Of all the books that are on the shelves every Wednesday, BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT is (and has been) the perfect example of what comic creators should be striving to deliver to fans. I know I can tend to sound like a broken record on some things, and on this particularly, which is that quality story trumps all else.
Writing a comic shouldn’t be about doing what’s the most edgy (for edgy sake), or what’ll sell the most number-ones (because it’s never been done before but lacks any real depth); no, a writer should be telling a story that’s simply good. Sean Gordon Murphy has become a master at putting out great story, and matching that with great art. He’s not attempting to break the norm, or telling a super edgy story to make people’s heads explode. Murphy (from what I’ve seen through his work) is telling a solid Gotham story.
This issue in particular has managed to showcase how the war for her soul has never been about who’s donning the “cowl”, but how its fought (and with whom is by their side).
When I started reading BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT I thought I was in for the usual brawl between Batman and the Joker, but with a twist where the “Clown Prince of Crime” finally got a real upper hand over him. With each issue, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t the usual Batman/Joker story, and instead that it was building and delving into the relationship between the two.
Murphy reached quite the peak in this issue as he to a degree brought the series full circle by playing on a panel from BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #1 where Jack was shown having come to Batman who was locked up in Arkham. Of course, here Jack’s come for Batman’s help to stop Neo-Joker. It to a degree reminds me of the relationship that’s between the Flash and The Rogues, and how they’ll help him stop an even bigger threat who’s threatening to destroy Central City.
The arc between these two characters — Batman and Jack Napier/Joker — has been a hell of a ride. Though where this issue succeeds the most is at being that final shot of adrenaline building to the finale. And for me as an avid reader of comics, I got this gut feeling that something huge will come of the revelation Murphy gave us when Batman told Jack, “But first you tell me what happened to Robin.”
Jason’s still alive.”
Of course it could just be the fan in me hoping that a certain Red Hood donning character makes a huge cliffhanger appearance at the end of next issue, but it’ll be something I’m going to keep an eye out for. And whether or not Murphy intended to stir up that possibility, or if it’s a nice organically produced side effect of the amazing story he’s produced, I’m not mad. Either way this issue was a good installment to the series, and a great “hype man” for the finale.