Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #5 Review

The Curse, Spelled Out

Writer: Sean Murphy
Art Team: Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth
DC Comics Black Label
Release Date: December 11, 2019
Cover Price: $4.99

Batman: Curse of the White Knight has been a bit of a forced sequel, but one I still find myself picking up, and getting enjoyment out of because I'm emersed in the world at play.  The last couple of issues have been a bit scattered storywise, as we wait for everything to come together. Well, I think this is the issue you've been waiting for.  Issue five here takes all the photos up on bulletin board and starts to connect the strings for you, so let's jump into this, and discuss some feelings.

The GCPD and most of the rest of the good guys struggle to get a grasp on what the next play is after Gordon's death. However, Bruce/Batman is off looking into a mystery that has plagued him since this series has begun, why has Joker unleashed Azriel on his revenge tour? Bruce may have finally started to piece this age-old mystery together with a new deep-sea discovery we find more about in a bit.  While the reveal isn't anything we haven't assumed all along, it gets the story reveals moving here, beginning at a record fast pace, right about ..... now.

Batman takes the information he's carefully verified over to the GCPD (on a floppy disk no less), and after some bitter words are exchanged, everyone begins to listen as Batman spills the beans about how the Waynes came into their money. It's revealed, in a bit more detail than follows, that it's mostly by screwing over Bakkar and the Chapel of Saint Dumas, bringing us to the present-day dilemma.  Meanwhile, we check in on Harley, who this time can make Jack over take Joker for a cameo, who in turn spits out a few deep dark secrets. This is all before its back to the police department, revealing they've discovered who Azriel is under the mask, via DNA matching to Gordon's bullet.

As I mentioned things move at an incredibly fast pace in act two of this issue, recapping reveals we've assumed all along, providing new information even Batman isn't privy to yet and even showing how most of its all interconnected, which comes off as feeling a little forced, all in a row like that, but I'm mostly okay with it because it gets this story moving into greener territory. Hopefully, so we can at least get to what is hopefully is a solid and exciting conclusion with the issues left.

Act three is where the story hits the gas and in a way reinvigorates the series for me.  Azriel confronts the leader of the Batman Devastation Fund, who is relieving him of his duties after he made a mess of the city in the midst of becoming a "liability".  However, Azriel doesn't take kindly to being thrown off his own land, which Ruth expected, as Bane is called in to clear the room.  Azriel and his company make very short work of Bane, moving their attention back to Ruth, as they reveal they want the names of the Elites from her.  To end things from there, it's off to the best cliffhanger of the CotWK series so far, therefore I won't outright spoil what happens here, but it gives a new purpose and excitement to the last few issues, I now look more forward too than before.

Bits and Pieces:

Overall, Curse of the White Knight has been a bit of a middling sequel to date, yet issue five seems to have rediscovered the intrigue the original series had in spades, to bring this follow up home to an exciting conclusion, worthy of its predecessor.  Murphy's art is always great, but the final page reveal steals the show here, really hammering home his unique style, reinforcing why I love this idea so much to begin with. While I haven't enjoyed every issue of the Curse of White Knight so far, Murphy seems to be back in the flow of things in issue five, getting the story back on track for a great finale.


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