Writer & Artist: Sean Murphy
Issue #4 of the fantastical Batman: White Knight is packed with powerful imagery. The most dangerous thing is that Jack Napier, aka the Joker, looks sincerely apologetic.
I guess I’m still skeptical, is this real? Is Jack Napier actually going to win? Gothamites are protesting against Batman and the GCPD. The public has made him untouchable.
I don’t know how comfortable I feel about this scene; comparing the Joker’s rap sheet to people are who are marginalized and suffering from constantly being punished while innocent. Because Jack is not innocent, and you can’t just be labeled as “mentally ill” and go on a murdering spree.
Raises Questions about Mental Health and Police Brutality
Batman force-fed the Joker these pills which made him “un-evil,” and that’s not how the medication works. We have doctors, nurses, professors, and police officers who suffer from mental health disabilities, but are still a good member of human society. Being ill DOES NOT make one evil. Which is why I am hoping this entire story is a facade. An evil, genius concoction of the Joker to take everything away from Batman. I hope they pull away from blaming his atrocities for just being ill.
Interestingly, he’s ditched the secondary color nemesis-look. Villains in comics are easy to point out; they use colors such as green and purple:
Napier is cool, slick, and sharp. Malicious. This issue is brutal. You can see his moves unravel as he tries to take off Batman’s family one by one. Batman himself is not going through a stable time in his life. He’s lost Alfred and he’s lost the GCPD, he’s hurting the people he loves and causing self-isolation.
The art is gorgeous as ever. There are hues of red. DC comics love to use color to highlight the tone. Previous issues were hues of blue, and purple: a calm before the storm. Red is the storm, this is his climax. Murphy beautifully paces this story, giving us somber, human moments. Giving Napier a romantic arc is also risky, but I love it.
This series might be the harshest way to destroy a Bat. This is a must-read, gorgeous series. I think one of the best stories DC has out so far. The art is fantastic and beautiful. This issue was political, and there aren’t many action scenes, but it opens up eyes. There are videos out there where Hitler talks to his public, people that are close to him and he looks so human. Even the biggest monsters can look human and envoke love and sympathy.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment