By RUSSELL BERGER
After a stunning #1, Sean Gordon Murphy (writer and artist) does it again with BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #2! See, I get a bit antsy going into the second issue of a title that had a great [or even better than great] first issue, but right out of the gate it was pretty clear there wasn’t anything to worry about. SGM has made it clear that he’s giving us a revenge story featuring two characters that have completely transcended the [comic book] genre in their own way, and man, it’s a don’t miss.
I’m into politics and I’ve been a firm believer that they should generally stay out of comics unless they’re adding to the story, and NOT being shoved down our throats as a way for a writer to whip his/her “political dick” out and stand proud atop of their metaphorical soapbox. SGM displays the former, as he’s quite gracefully managed to tell this story with an aura of political messages and tones about it that an average reader [who’s not into politics] wouldn’t necessarily notice.
I’ve been enjoying his knocks at the “Social Justice Warrior” and “Political Correct” culture,
I found it very interesting with the way SGM captures a very valid point [and concern] that I have dealing the SJW/PC crowd, which is their all too common tendency to side with evil so long that it adds wind to their “crusade’s” sails. Seeing this is great, because it follows what I said about not standing on a “soapbox” to just aggressively express political beliefs held by him [SGM,] but to almost act as a mirror in which we can see how politics and our society currently is.
I’ve also seen glimpses of comparison between Batman and Jack [Napier] to the likes of President Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders. Seeing the aggressiveness and harshness that many attribute to Trump’s words translated to the dark silent physical force of SGM’s Batman. And on the other hand with Jack, you can see the Socialistic vocabulary of Bernie wielded like a sword to manipulate and bring himself [Jack] off as this innocent victim.
It takes an extremely talented individual– no, storyteller, an extremely talented storyteller to craft a story that perfectly takes influence from the world around him and infuses the hot political climate in a manner that doesn’t necessarily alienate one political party or the other, but instead produces a solid work that can be seen to show us how surreal the world is looking.
The twist in this issue was an interesting one– two Harleys.
I figured from the first issue that it was Harley who filmed Batman force feeding Joker the pills, and released the video of it, but I didn’t see coming that the OG Harley [Dr. Harleen Quinzel] had left Joker and this Margot Robbie-esque Harley took up the mantle. I know that this is SGM’s way of paying respect to both the original Harley from the BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and the newer “version” of her that’s evolved over the last ten [or so] years.
It’s a great tip of the cap, and definitely adds a layer of depth to the overall story. We get this look into the Joker/Harley relationship that I see far too often being romanticized by those who don’t understand that it’s an abusive relationship and Joker views her as nothing more than his property and a tool. We see that [the latter] displayed perfectly with the fact that she left him because he was going to kill Robin (Jason Todd,) because he was closer to “the Dark Knight” than him [Joker.]
One of the highlights of this issue was the [brief] continuation of the Alfred/Freeze subplot. When it comes to Batman’s rogues, Freeze is on a different level due to his motivations. Seeing his motivations and Bruce’s intertwine in this similar way to save someone they love brings a glimmer of humanity to them both. Especially in the way that it peels back the blood caked cowl and shows us the person that is the “Caped Crusader” since so far we’ve only really seen him as a ruthless vigilante.
And in the same essence with Freeze as he appears to be this mechanical suit of ice and rage, but in reality is only trying to save his love. I’m curious to see where this goes, and if they’re able to save Viktor from the same fate the mice faced. I think that a portion of WHITE KNIGHT‘s overall success will now rely on this subplot remaining consistently good through to its conclusion.
Hitting all cylinders just seems so perfect [in respect to both the story and SGM,] but yet it doesn’t seem enough to say. I do think that this story is [currently] the best thing DC Comics has going, and that’s even with METAL in mind. Where the latter is taking a full-scale universe crossover event to give us something amazing, SGM is doing that with what could be a monthly Batman book. And because of that, [and all of my review as evidence,] I give BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #2 a 4.9 out of 5.
You can go pick up this Bat-tastic issue at your local comic shop while they still have it, and BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #3 will be gliding onto those same shelves Wednesday, December 6th,
Tragedy strikes, and the Bat-family face the fight of their lives against an army of super-villains and waning public support. A new discovery reinforces Jack’s plot to jeopardize the Dark Knight’s standing in Gotham City, and Harley’s obsession with The Joker reaches a new height—and threatens to change the game for good!