Knight Terrors #4 is published by DC Comics, written by Joshua Williamson, art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Nesi, and Casper Wijngaard, colors by Frank Martin and Wijngaard, and letters by Troy Peteri. This is the main book for the Knight Terrors event. Deadman, Robin, and Sandman are in possession of the Nightmare Stone and must take it to Insomnia in Arkham to finish this once and for all.
Thie event is in its endgame, and the pacing of the plot reflects that. The trio are tired and desperate. Despite this being so close to the end, it’s a strangely quiet comic. The journey to Insomnia is not paved with much difficulty. There is one brief jumpscare, but it is practically telegraphed. But it is like a small example of what the characters are fighting against. The pacing is extraordinarily slow as Williamson tries to raise the tension ahead of the showdown.
It all leads to a conversation between Deadman and Insomnia, with a final piece of exposition demonstrating why he has so much venom toward the Justice League. Knight Terrors #4 needed that moment to gain some emotion and energy. For after that, things change in a flash. There’s an even stranger feeling, one of futility and hopelessness, and it is one of the most powerful moments of the series so far.
The dialogue for much of this issue left me conflicted. Deadman’s intro and outro’s, like he’s reading a fireside story, have been brilliant. They’re filled with quirkiness and feel genuine to his voice. But the actual speech feels uninspired for much of the book, struggling to find something new or unexpected to say until the final pages. This can also be leveled against Insomnia, the big bad of the event. There are parts of the backstory that are sad and try to make his anger understandable, but it’s a reasoning that has been used many times before. That being said, I don’t think anyone could have predicted what he was going to do by the end of the issue.
The art is awesome. Camuncoli’s work for much of the first period of the comic actually made me enjoy the quiet. From the outside, Arkham is a nightmarish hellhole, whereas inside, it seems normal. When you first see Insomnia, it is the first time we get a real glimpse of him. It’s dark and chilling, with a horrifying level of detail. The issue then shifts into Wjingaards achingly pretty flashback scene, with the painted style revealing dark truths. The transition between the two artists back into the real world is incredible, so seamless I didn’t even notice at first. It’s the lead into the most dramatic and impactful page of the flagship title since the opening issue.
The colors are pivotal to the storytelling of the issue. For much of the book, you can only tell something has changed because the colors shift. The first jolt into a dream sequence is a sudden influx of purple that dissipates as quickly as it enters. The same can be said later, just before Deadman and his team reach Insomnia, where the atmosphere in the corridor gets dark, and the colors immediately suggest something is wrong. The lettering is always easy to read.
Knight Terrors #4 is a slow penultimate issue. It doesn’t mind taking its time to reach the true destination, with brief pages of surprises trying to make up for lack of action. The chapter feels like a bridging issue, existing just to get the Nightmare Stone to Insomnia before the next issue erupts into mayhem. And whilst it has its moments of brilliance and the art is gorgeous, the pacing does slow the momentum down. There are small indications of the series running out of steam in this main book. The horror needs to be more drastic or given a greater sense of dread and intensity.
Knight Terrors #4 is available where comics are sold.
Knight Terrors #4
Knight Terrors #4 is a slow penultimate issue. Whilst it has its moments of brilliance and the art is gorgeous, the pacing does slow the momentum down.