Writer: Sean Murphy / Artist: Sean Murphy / DC Comics
Batman: White Knight brings us to its penultimate issue with the realization the Napier can no longer control Neo Joker. Not fully, anyway. There’s a cleverness to the dilemma: Napier has essentially beaten Batman, but in order for him to save Gotham, Neo Joker is forcing Napier’s hand to give her the only thing she wants — the Original Joker back. The plot from here is a game of strategy on the parts of the two Harleys, and the X-factor is none other than Batman. Where is he, by the way? Oh yeah, locked up, full costume, passing the time in Cell Block 2.
I would say it’s hard to see Bats like this, but after all the people he’s had locked up over the years, while himself living without punishment for his crimes — the destruction that Napier finally pointed out — it’s pretty poetic, if only for a moment. The stakes are set with Gotham on the line and the only way to stop Neo Joker is to release Batman, but Batman and Napier can flip the script by joining together. By now you trust Napier to be the good-hearted, semi-honest person that he wants to be. The question becomes whether the unlikely team up of Batman and Napier can save Gotham before Neo Joker takes over.
This is rightfully the biggest plot thrust of the book, and paces effectively to grip your attention without even the threat of throwing a single punch. Artistically though this is probably one of the lesser displays of the series, the plot restricting Murphy’s powers. The transitions from Napier to Joker are more distracting in their suddenness than dramatic. Overall, we’re set up where we need to be for an action-packed climax with a lot of emotional loose ends to tie up, and one particular promise from Batman that will be kept or broken. Regardless of which, it will be remembered.
Reading Batman: White Knight? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.