I have never read a Batman comic. I’m not even sure I’ve ever read a DC comic! It’s nothing against them, I’m just not much into superheros that are “gods among men.” That said, I love Batman The Animated Series, which I consider a timeless classic, and the story of th game Batman Arkham Asylum, what I believe to be the perfect balance between camp and darkness for Batman. Dark Knight was awesome, so on and so forth.
Batman White Knight is the story of Jack “Joker” Napier regaining his sanity and rising to become a hero through public office, while Batman grows ever more aggressive and reckless with each passing day- for Bruce Wayne’s dear Alfred, his guardian and stability, is terminally ill.
The struggle between his stubborn sense of justice and uncovering the truth, it becomes a test of how severe his destructive behavior will become before he realizes he may not be a hero.
A lot for the references in this version of Batman suggests that it stays very close to the continuity of the timeline and events of Batman The Animated Series, which is probably part of why I like it. Dark, but fun and well-woven.
By contrast, even though one could argue it also follows the Animated Series’ universe, I found the storytelling of the Batman Arkham game series really went off the rails, probably in part because Arkham Asylum was a surprise smash hit and “big” (yet fairly unimaginative) boss fights were prioritized for the climaxes (not to mention the downright lazy, hamfisted choices for the big reveal in Arkham Knight… no spoilers, but it spoils itself pretty quickly for most Batman fans.) this comic is what I WISH the Arkham story became. I’d want this comic to be adapted, FAITHFULLY, as a DC animated film. Don’t cut anything out, (don’t add weird romantic pseudo-incest, yes I’m calling you out, The Killing Joke animated,) bring back the fantastic Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, get Mark Hamill to be Napier/Joker with his unparalleled, classic, maniacal jester to contrast against a more composed, righteous, charismatic Jack Napier. It would probably become one of my favorite films ever.
So I can see White Knight potentially turning some people off, mostly the people who complain about politics in media (as I previously discussed,) but even as a liberal-leaning person who loves social commentary and political intrigue, I find it just a bit too on the nose, so I wouldn’t really blame them in this case.
That said, if what I’ve described doesn’t phase you or sounds great, I cannot recommend this book enough. Politics aside, this story is so clever, thrilling, and tight. There’s references to time passing, as this story is meant to take place over a year, which I stumbled to grasp once or twice, but it doesn’t mess up the pace too much, minor bumps in the road if anything.
To me, Batman White Knight is a truly fantastic piece of storytelling, sequential art, art in general, and Batman content. Franchise veteran or complete novice, this one is worth at least one read. As such, this may be the perfect way for DC to be launching their new, darker stories under the “DC Black Label”.
The trade paperback of Batman White Knight is on sale October 9th. Preorders are available online.