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Batman White Knight #6

Review by Paul Bowler

Gotham’s most iconic alliance is shaken to the core in Batman White Knight #6 as Gordon’s trust in Batman reaches breaking point! The Dark Knight’s fall from grace has been orchestrated by the reformed Joker – aka Jack Napier – now seemingly cured of his homicidal madness by therapy and medication. But the drug Jack relies on is gradually loosing its effect, the city is slowly descending into chaos, and with Batman defeated it’s up to Jack to step up to the plate when the Neo Joker finally instigates her grand plan to seize Gotham…

Set in a world that has uncannily turned the Batman into the villain and the Joker into a hero, Batman White Knight, with its story and art by Sean Murphy, and colors by Matt Hollingsworth, continues to go from strength to strength with every successive issue. Napier’s ascension in this mini-series has seem him cured and released from Arkham, from where he’s gone on to expose the corruption that has festered in the GCPD for decades, becoming a champion of the middle-classes, and covertly using an army of super-villains – along with the collateral damage this conflict causes – to discredit the Batman‘s standing in the eyes of Gotham‘s citizens.

Batman White Knight #6 sees this mini-series reach a major turning point, as Murphy’s dark tale brings Batman’s world crashing down. Seeing Gordon resolve to bring Batman in is a powerful, defining moment here, as is Nightwing assisting him by delivering the means for him to do so, and the subsequent fracturing this has on the Bat-Family when Batgirl, aghast at Nightwing’s actions, refuses to have anything to do with the plan.

This book and its starkly grim take on the Bat-Mythos, especially the look and tone of Gotham itself – being more industrial and gothic, and less generically NYC like most of the main Bat-Books – are key elements that really make Batman White Knight stand out from the crowd. Sean Murphy’s edgy, moody artistic style further enhances the grim sense of foreboding in this issue, while Matt Hollingsworth’s richly atmospheric colors bring added gavatis to every scene. The sheer fan boy glee at seeing the Batmobile from the1989 Tim Burton Batman movie Vs the Batman White Knight’s Batmobile in a high-speed chase sequence is undoubtedly one of the big highlights of the issue, however, it is the blood-spattered, bone-churching face-off between Batman and Jack Napier that follows which really steals the show – whilst also vividly illustrating the warped schism Murphy has crafted between the Batman and the Joker in this mini-series.

With Batman facing an ignoble fate in Arkham, its not long before the Neo Joker, having taken control of the villains utilizing Mad Hatter’s technology, seems hell bent on holding the city to ransom after she unleashes a giant freeze cannon on Gotham. Other standout moments that shine in this issue are an especially poignant scene between Mr Freeze and Batgirl, and Harley tires in vain to get through to Jack again as he prepares to face Neo Joker.

This was another thoroughly enjoyable issue. With its intense action, brooding characterization, unexpected plot twists, and striking visuals Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth constantly keep you on your toes in Batman White Knight #6, and as this mini-series enters its final act we are left wondering if the Batman can find possibly find a way back from everything that‘s happened, or will the Joker have the last laugh after all?

Publisher DC Comics

Writer / Artist / Covers / Sean Murphy

Colors & Cover Colors Matt Hollingsworth

Leters Todd Klein