Batman White Knight #8 // Review
The end is finally here in Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight #8 and it's definitely worth the ride. The GTO, Batman, Harley Quinn, and Joker make the final push to Neo-Joker, the fate of Jack Napier is revealed, and Batman realizes that things need to be different for his war on crime to continue.
Batman and the gang storm Neo Joker’s hideout and succeed in melting the ice around Gotham. One of the coolest wrinkles in the beginning of this issue is the that the Joker has taken over Jack Napier for the time being, but he and Batman decide to still work together, resulting in a fun and tense partnership.
Pretty early on in the issue, Neo-Joker is dealt with, which is kind of disappointing. Granted, she isn’t the focus of this stor,y, but she is an interesting addition to the Batman mythos and it would have been better to see her pose more of a threat. As it is, her story felt rushed in the end and after she's dealt with she disappears from the story altogether. There will be a sequel so it possible she’ll appear there, but it would have been nice to have a more satisfying conclusion.
While Neo Joker’s ending may have been underwhelming, Jack Napier’s certainly wasn’t. As was said before, the action, in general, is put aside after the first few pages of the issue, with remaining dealing with the characters themselves. Jack Napier gets a somewhat tragic end and, while the Joker doesn’t die, the Napier persona seems to be fading away indefinitely, although by the end it hinted that this may not be the case. Seeing Jack’s final moments with Harley is both heartwarming as well as heart-breaking as you see the genuine love between the two, which is perfectly encapsulated in the long awaited “wedding” between Jack and Harley. Towards the end the focus shifts to Harley and she delivers some emotionally impactful insight on her feelings for the Jack and how she feels about her situation in general. Aside from Napier, Quinn has become probably one the most interesting characters of the White Knight world, moving past the lovable, fourth wall breaking, manic of the main continuity and becoming a deeply complex character.
Batman gets some interesting development after all is said and done. There’s a feeling of uneasy camaraderie between he and Jack Napier and, by extension, the Joker. There may be a Hannibal Lector/ Clarice dynamic in upcoming stories. By the end, Batman understands that things need to change in order for him to be effective against the evils of Gotham City, resulting in an exciting final shot, sure to mix things up in the future.
Sean Gordon Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth definitely don’t slack up in this final issue in regards to the art. While they do a fantastic job in the action of the final battle against Neo Joker, where it really shines is the emotion they bring to all the characters. They really bring out the sadness in both Napier and Quinn the closer they get to the inevitable end for Jack. Some other stand out moments are the confrontation between Quinn and Neo-Joker, how it goes from a high speed chase to a close quarters fight (again it would have been even better if it went on longer), and the other is the last meeting between Batman and Quinn, the stellar writing being complemented by the gothic backdrop of Gotham City.
For fans that may be tired off the main continunity’s inability to progress Batman in more long term ways, White Knight is perfect because it has the leeway to grow organically. Added to that is the clear connections to Batman the Animated Series giving it a nostalgia factor. It makes you feel like you know these characters even more intimately than normal as many adult readers grew up watching one the Caped Crusader’s most influential animated series. DC has announced that the White Knight world will continue with Murphy at the helm and it's exciting to speculate what that will entail. Possibly other heroes like Superman or Wonder Woman, or maybe even a follow up to Jason Todd. Whatever it may be, fan will be waiting with baited breath.