White Knight

Graphic Novel - 2018
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The impossible has happened: The Joker has become a ... hero?

Batman: White Knight follows the man now known as Jack Napier as he embarks on a quest to heal the city he once terrorized. After reconciling with his long-suffering partner, Harley Quinn, he sets in motion a carefully plotted campaign to discredit the one person whom he views as Gotham City's true enemy: Batman.

His crusade exposes a decades-long history of corruption within the Gotham City Police Department and transforms Napier into a city councilman and civic hero. But when the sins of his past return to threaten everything that he has accomplished, the distinctions between savior and destroyer begin to break down for both The Joker and Batman alike--and with them any hope for Gotham's future.

Writer and artist Sean Murphy delivers an extraordinary examination of comics' greatest antagonists in Batman: White Knight , exploring justice, corruption, activism and the darkest depths of mental illness. Collecting the acclaimed eight-issue miniseries, this stunning graphic novel also marks the debut of the DC Black Label imprint, which features classic DC characters in all-new, standalone stories written and illustrated by world-class authors and artists.
Publisher: Burbank, California :, DC Black Label,, 2018, ©2018.
ISBN: 9781401279592
Branch Call Number: YA GRAPHIX BAT
Characteristics: 232 unnumbered pages : chiefly colour illustrations ; 26 cm
Alternative Title: White Knight


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Mar 17, 2019

This is an example of a very well written, well thought out comic book with some great art that explores some interesting dark themes. It’s a somewhat fresh take on the world of Batman as the central character of the story is the Joker and some key characters from the Batverse are faced with unique challenges and one of them is even facing death.

This graphic novel is the first of DC's Black Label imprint, which is somewhat similar to DC’s Elseworld’s imprint which was discontinued several years ago. Black Label, similar to Elseworlds, features stories set outside the bounds of continuity where the creators have more flexibility to explore characters in fresh, unique and interesting ways.

What’s interesting in the White Knight is that Joker is portrayed as a more dynamic character than his usual depiction as just another crazy psychopath that is hell bent on terrorizing Gotham city just for the fun of it. Instead of just focusing on Joker’s latest plot to destroy Batman (although that still happens) there is a sincere exploration of the human side of the Joker and whether or not there is still some genuine good left in him. The story suggests that the “Joker” side of Jack Napier may be controlled by medication and raises the possibility that Jack could finally be cured and become a “white knight” for the citizens of Gotham by helping weed out corruption from the city. This interesting take on the Joker also ties into issues of right and wrong for Batman and his supporting cast of Bat-sidekicks. It gives rise to the dilemma of how they should go about their vigilante missions and what harm they could be doing instead of good, especially when it comes to the recklessness of Batman’s actions.

Although there are some interesting concepts here, especially when it comes to exploring Joker’s character, I agree with other readers that there are also some missed opportunities. The story, although unique and well conceived, could have been better. Even with the freedom of the Black Label imprint, Batman is once again portrayed as a head strong, arrogant pompous a*%hole. He secretly cares and cherishes his Bat-family more than anything else but he just doesn’t have the time to explain anything about what’s he’s thinking or doing because he’s too busy being dark, serious, conflicted, deep and too smart for others to understand. Someone at DC seriously needs to update Batman’s personality as much of it is stuck in Frank Millar’s dark interpretation from the 80’s that was preceded by an overall darkening of the character in the 70’s by Dennis O’Neil that thankfully got him out of the pretty awful “approved by the comics code” kid-friendly version of Batman from the 60’s. Many people that are too afraid to change the character don’t realize Bob Kane’s original Batman used to carry a gun and had no problem killing when he felt he had to. Someone really needs to strike a happy medium between the dark and light versions of Batman and as a childhood fan of Batman, I seriously feel he’s overdue for a personality overhaul if he’s going to appeal to a newer generation of readers. As he is right now, he’s pretty dull and annoying and as a result so are parts of this book.

Aside from grinding my gears a little by being another dull take on Batman, this comic is somewhat rare these days in that it is well written with an interesting plot that makes for a book that is very well conceived and executed. The art is a little “sketchy” and not crisp for my tastes but still very well done and suits the murky and dark world of Gotham and Batman very well. Sean Murphy is a really good writer and is not afraid of filling up a page with words when the story demands it. His unique talents as both an artist and writer help in crafting a well constructed story that is as fresh a take on the Bat-world as we’re likely to get until someone finally has the guts to overhaul Batman himself. Highly recommended!

Mar 12, 2019

Not bad but from what I had heard about it before I read it I was expecting better.

Jan 27, 2019

Absolutely brilliant. Sure to be remembered as a landmark in the history of Batman storytelling. Like a movie in comic book form. Fans of the Michael Keaton and Christian Bale films will especially appreciate this one. It offers the most interesting and complex portrayal of the Joker since Heath Ledger's version - and also a lot of commentary on the times we're living in right now. Essential reading for anybody who likes their Batman stories dark and real.

Jan 18, 2019

Interesting idea but dull execution.

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