“Batman: White Knight Presents: Generation Joker” – Book Four
Writers: Katana Collins, Clay McCormack, and Sean Murphy
Artist: Mirka Andolfo
Color Artist: Alejandro Sánchez
Letterer: Andworld’s DC Hopkins
Review by James Attias
Batman: White Knight Presents: Generation Joker #4 is desperately trying to claw its way back from jumping the shark. Does it succeed? Or are they now trapped in Arkham?
Betrayal on You. Betrayal on them. Betrayal on all!
Sean Murphy has done a wonderful job at creating a different, new Batman world for the White Knight stories. The entire saga has taken a lot of different versions of the characters and given them a new context. This is a rare thing in modern comics, and it’s been done well. At other times it’s either been ‘just ok’ or a ‘no consequences Elseworld’.
Now we find ourselves with Generation Joker. This title feels like the middle child of this universe; we’re not in Batman Beyond‘s Neo-Gotham, but we’re not in the classic Gotham City either. So this is uncharted territory at the moment.
At the end of the last issue, we found Jacky and Bryce surprised to see a newly suited Mr. Freeze working in his Arkham Asylum lab. This issue picks up exactly where we left off, with a few interesting elements added to Freeze’s character that happened off-page. Don’t forget there’s about 10 years that Bruce Wayne was in Prison where we have absolutely no idea what was happening in Gotham, or to the characters we know and love. That element’s really what keeps this series interesting.
The writing, on the other hand, has been sadly underperforming for me. Subtle parts which could have led to great twists and reveals are all being telegraphed. Betrayals for something Joker has done, or betrayals for something that needs to be done. The original White Knight stories executed these twists and shocks so well, whereas this title is fumbling a bit. I really hope that we can get back to the best foot forward here, rather than the series ending on a weak note.
This story seemingly only wants to use Bruce Wayne for last page ‘To Be Continued’ moments, so it’s no surprise that he’s absent throughout a lot of this run. Also, with the setup for the next White Knight series being related to Superman and the Justice League, I don’t know how much page time Bruce will get, compared to 6 or 7 other heroes, who supposedly haven’t existed in this universe thus far.
There is a subtle hint as to who is pulling Agent Prince and Agent Stewart’s strings in this issue, though when they mention “The Director”, with almost a glimmer of fear on their faces. Now, you tell me, who’s scary enough to make Wonder Woman and (maybe a) Green Lantern follow orders? The best part of this issue by far.
Batman: White Knight Presents: Generation Joker #4 is an improvement on the last issue and I hope it keeps improving. By the end of the series, we should be back to White Knight Gotham’s full glory.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment