Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Batman: White Knight #1 Review

Black and White

Written by: Sean Murphy
Art by: Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 10, 2017

I have really turned the corner on Elseworlds since we started our site and podcast.  I used to have no time for them with all the "real" books going on, but now I look at them as a fun diversion from the regular grind.  Yea, that may sound a bit miserable, but welcome to my world!  So, how does Sean Murphy's Batman story with a twist measure up to other such stories?  Let's find out...

I try not to spoil too much in my reviews, but it's pretty well known that the White Night of this title is indeed the Joker...or Mr. Napier to be correct.  We open up with a sequence with an M. Night Shyamalan twist that shows the reader just that, but it's obvious the book is more about what lead to it all as we go back a year ago to more familiar ground.

I'm a fan of Sean Murphy's art and the darkness of it really sets the mood from the get-go.  This is a dark, mature title that I was invested in from the first panel.

The extended flashback sequence is all about classic Batman versus Joker, but again, there is a twist.  As Batman chases Joker over bridges and rooftops, Batgirl and Nightwing are there to tell Bruce how much he's going over the line.  It's not like he's doing anything out of the ordinary's just that Sean Murphy is having fun with the reality of comic book vigilantism.  

The chase ends with Joker leading Batman into a warehouse when the Dark Knight goes ham on the Joker and then shoves tons of pills down his mouth.  Now this is where Batman actually is fucked up!  The attack goes viral and we are presented with a Gotham who no longer knows if it needs and/or wants a Batman.

After an interesting glimpse at what has been on Batman's mind, we get a peek inside the Joker's.  It's nothing new...Joker and Batman have an interesting relationship and Sean Murphy is about to make it even more so.

The issue ends with Napier not only planning to defend himself in court , but planning to change up his role in Gotham going forward.  Again, it's all set up in the first couple of pages of this issue, but it was still pretty damn cool to see.

I liked this issue a lot.  There is plenty of action, but I love the more subtle bits and love the way that Murphy is playing against the normal conventions in a Batman book.  His art fits the story so well...kind of a caveat of being both writer and artist on the book and even with the darkness here, there is a sly sense of humor beneath it all.  Unless you are totally against Elseworld stories, you should pick this up.

Bits and Pieces:

This is a really good start to a dark and interesting Elseworlds tale.  Sean Murphy is flipping things on their heads while also playing around with comic book conventions to give readers a mature look at Batman and his greatest fan/villain.  Recommended.



  1. Yay a Batman book I can enjoy finally. Dancing Mike would be happy to hear there is no purple cape in this book.

  2. This is why I read comic books. Good story, alternate take on a character. Reinvention of the wheel so to speak. Has this been done before? Probably. Does it make it less enjoyable? Certainly not.

    One of the greatest obstacles of good comics/writing is continuity. People get bogged down on this which often takes away the enjoyment of a book. Seen other reviews/comments on this saying “that’s out of character for Batman and that’s why I don’t like the book.” How about you just enjoy the book as a stand-alone. I’ve never got it. Really think there needs to me more stories like this (Good stories not necessarily “elseworld” stories). That said aren’t they only deemed elseworld cos of the slavery the of continuity? If characters have existed for decades it’s hard to tie up every thing in a nice little bow. Solution, get rid of the box. Think the The Big 2 need to re-strategize their story telling. The whole legacy numbering (Marvel) is going to come bite them in the @$$. Writing in (self contained) volumes would be a better e.g. BMB’s Daredevil and Waid’s Daredevil. Let people choose the one more aligned to their taste.

    But yeah this was a joy to read. Well done mr Murphy. No need to talk about the art cos...; well except the subtle redesigns are a welcome change.

    Of course this is all my very humble opinion...

    @JIM W- are there any general comic forums that you can direct me to to chat about this stuff rather than conversing on an issue by issue basis? As you can see I went off at a bit of a tangent. Lol.

    1. Mr. Anonymous... join the GFC (the Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Get Fresh Crew). Send an email to requesting entry, and you've passed the test! Links to the email are all over the website. Then you can join the Slack chat room, where we all discuss comics and all other kinds of nonsense.
      And like Gerry And The Pacemakers sang, "We don't care what your name is, boy / We'll never turn you away."