AWA Upshot’s ‘Knighted’ #1 tries to do what many other comic book series have done countless times before, satirise the superhero genre. But in this occasion what started off well enough soon ran out of steam and originality.
With AWA Upshot’s shared superhero universe well and truly established creators are able to now play a bit more fast and loose with what goes on in there. And so we get our first superhero satire title with Knighted #1 by writer Greg Hurwitiz, artist Mark Texeira, colourist Brian Reber and letterer Andworld Design. But not one that’s too original or too clever.
The debut issue does stand off well enough as we are introduced to Bob, one of life’s losers. On the very first page he’s being turned down by his girlfriend after a very public proposal in a packed restaurant, and it just goes downhill from there for him. All resulting in being mugged for the very same engagement ring he tried to impress his girlfriend with.
Meanwhile we cannot help but hear about New York’s premium superhero, the Knight, through news headlines, conversations and such. The very opposite of Bob. And that’s very much brought to Bob’s attention by his police officer work colleagues, all of whom looked down on him. A glorified pen pusher, Bob really is an underdog. Something that Hurwitz points in every scene featuring him. You’ve seen and read this kind of thing too many times already. Enough to make this read like just another clichéd trope.
And to continue with the cliché we all know what happens has to the underdog, right? A reversal of fortunes, but not until our would-be hero goes through the usual gauntlet of misunderstanding, confusion, slapstick and buffoonery. That, I assume, will be the substance to future issues. This one is all about giving Bob an origin.
And so, for Bob to go from zero to hero a tragedy happens; the Knight is accidentally killed by Bob. Although there is a strong suggestion from Hurwitiz’s script and Texeira art that the Knight was not necessarily up to serving the community when he does die. More like serving himself. It’s a great, subtle moment. Or rather would be if Hurwitz didn’t feel like he had to explain the joke dressed up as exposition to a stand-in Alfred who looks a lot like Morgan Freeman.
As the book progresses from there it becomes weighed down in and attempt at satirising Batman as the clear target – something far better achieved in such titles as AHOY Comics’ The Wrong Earth – but not adding anything new to it. Maybe the Dark Knight has been satirised far too many times by now for any writer to come with something fresh? So why green light a series that tries to do that very thing?
It’s only saving grace is Texeira art that is a lot less heavy and textured than it used to be. But, what started off as promising very quickly becomes hum-drum clichéd comics with little to add to the conversation with its attempt at satire.
Knighted #1 is out Wednesday 3rd November from AWA Upshot