Batman: White Knight is a new stand-alone eight issue miniseries written and drawn by Sean Murphy (Tokyo Ghost) and colored by Matt Hollingsworth. The story takes place in version of Gotham where Batman is too volatile to be controlled so that a recently cured Joker (AKA Jack Napier) must step up and become Gotham’s White Knight.
The opening fight is a cool concept with underwhelming the execution. It isn’t clear whether Joker is fleeing Batman on a scooter or a skateboard and Nightwing just shows up on a motorcycle out of nowhere. The colors on the early pages don’t offer enough contrast– Gotham is rendered as blackness combined with grittiness so many of the forms don’t pop out as clearly as they should. The dialogue between Joker and Batman was uncannily similar to that of the Lego Batman Movie. It’s really jarring considering the comic’s overall serious tone.
The character designs straddle the line between classic and contemporary perfectly. Murphy illustrates Batman’s world with an impressive level of detail and there are plenty of homages to lovers of Batman from all generations. The core concept is original and the story is smart. This is a Batman story for today that explores current obstacles such as police brutality, media polarization, and madmen getting into power.
Batman White Knight is what I believe superhero comics should be. It’s a bold story that has political satire without being too preachy. There is still adventure and a macabre kind of fun. The story stands on its own without the need for continuity or multi-dimensional crossovers. It wasn’t advertised as “the comic to reshape the DCU as we know it” and that is why it’s a series worth you time and money.