Batman: White Knight #1-3
Writer/Artist: Sean Murphy
Colourist: Matt Hollingsworth
Unlicensed weaponised vehicles, property damage, endangering members of the public, trespassing on private property, assault, destruction of medical equipment and attempted murder by lethal dosage. When all is said and done, is Batman the good guy, or the bad guy?
This is the central element of Batman: White Knight, as The Joker apparently comes clean and shows the world Batman as he really is – the greatest villain Gotham City has ever seen, and one that the GCPD have been allowing to act unrestricted on the city streets for years. The Joker is determined to be the good guy as Jack Napier, and he's going to repay Gotham the debt the city is due – by saving the city from the Dark Knight.
Having a single person on art and story often gives a brilliant consistent tone in a comic – one man or woman's vision perfectly laid out – and White Knight is a great example of this. Sean Murphy captures the grime and filth of Gotham and shows how Batman is as much a part of the problem as the solution. The first issue opens with a classic story-telling trick of showing us a single scene and then jumping back a year to start to explain how we get to that point, and it works fantastically, setting us up with anticipation for how things get there.
There's a nice use of existing Gotham regulars, mostly taking their traditional sides in the fight, but with some feeling torn about whether Batman or Napier is in the right. Duke Thomas (The Signal) is especially well written when he joins the story, as is the concern held by Jim Gordon and Batgirl that perhaps Napier has a point. It's not clear where this is going to go yet – is this all going to turn out to be a ruse by The Joker, or is his new found heroic determination sincere? – but I'm looking forward to finding out.
This hotly anticipated mini-series makes you look at everything in a new light and question all your assumptions about who is the villain and who is the hero. Well written, good art and an intriguing premise make for a great read, highly recommended.
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