Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Sean Murphy
Artwork: Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth, Todd Klein
Release Date: 4th April 2018
He’s back. But not in the way we thought he would be. Just like everything that has happened in White Knight to this point, things never go quite the way you expect them to.
The actions of Neo Joker taking the city hostage have stirred the real Joker from Jack’s head – or so we thought. Napier has been hinting all along that the drugs are starting to lose their effect, and in the same way his house of cards of a safe Gotham is starting to fall apart.
Now, he has no choice but to enlist the help of the one man he fought so long against, Batman. And in doing so we really see how similar his path has been in that of Bat’s, and how, rather than embracing vigilante justice he just fell back into secrecy and villainy, becoming more of a Joker than the deluded schizophrenic ever could.
This issue is one of emotional conflict and provides some resolution of many of the threads of the story so far. In my first read-through I thought it seemed like it was too tidy. Given the complete deconstruction of Bruce’s life, the sudden resolutions seemed out of place. But then it dawned on me what was really happening, that Sean had been staying true to the characters all along. Not just that, he was staying true to the state of Gotham and its reliance on those who are willing to go beyond the confines of the law for the greater good.
That said, not everything is resolved here. Not by a long shot. As I don’t want to spoil any of this issue I will have to word this extremely carefully, but while the journey to the flash-forward in issue one is now complete, it’s far from over, and both Batman and Jack will have to atone for their collective sins.
It’s true that the villain I (and many other readers) believed Batman to be is still partially there, but a lot of it was smoke and mirrors and all about perspective. Is he redeemed? Yes and no, but again that depends on your own subjective reading of the book. But both him and Jack, Nightwing and Batgirl and many of the other characters have all had to confront their own views, and act accordingly to what they now think is the right thing to do. It’s very humanising to see superheroes forced to do this, and it provides a welcome breath of fresh air in the comic world.
As we lead up to the finale it’s going to be extremely interesting to see if it goes the way I think it will, or whether – knowing Sean Murphy – the conclusion will be completely bloody unexpected.
It goes without saying the art is yet again brilliant. Painstakingly detailed with Murphy’s own unique style marrying perfectly with the emotional depth of the characters actions and discussions. It’s starting to feel like the Breaking Bad finale where all the questions are getting answered, which is both satisfying and disappointing that the ride is almost over. Saying that, Mr Murphy, did you just drop a Red Hood clue for the sequel you sneaky bastard??
The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
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