Writer: Sean Murphy / Artist: Sean Murphy / DC Comics
The cringe you feel, opening a comic to a Black leader beginning with “we don’t need a white savior” and ending with “but Jack Napier is one of us.” May that cringe be left behind in 2017 as we continue to trudge through the brief moments of just how badly this series treats Black people – currently a pawn in the Joker’s game – and get to the rest of the comic. Because, otherwise, this is a good comic.
Batman continues to fly off the rails and play into Napier’s hands, portraying himself as the lawful voice of the people while Batman is the uncontrollable and irresponsible force of unchecked power leading to tyranny. It’s a good position, as many comic book readers have jokingly insinuated in the past: in real life, the idea of Batman’s vigilantism would be actually terrible. In the middle is Commissioner Gordon who, now more than ever, is leaning towards Napier’s point. Batman needs to be checked and Napier has a solution, merging masked vigilantes and members of the Gotham City Police Department into a specialized task force to fight supervillains. The government is given better oversight of masked heroes, and those heroes get to keep their secret identities, so everyone wins. Of course, in real life, this would also be a terrible idea, but there are no “good” ideas within the world of dealing with superheroes. This is as good as it gets.
As the war of public opinion wages between Batman and Napier, the Neo Joker is on her own campaign to get the original Joker back. She’s trying to push him to the edge, to get back her puddin’, and is one of two fantastic wrenches inside the larger machine of this plot. The other wrench? The betrayal to Batman by Nightwing and Batgirl, who are being lured to the side of Napier’s oversight plan, away from the wild west of unchecked vigilantism.
This comic continues to be visually fun to read, particularly the montages between Napier and Harley as they romance each other in public, at bars, and on dance floors, in ways they never could before. It makes a part of you root from them, if only for Harley and her undying love.
Overall, Batman: White Knight continues on track to be a great addition and twist to the Batman mythos. Looking forward to seeing how this one ends, and where it’ll leave Batman, Napier, Harley, Gordon, and so many others involved as the Joker goes political.
Reading Batman: White Knight? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.