Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 Review: A Joker Story Seeking to Build a Better Batman

Batman: White Knight gave fans a world where the Joker was sane once more, bringing Jack Napier to the forefront as a hero instead of the brutal killer readers have come to know. In fact, by the end of that book, Napier had succeeded in bringing Batman down a peg or two by uncovering Gotham's corruption, something Joker had failed to do. However, with Joker in control now, he's intent on putting things back the way they were before Napier, and we're here to break it all down in our full review of this anticipated issue.

Spoilers incoming for Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1. If you haven't read the issue yet, you've been warned.

Sean Murphy does double duty once more as both writer and artist, with Matt Hollingsworth handling the colors, and we can't say enough about the overall visuals. This book is absolutely gorgeous featuring inspired takes on the Dark Knight and his supporting cast throughout the issue. The sepia-toned pages towards the beginning stick out immediately, but Hollingsworth and Murphy also use that style in other areas of the book to great effect.

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(Photo: DC Entertainment)

It includes one heart-tugging scene between Alfred and Bruce. Even though it's simply through a letter, you feel every word's impact from beginning to end. It hits you right in your chest and keeps on walking, and it sets the foundation for another of the book's standout moments between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.

That's where the real meat of this story actually lies once you start to analyze it. The main focus of the story is the Joker's return and his quest to take back his name from tall the good Napier attached to it but also return Gotham to the den of crime it was in earlier days, but that's actually not the most interesting part.

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(Photo: DC Comics)

Instead, that would be Batman's coming to terms with his own failures and errors in judgment, failures that were uncovered by his greatest enemy. Murphy pulls back those layers in organic conversations that don't feel like forced points of expositions, and seeing how Bruce deals with this is one of my most anticipated elements of the series.

There were only two things in the book that weren't home runs, but that could very well change as the series continues. The history of the Waynes and Arkham is teased at the very beginning, and while it holds promise, it could also very easily veer into campy territory, and that wouldn't necessarily play well with the more human story the rest of this book presents.

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(Photo: DC Entertainment)

The other wildcard is the involvement of Azrael. The lead-up to his involvement is rather compelling. Hopefully his part of this doesn't detract from the metaphorical chess game between Batman and the Joker, as well as the internal exploration of who this Batman is after Napier showed him how flawed Gotham truly was.

Both of those things could end up working out for the better. Even with those concerns, Batman: Curse of the White Knight is a gorgeous and reflective look at the Dark Knight unlike any other, and we couldn't recommend it more.

Published by DC Comics

On July 23, 2019

Written by Sean Murphy

Art by Sean Murphy

Colors by Matt Hollingsworth

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Letters by AndWorld Design

Cover by Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth

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