Subway Shorts – Citizen Joker

The Dark Knight continues to go down a bad path as his former greatest enemy starts to gain some powerful allies in the latest issue of Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight. 

Batman: White Knight 4
Written by Sean Murphy
Pencils and Inks by Sean Murphy
Colors by Matt Hollingsworth

With each issue of this 8-issue miniseries, writer Sean Murphy expands on his Gotham City and each issue continues to amaze. The story – a cured Joker and his Harley Quinn are on a mission to save Gotham from the threat of the Batman – places superheroics out front of a political and psychological thriller. As each issue ends, I find myself looking forward to the next one more and more.

Batman is really just a background character to the main focus – Jack Napier and Harleen Quinzel, who move forward with their plans to go legit. After establishing himself as an agent of change and calling out some unseemly business in City Hall, Napier announces a run for City Council of an under-represented district in the City, where the police don’t visit often and poverty is a normal way of life. Napier, urged on by his girlfriend and civic activist and former cop Duke Thomas, have inspired revolution in the citizenry, upsetting the elected officials and driving Batman more than a little crazy.

When Napier starts to recruit Batman’s closest allies – Commissioner Gordon, Nightwing and Batgirl – into his plans to save the city, by promising them all their own Batmobiles no less, it’s not gong to help the Caped Crusader’s state of mind.

Complicating matters is the second HARLEY QUINN – who we learned earlier took over when the original decided that she couldn’t handle the Joker’s craziness. We get her backstory here, a troubled young woman who joined up with Joker after he tried to rob the bank where she worked. Harley 2 wants the Joker back, going so far as to transform herself into Neo-Joker and trying to push Napier back to his old life.

The story really picked up with this issue, and raised the stakes for the back half of the miniseries. As Napier continues to roll out his plans and Neo-Joker works her own agenda with the other Rogues in Gotham, it should be a great read to see how Batman handles a Gotham City that seems to be rapidly turning against him.

Green Arrow 36
Written by Benjamin Percy 
Art by Juan E. Ferreyra

Since the start of Rebirth, the Green Arrow comic has slowly been aligning itself into a book that at least somewhat resembles ARROW, the popular CW show, by introducing characters and concepts that have been highlighted over the show’s six seasons. We get a lot of that here.

Oliver’s mother, Moira, is back in the picture and she’s somewhat corrupt. She also had an affair with Malcolm Merlyn. It’s a smart strategy to align the two properties, not because the comic needs to reflect the show to bring in more viewers. That strategy doesn’t seem to do anything. No, it’s a smart strategy because the show introduced some strong characters and concepts that help the overall quality of the book.

The battle against the Ninth Circle, which has dominated Green Arrow for the last year and a half is coming to an end, though given the final page, which saw Ollie’s half-sister, Emi, take an arrow through the chest to save her half-brother.

Maybe she can come back in the future as Thea…