Rating: 5/5 – White Knight or Dark Knight?
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Brunell
We are now at the end of what could be one of my favorite Batman stories out there. Over time there have been many different variations and alternate universe stories around the DC Universe. In a sea of Batman titles, Batman: White Knight rises to the top. In only 8 issues readers are provided with action, drama, comedy and maybe something disturbing to help you not sleep at night.
The concept of this story is as follows: during a heated battle between the Joker and Batman in a medication factory, Batman ends up losing his cool and starts shoving random pills down The Joker’s throat. These pills seem to be the cure to The Joker’s mental disorder, and revert him back to his less insane self, “Jack Napier”. Jack goes on to legally rip apart Gotham and start a task force to bring Batman in, finding all the dirty little secrets hidden away, and proceeds to expose them…well, almost all of them. The name drop of Jack Napier for Joker pays homage to Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie where Jack Nicholson portrayed the disturbed comical criminal. Murphy shows his true Batman fanboy background throughout the series.
Writer/artist Sean Murphy, along with colorist Matt Hollingsworth, gives us this side story of an angrier and out of control Batman. Things go like normal, Batman comes in heavy trying to keep the public safe, everything reads like a normal day in the life of Bruce Wayne, but something is different. Murphy brings rationality and some realism into the story. What most people notice is how Batman causes destruction at times while saving the day, but what happens after all this? Who answers for the destruction by this vigilante, how much does it cost the city, and how does all this weigh on Bruce’s mind? Murphy takes the approach of an analyst and spreads it across 8 delightfully tantalizing issues. Early in the story we find out how Harley Quinn has changed over the years, that she didn’t just start dressing different, she is different. The original Harleen Quinzel ended up leaving an abusive Joker, and in his loss, Joker took some “end of her rope” lookalike and just started treating her like a new Harley. Joker let it sink so far down, that even in his rational state of mind as Jack, he had no clue this had happened. The story goes on to explore Bruce’s family connection to Mr. Freeze, Bruce’s actions pay an ultimate price for his actions towards Alfred, a different spin to Jason Todd’s death is surfaced, and much more.
The main elements of the series for me were an upset impostor Harley Quinn thinking she can take the Joker’s place, Batman’s out of control antics and family issues, and Jack Napier’s push to take Gotham into the palm of his hand. Everything is on the table, and though it ended with issue 8, the final pages left me as a fan hoping things will continue one day. From my personal perspective, everything I have ever questioned that stopped me from reading Batman comics over the years, Murphy and Hollingsworth supplied a response that turned my opinion around. This is definitely a favorite Batman comic I can look at and appreciate, and wish it was more than a limited series.
Reviewed by: Adam Brunell
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