REVIEW: BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #2 Author: Ryan Lower (Follow @LOWER_RYAN)
Date: November 2, 2017
SYNOPSIS: Public support for Batman dwindles and Gotham City’s 99 percent rally around ex-Joker Jack Napier’s crusade to expose decades of corruption within the GCPD. A proposition inspires new revelations about Harley and The Joker’s past; and as Jack transforms into a hero of the middle class and takes extreme measures to mobilize a revolutionary army of super-villains, Bruce struggles to stay focused on engineering a technological breakthrough to save Alfred.
Two issues in, Sean Murphy’s BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT is starting to turn into the best comic book series of the year.
I understand that’s premature, and feelings could change over the next 6 issues. But with this guy, and this story, do you really want to bet against him?
The latest issue picks up right where we left off a month ago. Jack Napier (with a Joker shadow) appears in court, working the jury, media and Gotham to sympathize with him and share his perspective on the corrupt system. Apparently he says the right things, because he is released and reports back to his hideout. He is reunited with A Harley Quinn (more on that later), where he confesses his mistakes and gets down on one knee. After a violent denial, the REAL Harley Quinn (more on THAT later) comes in and saves the day. The next few pages are some of the best dialogue between the two characters I’ve ever seen/read/heard. Harley confesses she was in love with him despite his flaws but long ago realized that love wasn’t reciprocated, motivating her to turn him in to the Batman. Jack is empathetic with her story, and the two hold a meeting with Gotham’s worst to plot their next move.
Let’s address the Harlequin in the room. According to Sean Murphy’s Twitter account, the “new” one is named Marian Drews, a play on “merry andrew” (noun: “a person who entertains others by means of comic antics; a clown”). She loved Jack as Joker, and all of his abusive, degrading antics of long ago. The “original” one is the Harley we’ve known and loved from the beginning, and still loves Jack despite all of his horrible antics. There’s a difference, and we’ll be getting more on this in a few issues.
In addition to the Harley Quinn enigma, this issue holds many great moments: a setback in the work with Mr. Freeze (which is to help Alfred), Bruce flipping out on a twisted real-estate mogul, a jaw-dropping flashback scene between the loving clowns, and of course “Almost got ‘im.” Murphy is striking gold on every page here. He’s furthered the narrative from last issue, adding more depth, drama and stakes in this issue. He elaborates without being exposition-heavy. He moves at a quick pace but gives us time to settle in. He gives SO much eye-candy. My favorite panel, similar to last issue, is the Joker…er “Jack”…in front of his own Batman worship area, with Dark Knight trinkets everywhere (Batmanopoly? Brilliant!). And he’s doing everything on his own!
I had nothing but praise for BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #1, and I feel the same about issue #2!
It’s fun, intriguing, smart and a feast for our eyes. Buy this issue, and you’re guaranteed to smile the whole time. - Ryan Lower
A lifelong Batman fan, Ryan Lower grew up in the midwest reading, watching, dreaming of The Dark Knight.
His favorite Batman stories are THE LONG HALLOWEEN, THE DARK KNIGHT and anything from BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.
He currently resides in his own Batcave in Chicago.
Follow him on Twitter @LOWER_RYAN.