Publisher: DC Comics
Released: October 9th 2018
Received: Bookish Giveaway
Issues: Batman: White Knight 1-8
Warnings: Animal death (mild), imagery of self-harm (graphic)
I won a copy of Batman: White Knight through a Bookish Contest.
Batman: White Knight is a standalone Batman plot. Unlike some of the other famous standalone series (most notably Batman: Hush) this one really can’t fit in with the main continuity. Some major events were altered to fit this plot. The alterations were interesting, and done with a clear intent. And to be honest, I enjoyed some of the changes made more than the original. But more on that later.
I’ve read a lot of Batman comics in recent years. So when I tell you that this was in all likelihood my favorite plot in quite some time, I want you to grasp my full meaning of that. I read this volume and immediately found myself wishing I had more to read. I don’t think there’s any intention to continue the series from here (it felt complete) but man would I love it if they did.
Warnings first: There are a couple of animal deaths in this volume. Most of them are pretty mild, all things considered; lab mice, not showing painful signs of testing or anything like that. There is one scene involving self-harm, and it’s pretty graphic. You don’t get a lot of warning before it either. There’s no way for me to describe the scene leading up to it without giving away some major spoilers, I’m sorry.
I still can’t get over how much I enjoyed this plot. Sean Gordon Murphy did take some liberties with certain events and characters…but I feel like the ends justified the means, so to speak. The story was enthralling, and honestly…it fixed a lot of problems I’ve been having with the longer running series.
Any series that runs too long is bound to have a couple of continuity problems. Like a character that changes too dramatically from her original design, or constantly killing and bringing back other characters. It’s something we’ve gotten used to seeing in the superhero world.
Well, it would seem like Sean Gordon Murphy had some very strong opinions on that matter. He fiddled with the timeline just enough to add a renewed sense of permanence, revealed his solution to characters changing, and mixed it all up into this series. It was a unique experience to read.
I’ll admit that there were a couple of tropes used that I don’t normally love – so the fact that I was willing to overlook them enough to thoroughly enjoy it should say something. (Spoiler warning) I don’t typically like it when they give a real name to the Joker. In my opinion there’s no way to ever really prove who he was before he became the Joker, so it’s pointless to identify him as anything else. The other bit I don’t always like seeing (this applies more to a general storytelling sense) is the concept of a mentally healthy character being distinct from their insane version. You can probably guess who I’m talking about, but I’m going to attempt to be vague anyway.
Oh! Did I mention that Mr. Freeze makes an appearance as well? I absolutely loved his involvement in this series. It was the more accurate portrayal I’ve seen of him in a while. At least, it feels like it’s been some time. I absolutely adored what they did with him.
On the whole I really enjoyed the treatment of all the characters. Batman got pushed around a bit, but truth be told sometimes he needs that. Mr. Freeze was spot on. Their version of Harley was amazing. The only character that didn’t get a fantastic treatment was Batgirl, and that was likely a basic misunderstanding of her character. It happens. And it wasn’t so blatant that I couldn’t ignore it.
Having read this volume I really do find myself wishing for more series like this. I feel like it’s the Batman comic I’ve been craving, and I didn’t even know it. All the changes Sean Gordon Murphy made felt…right to me. I agreed with most of the choices made, even when I have to admit that I wouldn’t have made them myself, given the option. I’m really hoping we see more standalone series like this. It would be fantastic.