“In a world where Batman has gone too far, The Joker must save Gotham City.”
This is the premise of Sean Murphy’s White Knight, a comic that explores what would happen if a now sane Joker began to fight against Batman, who’s now a violent maniac to the eyes of the citizens of Gotham City. I will be honest, when I first read the synopsis of this comic, my mind instantly went to one of my favorite arcs of all time: Batman: Going Sane. I thought that Murphy’s work would be similar, so I was pretty skeptic about this comic.
Batman: White Knight #1
However, after reading just a few pages of the first issue, I quickly changed my mind, and completely fell in love with it. The art of the comic is superb, dark and extremely detailed, but sometimes the panels resulted almost confusing and too much seems to be going on. What I really liked about this comic, besides the art, is Sean’s take on The Joker: Joker is Batman’s number one fan, like in Snyder and Capullo’s Death Of The Family, Joker is absolutely obsessed with him, even decorating his cell in Arkham with pictures and gadgets regarding the Dark Knight, and from the very first pages, we notice that the Clown Prince of Crime is doing everything in order to get Batman’s attention.
Batman, on the other hand, is not necessarily deconstructed by Murphy, but is simply put in an extreme situation that allowed him to snap and act like never before. With Alfred Pennyworth being sick, Bruce is forced to seek help from Mr. Freeze, and with The Joker acting crazier than ever in the streets of Gotham, it was only a matter of time before Batman showed his true violent colors, making everyone question whether Batman is actually helping with the criminal life in Gotham, or is he just making it worse with his vigilantism and violent ways.
It became obvious by now that this first issue is a sort of subtle criticism of Batman’s actions and to the GCPD, that lets it happen without batting an eye.
Batman: White Knight #1 isn’t without its negatives, one thing that I disliked about this comic is some of the dialogue come off almost forced and unnatural, making everything appear heavy.
Overall, Batman: White Knight #1 was a satisfactory and gripping read, and it has all the characteristics to become a classic Elseworlds story, even though it definitely has some flaws here and there. Also, Murphy definitely handled Joker and Batman’s switched roles extremely well, without making it look like a forced change of heart out of the blue. This first issue leaves you craving for more once you finish reading it, and as new panels from further issues are shared almost every day by Murphy on his Twitter account, the hype continues to grow.
If you haven’t read it yet, you can purchase Batman: White Knight #1 here: https://www.readdcentertainment.com/Batman-White-Knight-2017-1/digital-comic/T1727500015001?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy
Batman: White Knight #2
Batman: White Knight, after a sensational first issue, keeps enthralling us with a brand new issue that keeps exploring a very amusing role change between Batman and The Joker.
After Jack Napier’s grand and compelling speech in court, the man who was once known as the Joker, finally gets released and cleared of his crimes, and is now determined to start his crusade against the Batman and the corruption of Gotham City. As soon as Jack Napier gets out of prison, he starts looking for Harley Quinn to reconcile with her. Wearing an outfit inspired by Margot Robbie’s look from Suicide Squad, Harley is happy to finally have her lover back. Jack, however, tries to calm her down and apology for his behavior with a marriage proposal, which Harley doesn’t take well.
While Murphy’s art is superb and detailed, especially in the panels that feature Mr. Freeze, the pacing of the comic is very slow, and the characterization of Harley Quinn is absolutely terrible.
There are actions that Harleen does that don’t line up with her character at all. Murphy’s Harley Quinn appears to not be that obsessed with the Joker – and we all know that her obsession with the Joker is what Harley Quinn is built around in the first place. She is also extremely compassionate, unlike any other characterization of Quinn.
Another thing that shouldn’t pass unnoticed is Harley’s statement: “I struggled to get your attention as you struggled to get Batman’s. And that’s when I knew you were in love… It just wasn’t with me.”, insinuating Joker’s feelings for Batman, another thing that Murphy didn’t quite get right.
Joker is extremely obsessed with Batman, he is, in fact, the only person who is able to keep up with his insanely contorted mind, and Joker’s goal is to finally make Batman understand that it’s all a joke, everything anybody ever valued or struggled for, it’s all a monstrous demented gag. Joker simply sees Batman as the funniest joke he ever heard, and this is why he is so obsessed with him.
In conclusion, besides the very sluggish pace and terrible characterization on Harley Quinn, Batman: White Knight #2 is an enjoyable reading, and some of the panels are so mesmerizing that I wished the speech balloons didn’t get in the way.
If you haven’t read Batman: White Knight #2 yet, you can purchase it here:
Batman: White Knight #3
Sean Murphy’s Elseworld tale keeps exploring how Gotham City would be if the Joker became sane and decided to act for a good cause. Jack Napier’s plan of exposing Gotham City Police Department’s corruption and taking Batman down goes on in the third issue of Batman: White Knight.
As we saw in the previous issue, Jack is orchestrating the perfect plan to earn people’s trust and to get his hands on some of the GCPD’s files that prove their corruption. The plan, as we expected, is successful, and even though Jack had to mind control the criminals, he definitely seems to be the good guy in this comic.
For Jack, everything’s going as planned and he is in control of the situation, for Batman, nothing is going as it should. He almost gets himself killed, and pushes Nightwing and Batgirl away for no reason, apparently. But as we flip through the pages of the comic, with a panel that is brilliantly drawn at the same time, heartbreaking, we find out that Alfred has died, explaining Bruce’s extreme behavior.
As the plot progresses, we notice how the slow pace of the previous issue is completely gone, leaving us with a very interesting issue full of twists and turns. It sure will be interesting to see how Bruce will cope with the loss of his moral compass in the next issues, and so we’ll be exploring more of Batman and Nightwing’s dynamic, but also the “new” Harley’s intentions as she goes after the Mad Hatter.
One thing that I really love about this issue, besides the art that is spectacular as always, is the fact that the dialogue feels natural, rather than the forced dialogue in the first issue, hinting that the writing is getting better and better, but also the Mad Hatter’s characterization. There’s nothing better than seeing Jervis Tetch randomly quoting Lewis Carroll. I think that Murphy really got Jervis’ character right, and is doing his best to portray him.
However, the way Batman is being written is very hard to track, which makes you want to know what he is thinking all the time, and personally find it slightly annoying, especially since there’s not a lot of introspection for the character. The final pages of the comic, however, are disturbing but yet exciting at the same time, and definitely makes you crave for more, as we discover what lies beneath Clayface and we discover what happened to Batman’s rogues in a chilling, last panel.
Overall, Batman: White Knight is an intriguing series so far, the characterizations and dialogues are on and off, so it isn’t exactly consistent. The art is breathtakingly beautiful, and the premise, of course, is amazing. I have high hopes for the series.
If you haven’t read Batman: White Knight #3 yet, you can purchase it here:
Written by Alessia, @riddlemethisv on Twitter.