Continuing the narrative of the previous issue, BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #2 explores an intriguing role reversal between Batman and the Clown Prince of Crime. Jack Napier, formerly known as the Joker, has given up his villainous identity. Now, he perceives himself as the sole individual capable of saving Gotham City. Who does Gotham need saving from exactly? Well, the Batman himself.

batman: white knight #2
BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #2 page 13. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

I See No Evil

BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #2, scripted by Sean Murphy, spends the majority of its narrative focusing on Napier himself. In regard to Batman’s role in this issue, he appears to be working with Mr. Freeze on a formula that permits Freeze to live without depending on the security of his iconic helmet. Freeze hopes that he will someday free his beloved wife, Nora, from her cryogenic sleep utilizing this new scientific breakthrough. In addition to this, it seems as though Batman will continue to join Freeze on this endeavor, augmenting his role as a villain in this series.

BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #1: Dancing With the Devil

The narrative of the alliance between Batman and Mr. Freeze is an intriguing one. Unfortunately, however, us readers only get a taste of what’s to come. What we do find ourselves immersed in is the relationship between Harley Quinn and the man formerly known as the Joker. In a confrontation with Jack Napier, Harley addresses the Joker’s obsession with Batman, an aspect of his character that came in between the villainous duo’s relationship.

I Speak No Evil

It is interesting to consider that even in his new state, Napier is still transfixed by Batman. One ultimately cannot exist without the other. Although Napier wishes to disassociate himself from his past crimes and obsessions, he must still confront Batman. So, once again, though readers are only getting a taste of this role reversal, it will be exciting to see this impending confrontation in the near future.

Perhaps the most apparent flaw in this issue is its slow pace. We only get snippets of what’s to come without any clear insight into the motivations of the characters. As a result, Batman and the Joker appear lost in a one-dimensional fray. However, outside of the primary characters, I particularly enjoyed Harley Quinn’s presence in this issue, as she serves as an intermediary between the past and present eras of the Batman mythos.

batman: white knight #2
BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #2 page 15. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #2

The tone of this issue certainly leans toward the darker side of the spectrum. None of the characters in BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT abide by a strict moral compass. As a result, each and every panel of this installment maintains a gritty nature by the hand of Sean Murphy himself. Accompanying Murphy is Matt Hollingsworth. The world of Gotham City has changed, and the darkness of Hollingsworth’s coloring reflects its nature. Perhaps the highlight of this issue as a whole is Harley Quinn’s retrospection of the Joker’s descent into total evil.

The Modern Hero Through The Lens Of Joseph Campbell

In that sequence, we witness the darkness of the Joker’s obsession through the tonal aspects of the panels. Also, the segment that depicts Jason Todd’s (aka the second Robin) torture is especially jarring. It truly maintains the disturbing elements of that notorious comic book event. Of course, no explicit violence is present within the panels, but the abundance of red in those pages augments the brutal nature of the Joker’s crime.

Though this issue offers some great art, some of the darkness overshadows the detail of the imagery. It’s easy to get lost in the backgrounds and thus lose focus on the state of the characters. Also, there are times where the depiction of certain characters, particularly Jack Napier, appears inconsistent. As a result, these flaws prove to be too distracting.

What Lies Beyond

Though the narrative of BATMAN WHITE KNIGHT #2 isn’t particularly strong, it does present some interesting new takes on the characters we know. Though these takes are drastic considering the histories of these characters, we need more on them. We need a better understanding of the characters as well as more content in regard to the overall story of this series. If the plot fails to convey these narrative details, the series may fall into a cliché, which would be most unfortunate as it presents some potentially intriguing plot lines.

BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #2 by Sean Murphy & Matt Hollingsworth
Art 8.2
Characterization 7.8
Plot 7.2
Though BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #2 struggles to appeal, it certainly has its moments of intrigue, particularly in regard to the revisitation of the Joker's past.
A Slow but Interesting Tale
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