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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Review: Batman - White Knight

I got the first issue of White Knight as part of some freebie promotion. Right after I finished the free issue, I went over to Hoopla and picked up the rest of the 8-issue mini-miniseries. As a mini-series, this story places itself outside any continuity or canon, relying on our collective knowledge of the Batman mythos to make deductions about the universe and its setup.

The story ties up several questions that probably have nagged any number of Batman fans:

  • There's something wrong with a millionaire dressing up to beat up criminals, who are frequently desperate poor people. In a world of filmed police brutality and rampant racial discrimination, the innocence of "Batman beats up criminals" can no longer be unquestioned.
  • With all the WayneTech available for Batman to fight crime, why doesn't Bruce Wayne give the Gotham City police department (GCPD) all that technology so they don't lose police officers on a regular basis.
  • The symbiotic relationship between Batman and Joker never resolves itself, but Joker is a pretty smart guy and has none of the moral restriction Batman has. By all rights he should have killed Batman a long time ago.
In this universe, Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl and Jason Todd all exists, but Jim Gordon doesn't know that Batman is Bruce Wayne. During a brutal fight with the Batman (filmed on camera "Black Lives Matter"style and going viral), Batman stuffs the Joker with pills that inexplicably turn him sane. Calling himself Jim Napier, the reformed Joker (with a genius level IQ and charismatic to boot) wins his legal case, successfully demands reparations from the city for his brutal treatment, and embarks on a political campaign to fight for the rights of the poor and rid the city of Batman.

This of course, sets off a chain of events that eventually causes Batman to become unhinged, while addressing many of the issues discussed above. It does it in a way that doesn't insult the reader's intelligence, grants you a fresh view of the Batman character, while granting a denouement that's both fair and insightful. This story is right up there with Alan Moore's The Killing Joke, and is very much worth your time.


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