Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Sean Murphy
Artwork: Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth, Todd Klein
Release Date: 7th February 2018
Sean Murphy continues to tell one of the most uniquely insane and utterly fascinatingly intense Batman stories ever told in White Knight issue five. I genuinely don’t know what to think any more, but like any great detective I need to pursue this story to the very end, whatever that end might be.
At the end of last issue, Batman stood on the edge of a knife, his redemption in joining the newly formed GTO task force forcing him to admit that he may have been wrong about Joker. However, sticking to his instincts means going down a path that his own family don’t want to drag him out of.
This is Batman at probably the darkest we’ve ever seen him. Not that he isn’t aware of what’s going on. In fact, he’s aware of everything but is completely powerless to stop it. He will resort to anything to try and make the world see sense but it still won’t work, and in that futile journey you’re starting to see what Harley tells Jack.
“Maybe if you two weren’t so stubborn you’d realise how similar you’ve become.”
And on that note, Jack is forever shifting in my estimates. Last issue neo Joker confronted Jack claiming that the real Joker is still in there waiting to come out, and with the few snaps and remarks made in this issue I’m very inclined to believe her. Or am I? I honestly don’t know what the play is here. Will there be a big reveal at the end of this arc where Bats was right all along, or will neo Joker succeed in her own fast-growing villainy?
So many questions are raised by the intertwined plot points in this story that Murphy is weaving with evil genius-level skill. I can see him cackling to himself as he enjoys putting his punky neogothic spin on the roster of new and old characters, moving them around like Edward Nygma toying with his opponent during a game of chess. He knows exactly what he’s doing even if us humble readers still have absolutely no clue where this is going to end up.
The assault on the GPD not only served to widen the gap between Batman and Gordon, but also allowed neo joker and Hatter to uncover a link between Mr Freeze, the Nazis and Thomas and Martha Wayne. Hitting Bruce at his home we see Batman really being kicked while he is down, and by someone we all initially wrote off as a satirical jab at the movie Harley. Her mission to succeed where Joker failed in order to shake him out of his cage really looks like it might actually come true. But that can’t happen can it? The villains can’t win, this is a Batman story isn’t it? ….isn’t it?
The art remains as beautiful as ever, hard-edged and seemingly blacker with every issue to match the increasingly dark tone of the story. And trust Murphy, only he could manage to fit an action scene that would put the road warriors of Mad Max to shame in the middle of a Batman comic. The characters each have their own unique spin while still maintaining their iconic feel from when they were first conceived. And Gotham, as always, is beautiful in its painstaking detail.
Honestly, I continue to lose my shit with every issue of this series that is released. If you haven’t read it yet, you really need to sort your life out.
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The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
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