[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Sean Murphy
Artist: Sean Murphy
Letters: AndWorld Design
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
“Let’s clear this up right now! That was Jack Napier, not me! Two separate people.” -The Joker
In this explosive sequel to the critically acclaimed blockbuster BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT from writer/artist Sean Murphy, The Joker recruits Azrael to help him expose a shocking secret from the Wayne family’s legacy—and to run Gotham City into the ground!
As Batman rushes to protect the city and his loved ones from danger, the mystery of his ancestry unravels, dealing a devastating blow to the Dark Knight.
Exciting new villains and unexpected allies will clash in this unforgettable chapter of the White Knight saga—and the truth about the blood they shed will shake Gotham to its core! This is Batman: Curse of the White Knight!
Sean Murphy has shook the Batman house up! Much like Frank Miller and Scott Snyder, Sean Murphy has put himself into contention of being on the Mount Rushmore of writers for Batman. While Murphy breaks canon, he does it seamlessly with entering into the second “chapter” of Jack Napier/Joker’s run at wrecking havoc in Batman’s life.
Murphy has the duality of Batman perfectly written. He doesn’t need Two-Face in the fray. He has already introduced two Harleys (Harley Quinn and Marian Drew) in his preceding White Knight series of books. His Tim Burton homage to Jack Napier puts the book over the edge. And flipping the script to where the Joker is the savior of Gotham and Batman is the one whose vigilante justice has reached the public’s boiling point…that’s perfect.
This installment finds homages to the past. Laffy Arkham… this is awesome. A swashbuckling Lord Wayne… a tribute perhaps to the Zorro movie Bruce and his parents watched prior to his parents’ demise. Murphy flirts with the prior knowledge of his readers picking and choosing his Easter Eggs appropriately to get the reader uttering “Aha!” and smirking to oneself.
Here we find Batman with no “parental guidance” as Alfred is dead. His last letter rings of hope for Bruce to be with both Barbara and Dick, but alas he is still the loner. Joker is irate at what his alter ego Napier has done to Gotham and he is bent on setting his crime reputation back on red alert.
Murphy also contributes to the back story of how corrupt Arkham is and how connected the Joker is. Who is Ruth and who orders the Joker to get his feet off her mahogany desk?
And as long as compliments are in order for Murphy…. his art work is phenomenal. Batman’s cape and boots are stellar. Batman’s collared cape is a perfect change in canon. And his belt… finally a belt that is so realistic, anyone could construct it. And the Joker adorned in a Batman T-shirt and suspenders – who does that?
Azrael… how did we feel when he first came on the scene? This was a new version of Batman that was part Robo-cop, part Terminator, and totally misguided. By the introduction of Azrael and his cancer diagnosis, we find a broken Jean-Paul. He sweeps the church in hopes of scoring “bonus points with the man upstairs.” A collision course is coming.
One could look at a gallery of paintings that Murphy draws! This entire issue needs to be in an art museum!
This is the part of the review where you should hear crickets chirping! Murphy ‘s art work paired with his strong story telling puts him on a different Batman level!
Batman: White Knight was special. The beginning of this new chapter of White Knight is like “The Empire Strikes Back” It’s going to eclipse the White Knight. Think about when Frank Miller got his mitts on Batman. Sean Murphy has the same hold on Batman and it is a white knuckle thriller. Go back and get White Knight. But make sure you get into this ground floor issue of Batman: Curse of the White Knight. Bring Azrael into the fray is magnificent.