By Ben Snyder
Batman: White Knight: has been a wild and somewhat inconsistent ride. It has never reached the apex of other Batman mini series, but it never was a miserable slog. Perhaps that is why I have been so meh about the series, it rarely if ever moved any needle of excitement despite the amazing talent behind it. The mini-series finale follows suit with the rest of the series and in doing so leaves me a little disappointed. Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth are a present-day dream team of talent, which also raised the expectations a little too high. But perhaps my biggest gripe with Batman: White Knight #8 is that it wrapped up the entire mini-series too neatly.
It never really felt as though the Neo-Joker and the Mad Hatter were the true villains of the series and the final battle between the GCPD and the evil duo only solidified this. The final battle wrapped up way too easily and I never really felt as if any of the good guys were in any danger even with the addition of someone so volatile and unstable as the Joker. It all seemed to go too smoothly, even when Batgirl was being choked out by Ivy’s plants- it wasn’t surprising as all to see Freeze save here. Freeze saying he was all out of ice puns was pretty funny though (it would have been really funny if he referenced the “Chill out” pun from the movies). It also didn’t help that I never understood Neo-Joker’s plan. She froze half of Gotham simply to bring out the Joker? It simply seemed too half-baked.
The real villain of this series has been the Joker and the true conflicts were Jack suppressing this personality and Batman seeing through this persona in order to view Jack. So it felt pretty crappy to see Jack succumb to his true nature in the end. But perhaps this is a success on Sean Murphy’s part, as it genuinely made me feel something besides meh.
It was nice to see that there were consequences to the series though, as Harley is finally contributing to Backport and Batman is calling it quits and revealing his identity. This is continues the most interesting part of the series which has been Batman’s introspection. I think his experiences dealing with Jack and Neo-Joker mirrored his own actions and pushed him to the boundary that Joker alone never could. I feel as though there could be an epilogue chapter, as I’d love to see how Gotham reacts to Batman’s reveal and the aftermath.
As big a fan of Sean Murphy’s art as I am, I genuinely found it lacking in this chapter; perhaps it was the overly frenetic opening sequence which I felt was way too drawn out and convoluted. The one scene in which Murphy’s art truly reached his normal pinnacle was during Harley and Jack’s wedding scene when the joker fully revealed himself, the detail in Harley and Joker’s face is astounding and you feel the horror flowing through Harley’s mind. The following panel of Neo-Joker hearing Joker’s cackle billowing throughout Arkham speaks volumes to the untapped potential in her character. She is not savoring her opposites horror, but she does certainly not pity her. She is acknowledging that this is obviously how it was going to end.
Batman: White Knight and its final issue have certainly not been a slog to get through. Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth have most certainly put their own unique stamp on the Batman mythos with this mini-series. It just feels unfinished with so much potential still lying around. Batman: White Knight #8 ties things up pretty neatly however leaving little room for expansion, which is perhaps it’s greatest crime.
Batman: White Knight #8