Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy

details
Title: Batman.
Story-Arc: White Knight.
Writer(s): Sean Murphy.
Illustrator(s)Sean Murphy.
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth.
Publisher: DC Black Label.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: October 9th 2018.
Pages: 232.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401279592.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.

thoughts

Where the hell do I begin? To mark the debut of their DC Black Label imprint, fans are served with a stand-alone Elseworlds story that joins the high ranks of comic book masterpieces that have graced this universe so far. With the imprint currently in the process of reprinting some of their most iconic stories, it could not have been a better choice but to begin the process with the release of Batman: White Knight and its bold re-imagining of Gotham in its most sinister and profound facet. While it is a retelling that draws upon Batman’s unmatched lore to create its story, it however reads like a tragic and powerful canonical story with Batman and the Joker at the center of the action. Elseworlds stories have always been tricky and risky, but occasionally there is always a writer out there that comes around and who knows how to take some of the best parts of a great course and serve readers with the greatest and juiciest meal possible.

Batman: White Knight is a complex tale on madness and heroism. Collecting a eight-part mini-series into this stand-alone graphic novel, the story tosses readers into a world flipped upside down: the Clown Prince of Crime rises to become the hero as his archnemesis Batman disgracefully falls and embraces a reputation worthy of a villain. Without delving into the little details of how the story unfolds to let you discover for yourself the dark and gritty world that Sean Murphy brilliantly writes and draws in this story, expect to be mesmerized by the incredible mosaic he expertly constructs by looking at some of the most iconic characters in Batman’s universe. Filled with subtle references, the story explores justice, mental health, corruption and love in ways that have never been done before.

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The complexity of Batman’s and Joker’s relationship has often been explored over the years by countless creative minds and offered us infinite variations to love and hate. What Sean Murphy succeeds in capturing in Batman: White Knight is the core factor that makes that very relationship so suffocatingly beautiful. The story doesn’t settle with just presenting us an event where they both confront each other on a personal level. It goes beyond the first degree and adds Gotham into the mix to force us into a reflection on each of their motives and desires. While also challenging readers to consider the possibility of rehabilitation in mass-murdering psychopaths, it also brings us to reevaluate our position on vigilantism committed by beloved heroes. To add more complexity to the dynamics between Batman and Joker, the story also integrates the never-ending aspect of their battle to draw us into an introspection on what exactly is really best for the city. 

This masterpiece wouldn’t have been perfect without its visionary and vivid visuals. The artwork captures the morose atmosphere of Gotham with unparalleled accuracy. Matt Hollingsworth colour schemes alone complements the raw brutality of the city and its residents. Every hero and villain is drenched in hopelessness, and the sudden change in both Batman and Joker serves as the ideal catalyst for change in Gotham. But Sean Murphy’s character designs is truly unique and brings out some of the best traits out of every character included. Jack ‘Joker’ Napier alone is an excellent example of the writer’s creativity. In fact, there are a lot of comic book elements in the story that could easily detract you from attributing it any realistic value, but how Sean Murphy writes and draws this story effortlessly immerses you into the action and the heart of the battle.

Diving deep into the psyche of one of the greatest rivalry in comic book history, Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight is an exquisite diamond among stones.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and DC Comics for sending me a copy for review!

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19 comments

  • Colour me sold! I haven’t read a Batman story in quite some time, but this looks like my kind of story. I’ve bought a copy and shall be reading it very soon. Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Awesome. As I’ve been trying to write a cohesive review, I’ve realised just how much I enjoyed it, and I think I’m going to bump it up to 5 stars. I had a tiny issue with how the ending felt a little rushed, which is why I gave it 4. But the more I think about it, the more I don’t care because it’s so good through the rest. That may be my favourite Batman story.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I know exactly what you mean. The ending also got pretty crazy with the batmobiles too, the epilogue chapter did seem slightly too rough and the attention on the heal harleys almost got out of hand, but maaaaan it was way tooo much fun to drop it at 4! 😂

          Liked by 2 people

  • Wow, wow, wow, wow. I am speechless Lashaan! If that is not love I don’t know what is! Fantastic review!!

    Liked by 2 people

  • So is this an actual “Elseworld” story? I didn’t see that label on the cover. But my goodness, if it is, that is almost enough to get me to try this one out! I loved “I, Joker”, so another story that flips Bats and Joker sounds great…

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is an Elseworlds story. They don’t put that logo you’re familiar with anymore. It’s limited mini-series and definitely not canon. But however, maybe in the future they might make it “canon” sort of like how they once did that with some particular stories. In fact, ever since they created the New 52 concept (multiple universes), some stories simply make sense by having similar elements as some “Earths” without being canon per say. Would be curious to see how you’d react to this story. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        • Yep. That’s true. It was a quick way to spot them. Now, you’d just have to do a little bit more research or be in the loop to know what would be canon and what would be an Elseworlds story (a retelling/twist on original characters). At least this one is sure to be an “Elseworlds” story. 😉

          Liked by 2 people

  • Wow…just flipping wow my friend, what a powerful review! It’s very reassuring and encouraging to hear such praise for this title from you. I’d heard some mixed things about the series when it was being released as single issues but your seal of approval is all I need.

    The ideas and themes the story infuses sound really evocative and only entice me further so I’ll be adding this to my list with priority! Oh and you’ll be pleased to know (but you probably already do?) that there’s a sequel coming next year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was really happy with the overall execution for it, man. The premise was perfect and how it was all explored was just as intriguing. I’d say that the end does detract a little from some of its better ideas, and maybe feels a bit rushed, but once you finish the story, you can’t help but appreciate it overall for what it accomplishes. I would love to see how you fare with this one. Even if you don’t review it, do let me know here or elsewhere (twitter and whatnot) if it gets your seal of approval too hahah I’ll definitely look forward to a sequel. I’m not sure if it’s necessary, but I do wonder where it could possibly go now.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Wow this sounds terrific! I do love a great retelling, especially one that explores the complex relationship of two characters like Batman and the Joker. I was always quite intrigued by their dynamic so I’m sure I’d enjoy this one 🙂
    Glad to hear you loved it, Lashaan! And, as usual, amazing post 😊

    Liked by 2 people

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