Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 – Sean Murphy, Writer/Artist; Matt Hollingsworth, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: I was never quite as high on Batman: White Knight, Sean Murphy’s popular role-reversal AU between Batman and the Joker, as some. But the response that basically launched Black Label can’t be denied.
So it’s no surprise that the surprise megahit is back for a second go with Joker – no longer cured as Jack Napier – out to cause more trouble for Batman in Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1. But the story goes back much deeper this time, to a three-century old murder before Gotham was Gotham and a dark conspiracy reaching the deepest quarters of Arkham Asylum.
When Curse of the White Knight #1 opens, Joker is back at Arkham, but he has something on the Warden and forces his cooperation before non-fatally stabbing him and escaping. Bruce, meanwhile, is still recovering from his imprisonment and losing Alfred. I’m usually not a fan of broken, lonely Bruce but Murphy does a good job fleshing him out. This Bruce tries to maintain relationships and better himself, but he fumbles it more often than not.
Bruce is considering hanging up the Bat and working within the law, even talking over revealing his secret identity with Dick and Barbara. Dick, now working with the GCPD, is staunchly against it. However, a much bigger problem may be emerging – and to no surprise, Joker is involved.
But he might not be the main threat of this comic. That would be Jean-Paul Valley, an aged janitor and unstable military veteran diagnosed with terminal cancer and haunted by increasingly disturbing visions. His ties to the murders at the dawn of Gotham are yet to be fully revealed, but what Joker found in the basement of Arkham has given him the knowledge he needs to force Jean-Paul into his weapon against Batman. There’s a lot still to be answered here, but Murphy’s art is brilliant from the first page to the last and it seems like this next chapter will be faster to get started and no less brutal.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.