Written By: Sean Murphy
Illustrated By: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: DC Comics
Batman: White Knight has slowly distinguished itself from its kinship with the many iterations of Batman lore, particularly that of the last 7-10 years, by committing wholly to its bizarre tale. All of Gotham is upended at the hands of the Joker, yet again, but this innocent side of Joker is not something the city is used to. It’s not something any of the Bat-family are used to. Nightwing and Batgirl are doing what they can to help contain the damage, but even they are sensing that whatever grip is closing over Gotham is far beyond their ability to defy. It doesn’t help that Bruce isn’t the Bruce they know anymore.
Publicly, Bruce as Batman. is reeling from the discovery of Gotham’s hidden “Batman repair fund.” A pool of money which, in essence, is used to rebuild Gotham in the aftermath of Batman’s harrowing adventures; however, it’s also a pool of money yanked from the people’s taxes and exploited profitably by the 1 percent. Privately, Bruce is mourning the unexpected loss of the longest living parental figure he’s ever had.
Having no idea about Alfred’s passing, Jack Napier has begun to turn up the heat with his campaign. This is no longer a toppling vendetta against the Batman; this has now evolved into a full-fledged heroic venture against Gotham’s ever present darkness. Jack Napier is hell-bent on bringing the light to the shadows, and his partnering with Backport’s hood leader Duke Ellington is the signal to the rest of the city that real change is coming. As he continues to feed on the very unrest that Batman has always cultivated in his wake, Jack is able to expose and assuage the genuine desire for this ongoing war over Gotham’s soul to experience some real resolve. Not just in Gordon, but in Batgirl and Nightwing too. Why? Because Jack wants to redistribute the Batman repair fund to GCPD to form a powerful squad of elite cops trained and led by Batman’s two greatest sidekicks.
The art is breathtakingly dark in its vibrant expressions. There’s not a whole lot of smiles going on in this book, which opens us up to the many subtle variations the face is capable of making. I’ve noticed a consistency of imperfections as well: at times Batman is slim, and in other panels he’s too bulky. I am unsure if that’s intentional, but the effect is an eye catching one that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the story. It actually has the opposite effect; because the entirety of the tale is so intelligently executed, it makes me ask myself “why is this here?” Anytime a flaw can draw you deeper in is a sign of a good story being done well. Also, I want to say, I’m totally digging the jacket over Nightwing’s outfit. I didn’t think I’d like it, but… I do. I really do.
4 Harley Hammers out of 5