Review- Batman: Curse of the White Knight #5

Previously- Curse of the White Knight #4|Coming soon- Curse of the White Knight #6

Batman: Curse of the White Knight was written and drawn by Sean Murphy. The colours are by Matt Hollingsworth, with letters by AndWorld Design.

What do you need to have read?

Please read Batman: White Knight, because it is super. It’s only nine issues, and it’s published in trade paperback so you can get it all right now.

What do you need to know?

In the previous issue, Azrael plunged his flaming sword into Gordon’s chest, which is a pretty big deal. I feel like whatever else I tell you will not be as big of a deal as that.

Cover #5 shows the Joker looking extremely deranged and menacing, conch over slightly and holding a gun. the bottom of the page shows Batman underwater.

One super quick thought on the cover: I love it. I think it’s my favourite cover so far (excluding the variants which I do not own but look amazing). Initially, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Joker design but seeing this cover had changed my mind completely.

So, Gordon is dead. Even though the previous issue made that pretty clear this issue still comes as a bit of a slap in the face because Gordon can’t die, he’s Gordon, right? Wrong. At least wrong when Sean Murphy’s in charge. I’m not sure what the general consensus about this issue is among the more hard-core Batman fans but I don’t mind this decision. He wasn’t an overly active character, and I can’t see where else his character arc could have gone. As a (sometimes) writer myself I like a small group of characters, and a close setting, so I can appreciate Murphy cutting any dead weight from his book to improve the narrative as a whole.

Another notable character decision is the repercussions of Barbra’s injury from issue #4. If you don’t recall, she was injured while fighting Azrael in revenge for what happened to her father. This was an interesting decision as it bears a certain amount of resemblance to Batman’s own origin story regarding his parents. From one of the panels in the previous book, I did have a feeling that she may be in a wheelchair in this issue. When I see Barbra Gordon in a wheelchair I instantly think of The Killing Joke where she is injured by the Joker. While The Killing Joke was originally an Elseworlds book I believe that its popularity leads it to become cannon, and Barbra adopted the mantle of the Oracle. This begs the question, are we going to see Barbara as Oracle? Of course, as this is Elseworlds/Black Label this is by no means a certainty, but it’s an interesting idea.

Everyone has a different opinion on what makes a Batman book and one of the most important things to me is the depiction of Gotham City. For instance, Batman: Zero Year does a brilliant job of giving Gotham a sense of personality. Batman is special because ou could not transplant him to another city and expect him to work in the same way, whereas Captain America can be pretty much anywhere. Judging by the way that Murphy treats Gotham, as it plays a big role in the narrative, he seems to understand that. As a resul Gotham plays a huge role in the narrative of the story he is trying to tell harking back to the very foundation of Gotham City.

I feel obliged to draw your attention to how gorgeous the page layout is.

Bane appears in this book, but I don’t really have much to say about him. My only experience with Bane is in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (2012), where he was awesome, and the cinematic masterpiece that is Schumacher’s Batman and Robin (1997), where he was less awesome. The character design actually reminds me of the latter, but I don’t care enough about the character to know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I will say that I like the detailing on his mask which seems to be drawing on Mexican wrestling masks. I’m sure there are plenty of people far more adept about talking about this character than me.

While I don’t have much to say about Bane’s design there is another aspect of design which I would like to gush over. The AzBat suit. I’ve mentioned previously that I have no experience with Azrael, and as far as I know, he has not been used in this specific way before, but this suit looks gorgeous. Along with the introduction of the suit the plot is also explained to us to a certain extent. Before now I’ve read four issues of the with very little clue as to where it was going but I love the White Knight world enough that I really didn’t care. Of course, Murphy is only drip-feeding us so that even though we have this little bit of information we’re still not seeing the whole story, but I’m okay with that. In Murphy, we trust to deliver us a brilliant story.

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #5 is available from Comixology or your local comic book store.

Coming Soon… Curse of the White Knight #6

In the meantime, why not check out… issue #1, issue #2, issue #3, issue #4, and Batman: White Knight

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