By RUSSELL BERGER
Sometimes I get worried going into a title that has held such a steady line of solid storytelling with the amount of hype that’s behind it. You can feel the sinking feeling in your gut starting to build that an issue is going to fall short, but [again] Sean Gordon Murphy (write and artist) gave us a power hitting issue. Expecting substantial strides in plot is the safe bet so far, as we continue to see the story moving forward in every issue and there hasn’t been a moment of pause.
Once I end up making my Top 10 Best Issues of 2017 list, I have absolutely no doubt that BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT will be on it, as this issue [number-three] upped the ante again from last issue [number-two.]
I don’t believe there’s been a title where you don’t get at least one issue that seems like you’ve run into a brick wall, and the story seems to go nowhere. I do expect to come across one eventually for BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT, but the fact that Murphy has been able to keep his foot on the gas through the first three is a good sign that we might not hit a slump with this masterpiece.
One of my favorite parts to this title is how it seems like the plot of Jack Napier doing everything in his power to turn Gotham City against Batman can shift from main plot to subplot, and it doesn’t affect how it comes across. Like in this issue, that is clearly subplot and a background role to the continuing of last issue’s villains being mind-controlled.
Murphy touches on an interesting point in this issue with Jack/Joker’s intelligence.
He [Murphy] goes the opposite route of what I’ve tended to like as the theory of Joker, which is that he’s so smart he’s only acting insane. Here Murphy clearly sets up that the insanity of the Joker has held back his intelligence to a [substantial] degree. I don’t mind it, and I do feel it adds to the basic theme of this title.
Something I’m curious to see if it’ll eventually be addressed in this title is the theory that I stand fully behind in– Batman is a high functioning psychopath.
Two huge things unfolded in this issue, and possibly the biggest being the death of Alfred. This has been something I’ve been waiting to see for a long time, and I’m kind of sad that they’re [DC Comics] still only willing to do it in a basic “elseworld” story and not actually put their money where their mouth is by having it occur in main continuity.
I think that Murphy handled it the best possible way he could, and most accurate. That being that Alfred sacrificed himself for Bruce. A father’s last-ditch effort for his son. And, of course, this makes me beyond curious to how this will affect Bruce going forward. What extreme degree of a downward spiral it’ll throw him into, and how that will meld with his already extreme passion to get Napier.
And Murphy already addresses my basic curiosity in this issue with Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon’s reaction to Alfred’s death and the way that Dick is,
It overall makes me feel like they’re going to turn on Bruce. Seeing Barbara say, “There’s nothing protecting Gotham City from Batman,” immediately sends up red flags. Combining that with her overall disbelief of what’s been going on with Batman, and the way he’s conducting himself going after his rogues gives off a feeling that she’s pivoted to the side lining against him. Especially with this issue.
Her interacting with Dick in this issue alone makes me believe she’ll try [and will succeed] and bringing Dick [who’s already one foot over the line] to the side it appears she’s on. I have this feeling that the two of them [Dick and Barbara] will ultimately be the reason on why in issue-one we saw Batman locked up.
Though Alfred’s death was the biggest points in this issue for the entire title [itself,] the most interesting goes to,
NEO JOKER. Seeing the second Harley Quinn [Marian Drews] transform into the “Clown Prince[ss] of Crime” adds a layer of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character — Calvin Candie — from Django Unchained, “You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.”
Murphy continues to amaze me. His understanding of the Batman mythos, and how to meld the past into the present, build onto both and just give us something new is amongst the best writers out in the comic book industry. And seeing the Drews character take a huge step in character development with such of a short span, and be successful in doing so, shows the understanding of how to utilize the characters he’s telling a story with.
My only negative of this issue was the handling of Jason Todd’s character. I understand that it’s just altering the Robin Timeline to fit the story at hand, but in there lies the rub for me.
I’m a guy who thinks that Dick has to be the first Robin, and Jason second. It plays on who their character are. Dick being the eldest and therefore the shadow cast onto the other Robins, whereas Jason is the “middle child” and the troublemaker. This is a small negative for me, and nothing that affects the story to the point where I don’t like it. I don’t prefer the switch in when they were a Robin, but I can understand and see how it fits the overall story.
So at the end of the day Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth (colorist) have given us another well-rounded piece of the overall masterpiece that I’m sure WHITE KNIGHT will turn out to be. I give BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #3 a 4.6 out of 5.
You can find this issue on a shelf of your local comic shop, and BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #4 will be rumbling onto the same shelves like the Batmobile does across rooftops in Gotham on Wednesday, January 3rd,
NOW AN EIGHT-ISSUE MINISERIES! Jim Gordon and the GCPD are thrown into disarray when Jack Napier leads a show stopping campaign to become councilman of the politically abandoned neighborhood of Backport. Civic backlash brews as Mayor Hill struggles to find creative ways of criminalizing Napier’s democratic aspirations, and Batman’s interference blooms into a liability for the GCPD’s public image. Through it all, the new Joker plots to derail everything—and new secrets about Harley’s past are revealed.