This is the first issue of an eight part series that began in December 2017, written by Sean Murphy, with Matt Hollingsworth, and was the first thing I ever bought in a comic book shop.
*This review will be SPOILER FREE*
What do I need to read before this?
Nothing. This is essentially an elseworlds story, which means it’s not a part of the “normal” Batman timeline. White Knight is the equivalent to a stand alone story, so feel free to jump straight in.
What do I need to know before this?
Technically nothing. However, I do think that you’ll get a lot more out of the story if your well acquainted with the Batman x Joker strife. This can be in any format, but if you’re looking for comic recommendations, I can’t recommend The Killing Joke enough. I know it’s not original, but there’s a reason it’s so beloved (the book, not the film).
Starting on the right foot…
The story adopt a non-linear timeline where we begin at Arkham Asylum where a figure in a fancy car is visiting an inmate. What are your favourite beginnings? Go on, think of one. Personally, I like a beginning that has a sting in its tail, where you are lead to believe one thing, and whatever that is gets turned completely on its head. Essentially, within the first two pages, we realise that this is not a conventional Batman story.
A man on the edge…
From the first few pages, as mentioned above, we know that Bruce has some issues, but when we flash back a year to see how we got to this point. What’s interesting is that we see pretty quickly that Bruce has been on this edge for a pretty long time, as he’s far from the Dark Knight we’re familiar with. This is explained in this issue, and I was fine with the reason, it enables us to join the dots between that Batman we thought we knew and with this one.
The joke’s on you…
Let’s talk about the design of the Joker for a minute. Physically he looks pretty good. I like a skinny, almost lanky Joker, because it contrasts nicely with Batman’s bulk. So, what do we think about his outfit? I like the idea of the Batman t-shirt, it’s a bit tongue in cheek, and a bit different, but there’s just something that doesn’t feel right about the outfit as a whole. To me it has a very odd vibe, as though he’s trying to be younger than he is. I understand that his actions are reckless, arguable like a kid, but I’ve always seen the Joker and Batman as the same age, so this is just a little too jarring.
The Killing Joke
I know I mentioned The Killing Joke as suggested reading, but I just want to add something of interest. The Joker’s transformation in White Knight contradicts the origin story in The Killing Joke. There’s nothing wrong with this, as I already said this stands outside the regular Batman cannon (just as The Killing Joke originally did, though I can’t remember where it stands now). I just thought it was an interesting factor to draw your attention to.
And for the sake of spoilers, that’s all I’m going to say about the first issue. I loved this, and I love the series as a whole, which I will be reviewing soon. Until then, do you have any favourite Joker stories, or any comics you think I should check out
Thanks for reading,