The finale of Sean Murphy’s amazing miniseries gives us a final confrontation with Neo-Joker and some significant changes to the Bat-status quo.
Batman: White Knight 8
Written by Sean Murphy
Pencils and Inks by Sean Murphy
Colors by Matt Hollingsworth
For all the political upheaval and intrigue Sean Murphy teased us with in the opening issues of WHITE KNIGHT, the finale comes down to a good old-fashioned comic book bruhaha between the good guys – the GCPD, Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, Mr. Freeze, The Joker’s sane alter ego Jack Napier and Harley Quinn – and Neo-Joker’s collected Bat-villains, being controlled by Mad Hatter, using traces of Clayface originally spread thin by The Joker.
The battle goes predictably. Batman’s team overwhelms Neo-Joker – the second Harley Quinn – as the original takes a pound of flesh from the woman who tried to send her man back over the edge into insanity. The real heart of the issue, though, comes from the main characters’ epilogues. Napier and Harley marry as Napier takes responsibility for creating chaos behind the scenes, though he loses his battle with The Joker, who takes back control just in time to say “I Do.”
And of course, Harley admits to being the one pulling the strings the whole time. The HARLEY QUINN concept that Murphy laid out in what is essentially an ELSEWORLDS miniseries is just brilliant, and it feels like something that, somewhere down the line, DC Comics will pick up as an in-continuity story for Harley Quinn.
Of course, this is a Batman miniseries, so the final reveal should come from the Caped Crusader himself. Trying to re-establish trust with the GCPD and with Commissioner Gordon, Batman admits that Napier was right, Batman should have been assisting the police in developing new weapons to fight crime instead of hoarding all the toys for himself. He hands the keys to the extra Batmobiles the team used to take down Neo-Joker (or at least the ones that survived) to Gordon, and then one-ups himself.
Murphy has discussed on social media his desire to continue playing in the sandbox he created with White Knight, and that any future miniseries would honor all the developments here. With Batman revealing his true identity to Gordon – and from last issue we know Joker ALSO knows Batman’s identity – any future stories will be stark deviations from the usual Batman fare. And with Murphy’s art style, I have no doubt the book will look great, too.
WHITE KNIGHT was a great read from month-to-month, but I’m looking forward to a collected edition, even an Absolute or Deluxe edition, to really highlight the art and the storytelling. Fans of Batman should be sure to add this to their collection.