Batman: White Knight #7 – Sean Gordon Murphy, Writer/Artist; Matt Hollingsworth, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Joker’s return
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: After six issues, the moment that Batman: White Knight has been building towards since the opening segment is finally here. With Gotham in the grip of a new ice age thanks to Neo Joker and her army of mind-controlled villains, Jack Napier has been struggling to keep his city afloat – and the only person who can help him is the newly institutionalized Batman. However, complicating this is that the medication that’s been keeping Joker at bay is starting to fade in effectiveness, and Jack is having more and more trouble keeping the monster buried under the surface. Batman, meanwhile, could break out at any time but is refusing because he knows Joker will come for him. The core of this issue is Joker’s odd relationships with the various people who have crossed his orbit. While he pulls out the Joker and is cruelly ruthless with Neo Joker, Jack is surprisingly tender with the real Harley.
However, the interaction with Batman this issue is among the best material Murphy has done in this run. Many writers have done takes on Batman and Joker being oddly co-dependent on each other, ranging from the absurdist (Kevin Smith) to the horrifying (Scott Snyder). However, Murphy’s take feels like two old, embittered men who have been through this dance dozens of times, and they know each other inside and out. Now, their mutual sins have come back to haunt them, and they have no choice but to put aside their animosity and play ball. I’m not all that fond of the idea that Joker’s slip into insanity in the last issue is inevitable, but Murphy sells it well as he moves back and forth between the two modes. Murphy’s art is gorgeous as always, especially in the scenes where he depicts Gotham as a frozen wasteland, and the little moments – especially between Batman and his two proteges – make this issue much more effective than previous ones. Probably the best issue of this series.
Corrina: For me, the anti-Joker person, Batman: White Knight #7 was the most interesting issue in the series so far. Perhaps that’s because it contained more Batman but I suspect it’s the smaller character moments that sealed the deal. It’s Batman talking to his proteges. It’s Mr. Freeze being devasted by the theft of his device, and it’s the original Harley seeing the person she loves literally disappearing before her eyes.
The quality of this series has always been high, especially with Murphy’s art (which sometimes reminds me of Batman: Year One). Joker fans should definitely read it. As for me? My verdict depends on the final issue.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this issue for review purposes.