By Ben Snyder
As Batman: White Knight #7 crawls closer and closer to its endgame, all of its seemingly disparate intricacies are coming together. Whether it’s Batman’s sudden clear-headedness, Alfred’s note, Mr. Freeze’s technology, or Harley’s compassion/intelligence it finally seems as though Sean Murphy’s plan is beginning to make sense and feel realistic (well as realistic as many Batman stories can be). Murphy is becoming increasingly heavy-handed with his use of hinting the return of the Joker, but as this is my only major complaint Batman: White Knight #7 is perhaps the best chapter of the mini-series.
A big reason for the success of this issue rests on the sudden clarity of Batman. Not only has he calmed down in his time in Arkham, but it seems as this is the most emotionally vulnerable Batman has seemed in well… perhaps forever? One scene, in particular, accentuates this as Batman ponders over what his last words to Batgirl and Nightwing would be. This short scene reminds us that Batman truly sees Batgirl and Nightwing as his children and they are above all else a family. I appreciate this angle especially as the past couple issues has painted this relationship unnecessarily distanced and volatile.
Another impactful scene was when Jack Napier was able to tell Batman what exactly happened to Jason Todd. While not overtly mentioned in this mini-series, the story of Jason Todd is essentially canon in every Batman story right now and having Jack tell Batman that Todd is still alive felt especially poetic.
Besides the mini-series long-running convoluted application of Mr. Freeze and the Wayne family’s association with the Nazi’s (What was the point of that?) perhaps the largest fault with this issue is Murphy’s overuse of the threat of the Joker. This chapter is probably the most prevalent the Joker has been used since the beginning, and there are some instances that really work, such as the ending and the introductory sequence. But others feel unnecessary and made me question why they were there. Specifically, as the anti-Neo Joker squad was gearing up. I feel like The Joker’s appearance in this scene really took away the effect of his return in the end.
Sean Murphy’s art is exceptional in this chapter. I love how in the flashback scene in which Jack remembers what happened to Jason Todd, the Joker looks like a maleficent evil entity. In fact, this actually balances out my major gripe with the story as that in almost every instance of a Joker appearance; he takes on this subtle supernatural appearance that really works in terms of the characters legacy. And Matt Hollingsworth’s colors are as always phenomenal, further proving that this duo is simply a match made in heaven.
Batman: White Knight hasn’t achieved the lofty goals I set out for it so far. It has been good, but it hasn’t been as good as I hoped it would be given the talent behind it. However, in Batman: White Knight #7, Sean Murphy’s plan finally seems to be coming together and brings new light to previous entries. Not only are we creeping to closure for the series but an emphasis of this issue seems to be on closure of the character of Batman, and it leaves me wondering if this series ends with no more Batman. If it feels earned, maybe it will push this series to new heights.
Batman: White Knight #7