REVIEW: ‘Batman: Curse of the White Knight,’ Book #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 is published by under DC Comics’ imprint DC Black Label and is a sequel to Sean Murphy’s breakout elseworld series, Batman: The White Knight. The new series, written and illustrated by Sean Murphy with colors by Matt Hollingsworth, is eight issues. The previous series flipped Batman on his head making him the real villain by exposing the cost of the damage he has done to Gotham while also exploring the idea his vigilantism stifles criminals, like the Joker, now calling himself Jack Napier, from getting the real help they need. The end of the original series left a lot of dangling threads about Bruce Wayne’s origin, Jason Todd’s death (or lack thereof) and Napier’s future.

Now, as Bruce uncovers Alfred’s letter following his death he must come to grips with his father-figure’s desire for him to hang up the cape.  However, the Joker has escaped to his old cell after stabbing a man and conspiracies theories about Arkham and Gotham as a whole that Napier preached about are gaining more truth. The letter from Alfred is a difficult read not only because the moment is incredibly emotional for Bruce but because the lettering is nearly impossible to comprehend. I appreciate the creativity of using such a traditional script but having it be so illegible makes the point almost moot.

As Batman investigates the Joker’s disappearance, he is confronted by Nightwing, who is now part of the GTO that was established previously which requires vigilantes work under the GPD, about his future as the Dark Knight. All of the themes from the previous book around Batman’s good as Batman continue in Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1.

The best way to enjoy this book is to read the previous one immediately before. This is not a story that you can just jump into. There is no recap and no editor notations at the bottom of the page to remind you exactly what occurred. The issue picks up almost immediately after the events of Batman: The White Knight. Unfortunately, because of this, the narrative was a tad confusing as I had to reference back to the previous book to understand what was happening. Considering how many comics I read a week, it can be difficult to remember exactly what happened in a run from over a year ago, For clarity, Batman: The White Knight #1 released in October 2017 with the final issue hitting shelves May 2018.

Outside of the confusing and often convoluted narrative, Murphy’s visionary style shines in this issue minus the lettering concern I brought up above. Additionally, Hollingsworth’s colors give the book it’s dark and gritty color palate. My favorite part about this series is a whole is it feels like the elseworld Batman books from DC Comics’ prime. A lot of the colors and designs remind me of Batman: Gotham By Gaslight and even The Dark Knight Returns.

I thoroughly enjoyed Batman: The White Knight but this issue is not as strong of a start as I was hoping for. That being said, the final pages showing us what is to come, something that has already been teased on the cover and within the marketing for the book, was spectacular. I will be picking up the next issue and if you enjoyed the Batman: The White Knight I recommend picking this up. That being said, don’t go in without doing your homework or expect this to be an easy jumping-on point.

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 is available now everywhere comic books are sold.

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1
3.5

TL;DR

This issue is not as strong of a start as I was hoping for. That being said, the final pages showing us what is to come, something that has already been teased on the cover and within the marketing for the book, was spectacular. Don’t read this issue without doing your homework or expect this to be an easy jumping-on point.