Batman: Curse of the White Knight #2 – Sean Murphy, Writer; Matt Hollingsworth, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: In Batman: Curse of the White Knight #2, this sequel to Batman: White Knight doubles down on its epic scale and sets up a compelling new threat to the aging Batman. The series keeps with its split timelines, kicking off with an action-packed sequence in which a bastard son of the Wayne Family is arrested in England for trying to claim his birthright – only to be rescued from arrest by a mysterious armed priest who offers him a chance to get what he’s owed by claiming the colony of Gotham as his own and wresting it from a corrupt Arkham ancestor.
There’s a fun old-school adventure vibe to these scenes, but it shifts dramatically as soon as we head back to Gotham in the modern day and Bruce finds just how deep the corruption in his city goes. A mysterious woman named Ruth arrives at his office and blackmails Bruce to keep his identity secret, threatening him with the consequences for the entire world should his secret get out. Incidentally, she actually lays out a good case for why Batman is one of the few superheroes who genuinely needs a secret identity.
The plot developments in this issue come fast and furious, as Ruth and the rest of the Elites retaliate against Bruce quickly by exposing Barbara Gordon’s secret identity in the middle of a campaign rally for her father’s Mayoral run, and Joker’s involvement seems like more than just a random crazy attack by him.
Bruce tries to get Harley Quinn to interrogate Joker for him, but she has her own concerns – she’s pregnant, likely with Jack Napier’s child before he reverted back to Joker. There’s relatively little action in the present day – until the last act, where Azrael and his new group of allies working for the elites make their move. They turn the Batcave itself against Batman in a spectacularly destructive series of action segments that let Murphy push his trademark car combat art to its limit, and leave Batman’s fate very uncertain. The visuals here are great, but this second issue elevates the story into a high-stakes suspense thriller and delivers the visuals we expect from a Murphy joint.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.