Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #4 Review

Writer: Sean Murphy
Art Team: Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth, AndWorld Design
DC Black Label
Release Date: October 23, 2019
Cover Price: $4.99

Hell Hath No Fury ... 

Curse of the White Knight continues this month reaching the official halfway point, having picked up on some of the threads from its predecessor, while expanding on the mythos at play again. I've dug the flashback to the pasts the most throughout this latest series yet some of the modern day Batman stuff has felt a lot like just an extension of the first series too. With a huge cliffhanger last issue involving Azrael and a long time ally of Batman, I was itching to see where that would take us this month, so lets jump in here and discuss, shall we?

Last issue, as I mentioned previously, ended with a bang, and a bit of a splat as well but not because it was bad in any way.  I kid of course, but it all that emotion comes to a head this issue, with Jim Gordon being rushed to the hospital, after being run through with Azrael's sword. Much of the first half of the issue is the various characters of the Bat Family reacting, with Barbra obviously taking things the hardest, and lashing out at everyone while fighting back her darkest urges. Murphy plays the emotional cues in the issue very well, capturing reactions from the different characters in Gordon's life, while even showing how this subtly serves the ultimate purpose of the 'Big Bads',  further fracturing the shaky alliance between Batman and all of Gotham even further.

The middle of the book moves on a bit from all the tear jerking emotional drama as Barbara digs deeper into the case looking for a lead, any lead, to follow up on. Meanwhile, the connections between Batman and Azrael are further explored, as Batman is left trying to interpret the clues given to him by Alfred and Leslie, looking for an end to all this once and for all.  Eventually Barbara unwillingness to give up supplies her with the lead she is looking for, forcing Dick to fill in Batman on Babs going in a bit too deep, obviously due to her personal connections, leading to a showdown in the final act.

As Barbara catches up in the Tumbler to Azrael and his squad, she takes them by surprise, running them off the road and drawing a gun ready to kill.  Due to the warning call from Dick, Batman arrives in time to pull the gun from Barbara's grasp, allowing Azrael to get the drop of her, setting up the ending to issue four here, in a pretty tense showdown I wont totally spoil here.

While this is a series I continue to really enjoy myself, its mostly because of the threads it resumes from the previous series, while the flashback scenes provide some intriguing mystery, its links to the conflict in the modern day lose me a bit.  It's a bit weird to say because the mystery aspects of this story are so intertwined. I just personally dont get as invested in said mystery when its explored in the context of modern day Gotham. I find the Zorro reminiscent past ties between the two families to be the highlight of this mini so far and could use some more to see how this all went so wrong

The art continues to be amazing, from the character designs, to the various cars and vehicles riding around the streets of the city.  I really enjoy the look of the entire White Knight series so far, and really havent found a weak point in issue yet, the continuation here is no exception.

Overall, Curse of the White Knight slows down mysterious reveals in the overall story a bit this issue, albeit to tackle last issues huge cliffhanger ending, hitting some emotional notes in the process, especially when it comes to capturing how different people in someones life might handle grief they're experiencing.  It moves on to setup another huge conflict to kick off next issue, that coupled with some amazing art yet again, proves to be one of the most consistently good books on DC shelf at the moment.


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