It’s not every day that you get an arc where the Joker’s the hero of the story. Well, Sean Murphy is doing his best to change that with Batman: White Knight. After a sensational first issue, we now delve deeper into the life of the reborn Jack Napier – but is the Joker really gone forever? C’mon, you should know the answer to that already…
Since the Joker’s ‘sanity’ has been restored, he’s also been cleared of many of his crimes because of the Gotham City Police Department’s inefficiency to follow process or find the necessary evidence. Honestly, the GCPD is about as useful as any government organisation, which should come as no surprise to anyone.
Now free and a changed man, Napier heads off to make amends with Harley Quinn and apologise for all he’s done to her. There’s a twist in the Harley tale, however, as is there in the recollection of Mr J’s murder of Jason Todd (Robin). Not all is revealed or made crystal clear, but it appears as if Murphy is changing up the history books for his story here. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is how Napier has Harley in the palm of his hand. Much like always, she’s willing to be whoever Napier wants her to be and that’s terrifying.
Batman: White Knight #2 still plays around with the notion that Napier wants to make Batman pay for what he’s done to him and how the Dark Knight is the true bad guy of this story. This time, however, he shows that he’s willing to cross several lines that pretty much confirm the devil known as the Joker is still lurking in him. Do yourself a favour and look at Napier’s shadow in the first panel as well as a few other hints throughout the issue: they’re undoubtedly a forewarning of what’s to come.
While Murphy’s art continues to dazzle and leave a mark, the pacing of the narrative is slow. Look, it remains an intriguing premise, yet it could’ve been told in half the pages it was. The first issue roared out of the blocks with tons of action, story, and revelations, whereas this one leans more towards exposition. Sure, the telling is somewhat needed to a degree, but the script could’ve been tighter and polished.
Despite the sluggish pace, Batman: White Knight #2 still keeps you interested and invested in this Joker-centric story. You can spot the ending a mile away from here, but that doesn’t mean that what happens in between is irrelevant. If the rumours of a Joker origin movie from Warner Bros. are true, you’d best be prepared and acquire all the knowledge you can on the Clown Prince of Crime.