for both characters, which really hammers home both personalities. The figure seems more like a collective than a singular being and is one that is tapped into Insomnia’s plan. It knows about the Dreamscape but exists on a plane beyond anything else. There are times when it appears devoid of personality but then displays aeons of evil.
The art is utterly magnificent, part of the sudden transition within the comic. At first glance, it’s a gloomy but classic Gotham tale. There is a very realistic look to Federici’s art, which is what makes the evolution so surprising. The city then falls prey to creatures that are impossible to describe. Haunting and colossal, they change considerably as the issue goes on, becoming things that really hit a primal fear within me that I didn’t know was there. Old Testament angels would wet themselves looking at these things. There are then transformations, humans becoming something else, that are just as twisted. One adopts a design that fits the city in which the comic is located. The injuries that Jim sustains in the book aren’t normal, but somehow that makes them even more uncomfortable to look at.
The colors are natural and unassuming for much of the book. It gives the comic a grounded feel until it becomes as abstract as it can get. More intense tones enter the picture, but it never reaches a point where it seems like a different book to what is going on in Gotham itself. The lettering can be difficult to read, with some of the custom word balloons using custom fonts. In particular, Jim Cordon’s captions have the look of typewriter text, which isn’t always easy to discern.
Knight Terrors: Detective Comics #1 is the scariest and most surprising tie-in so far. What makes it so intense is just how unpredictable it is. Up to this point, nothing had really given the idea that Knight Terrors possessed this element to it, with beings that defy identification. There’s a tragic story within it as an old man struggles with his age and place in the city. Perhaps it is the artist that makes the book so terrifying. Federici gives the entities power and presence like no other that I’ve seen in a comic before. They are so different from anything you would usually find in a superhero comic.
Knight Terrors: Detective Comics #1 is available where comics are sold.
Knight Terrors: Detective Comics #1
Knight Terrors: Detective Comics #1 is the scariest and most surprising tie-in so far. What makes it so intense is just how unpredictable it is.