Batman: White Knight Presents Harley Quinn #5 – Sean Murphy, Katana Collins, Writers; Matteo Scalera, Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The penultimate issue of this spin-off from the White Knight verse is one of the best issues yet, with chaotic twists at every turn and the surprising appearance of several fan-favorites. When we last left off, the identity of the Starlet had been revealed—although the Producer is still shrouded in mystery. The dynamic here is very similar, with a traumatized and twisted woman being manipulated into doing horrible things. Flashbacks to just how Harley got enmeshed with Joker flesh out things a little, and I have to say this series may be one of the few places where their relationship actually makes a bit of sense. This version of Joker is twisted, but not nearly as cartoonishly monstrous as other versions. It’ll never be a healthy relationship, but it does look like one that both parties could fall into—and you can see why Harley is still haunted by Jack Napier all these years later.
This issue also features the return of two surprise players. Ivy’s appearance at Harley’s hospital bed works very well, with a heartfelt conversation between the two that raises a lot of questions about their past—and about where Ivy is right now. Jason Todd’s role as a high-ranking official at Bruce’s prison comes more out of nowhere and doesn’t really work for me, but hopefully the final issue will make things a bit clearer. The ending of the issue sets up the final issue, but is also one of the most brutally tense segments of the series and delivers a gut-punch on the last page that hints that Harley will be absolutely unleashed next issue. Despite the change in creative teams, this does feel like a compelling sequel to the original series, and I wonder if this is the end of the road—especially with Bruce spending the entire series in prison. Strong issue, but we’ll see what the future is for this line.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.