Script and Art by Sean Murphy, Colours by Matt Hollingsworth, Letters by AndWorld Design.
Well. That was certainly an adventure, wasn't it? I really enjoyed White Knight. It was an interesting and fresh take on a character and world that had become increasingly unbelievable and often predictable.
Then Sean Murphy burst onto the scene, giving us a grounded take on the character, that had all the adventure and intrigue we needed from a character who was once known as "The World's Greatest Detective."
Fast-forward to the release of Batman: Curse of the White Knight, and I wasn't sure how Murphy could top his first book. I should have known not to doubt him.
Not only did Curse top White Knight, it damn near beat out every other Batman story ever told. Delivering a tale packed to bursting with heart, action, adventure, history, romance, and deep sadness (RIP Jim Gordon, you will be missed).
So, it's safe to say, when I sat down to read the final book of Curse of the White Knight, I was a little conflicted.
Could he deliver on all that he'd promised, over the last 7 books? Is it even possible to live up to that build up, and satisfy his rabid fans?
Once again, I am reminded how foolish it is, to doubt Sean Murphy.
The Grand Finale delivered everything I was hoping for. From the opening panels, loaded with Batmobiles charging through the empty streets of Gotham (I could almost hear Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" playing), to Batman and Azrael's final showdown and the inevitable fallout. Every promise was delivered upon, every thread neatly tied, and a certain ship set sail...
But the question remains: Bruce was in a DARK place at the end of book 7. SPOILERS AHEAD>>>>>Pushed to the edge by the loss of Gordon, by Barbara's injuries, by Joker's revelations. It's not been an easy time of late, for Bruce.
So, when he finally gets his hands on Azrael, when he's finally confronted by the man responsible for seemingly every ill that has befallen him in recent months, you have to ask yourself:
Can Bruce actually win? And what will it cost him to do so?
If Batman beats Azrael, but Bruce Wayne is lost in the process, did Jean-Paul Valley win, after all?
All these questions, and many more, are answered in Book 8!
Overall, Book 8 rounds out Curse of the White Knight in flawless style. I could go on for days about how I think Murphy delivers an iconic Batman, true to the characters classic origins, but with a fresh take, that breaths new life into an ever more tired character.
I could go on and on about how his art style is the perfect blend of classic and forward thinking. Combining new techniques and technology with old school scratchy style. Hell, he even threw in a few over the top sound effect visualisations, in a nod to the camp fun of the legendary '60s Adam West Batman TV show.
I could say all of that, and much more. But I wont. In the end, there is only one thing to say: With Curse of the White Knight, Sean Murphy gives the world a Black Label (non-continuity) version of Batman that is as fun to read for hardcore fans as it is for people that are picking this up as their first ever Batman comic. There is something in this series for everyone to love. And I can't think of higher praise than that.
Can we have the third arc now, please?