KNIGHTED #1/ Written by GREGG HURWITZ/ Art by MARK TEXEIRA/ Colors by BRIAN REBER/ Letters by ANDWORLD DESIGN/ Published by AWA STUDIOS
Bob Ryder might be called a loveable loser, except almost everyone seems to despise him. He’s hated by most of his co-workers in the NYPD, who think he’s brown-nosing his way to promotion by dating the commissioner’s daughter and working as a crime scene analyst rather than as a “real cop.” Even his girlfriend Kendall seems to find him tolerable, at best, turning down his marriage proposal because she wants more from life than he’s giving her and thinks he could be so much more.
Fate seems to throw Bob a break when his half-assed efforts at heroism and stopping a gas pipe from breaking bring about the accidental death of New York’s greatest superhero, The Knight, while he’s in the middle of playing peeping tom. Soon Bob finds himself spirited away to a secret cave where a surly butler informs him that the only way he’ll be avoiding jail time will be stepping into the rubber armor of the city’s protector. Like it or not, he’s been… KNIGHTED.
Knighted does not try to hide its roots. This series is clearly a send-up of a certain Dark Knight Detective, from the Batman: The Animated Series font on the title page to the clearly corrupt city with do-nothing cops content to sit back and let the city’s superhero deal with problems like a crime wave committed by thieves with cyborg implants. No, Knighted is not subtle, but it is hilarious.
The script by Gregg Hurwitz evokes the spirit of similar dark comedy superhero stories by Tom Taylor, Mark Russell and Garth Ennis. The difference is that Hurwitz effortlessly keeps the laughs coming, even as he establishes the rules of the world and how there’s a small percentage of people who developed superpowers in the wake of a pandemic. At the same time, there’s a genuine effort to inspire pathos for Bob Ryder, who brings to mind Christopher Reeves’ clumsy Clark Kent act played painfully straight. The final effort is familiar and comfortable, yet oddly unique in its execution.
The artwork suits the story well enough. Artist Mark Texeira has been a Marvel mainstay since the 1990s and the visuals here seem born of the grim-and-gritty aesthetic of the time. The Noir feeling is strong, with heavy inks and black borders and grim greys and blues dominating the colors by Brian Reber.
Knighted is the best book of its kind since Irredeemable and sure to bring a smile to Batman fans who enjoy a good joke. And make no mistake – this book is a very good joke. Yet it may also be a good foundation for a new superhero universe.
Knighted #1 releases on November 3, 2021.