Batman: Gotham Knights #40 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Knight Moves – Part Three: Checkmate

Written by: Scott Beatty
Pencilled by: Roger Robinson
Inked by: John Floyd
Colored by: Gloria Vasquez
Lettered by: Bob Pinaha
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics

I mentioned in a recent review of DETECTIVE COMICS how the two main Bat-books are ensconced in a period of greatness! Well, to leave GOTHAM KNIGHTS completely out of the loop is unfair. Whilst not quite up to the par of the current runs of BATMAN and ‘TEC, Scott Beatty is spinning some interesting tales in the runt of the Bat-book litter.

Espionage, intrigue and treason abound in the current storyline. Batman has tangled with Checkmate, sort of like a dark version of G.I. Joe with Chess inspired names, quite a few times recently. Checkmate’s continued pursuit of the Huntress, in the hopes of her joining as their new Queen, is the driving force behind this issue. The way events unfold here, it appears Checkmate will continue to hassle the Dark Knight for the foreseeable future.

The brunt of the action takes place in and around a satellite Batcave in the sewers of Gotham. The action is well paced, and Beatty lends a realistic quality to the Checkmate characters, down to even the lowly pawns. I like Checkmate as a less altruistic group than presented in their short-lived series in the ‘80s. I think the huge amount of resources available to them, and their cloak and dagger nature, help them serve as worthy adversaries to the Dark Knight.

The Bat’s struggles with Checkmate aren’t the only thing going on as of late. Alfred has been shown to be gravely ill in the last few issues, and he’s holding out on Batman. The mysterious illness still hasn’t been explained, but it is making me worry for the future of everyone’s favorite butler. Of course, the idea that Alfred would leave the comics plane forever is unthinkable, but they do have me a little worried.

Roger Robinson’s artwork works very well in the world of the bat. His use of shadow is well placed, and doesn’t dominate the page. Batman is never seen clearly in this issue; in fact his eyes are always shrouded in shadow. This is a great way to go with the character, since Batman should rarely be seen in his full glory, thus increasing the dark aspect of the character. The art overall is pleasing to the eye, even jumping off the page. The contrast between Batman and the other characters is well drawn, and adds to the tension stunningly.