The calm before the storm hits in Sean Murphy’s Gotham City opus, Batman: White Knight, with the city evolving as the former Joker, Jack Napier, continues to offer up ideas for improvement. But Batman doesn’t buy the act, and neither does the second Harley Quinn – now known as Neo-Joker.

Batman: White Knight 5
Written by Sean Murphy
Pencils and Inks by Sean Murphy 
Colors by Matt Hollingsworth 

If Sean Murphy’s Gotham City seemed like a familiar, albeit slightly altered, place when this 8-issue miniseries started, it is a whole new world five issues in. Batman’s vendetta against the Joker, amplified by the reformed criminal’s acceptance from the citizens of Gotham and his apparent desire to do good, is costing him his allies. Nightwing and Batgirl are working with the GCPD – with their own Batmobiles! – to bring down the city’s psychotic criminals and Commissioner Gordon is declaring him a menace and a terrorist.

Batman seems especially quick to assign blame to his former partners, who just want Bruce to come to his senses and not go after Napier quite so virulently. He sees it as a sign that they just want him out of the way.

With his closest allies turned against him, Batman turns to Napier’s closest ally, Dr. Harleen Quinzel, the first Harley Quinn, to try and reason with her and to see if he can get any insight into what Joker is doing. Batman tells her that he always went easy on her so he could keep Joker in line.

Harleen insists that Napier is on the up-and-up, which Batman definitely doesn’t want to hear.

She has her doubts, too, especially when it comes to the Joker’s obsession with Batman. She sees the cracks in his façade. And she’s not the only one. The second Harley, now Neo-Joker, is working towards making those cracks bigger. She’s teamed up with the Mad Hatter to control the other criminals in Gotham, but the pair also break into Wayne Manor to steal some info from a room that even Bruce Wayne has never seen, namely Mister Freeze’s ties to Bruce Wayne’s parents.

There’s so much going on with this story and it’s all starting to come together as we enter the back half of the miniseries. This may not have been an action-packed issue like previous ones were, but it definitely advanced the plot. More importantly, it has me excited for where it’s all headed. This is definitely a must-read series.