Updated: Jan 22
Script, Art and Cover: Sean Murphy, Colours: Matt Hollingsworth, Letters: AndWorld Design.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight is a DC Black Label series, stories for mature readers, that take place outside of normal DC continuity.
The phrase "Game-Changing" is used a lot these days. So much so, in fact, that it has all but lost its meaning. But I need you to understand, that this is not a descriptor I throw out, unless I REALLY mean it.
So, when I say that Batman: Curse of the White Knight, Book Five is a game-changing issue, I really need you to understand the gravity of that statement.
When a comic begins with the funeral of a character as integral and beloved as Jim Gordon, and that doesn't even make the top 3 most important scenes in the issue, you'll maybe, maybe, begin to understand.
Once the former Commissioner, and eternal hero, is interred and some harsh words are said, Bruce decides that now would be a good time to drop a huge revelation. One which will forever change the way that the people of Gotham view themselves, and could potentially destroy the legacy of the Wayne family.
And that scene was number 3, on the important scenes list.
Are you beginning to understand?
Next up, Harley does some digging with the help of an old friend. And the biggest mystery of the series, the bloody message on the wall of Laffy's tomb, gets that little bit more mysterious, and the stakes for this series reach even greater heights.
And that's still only the second biggest scene, of the issue.
And then, just when you think the issue must have peaked, when you think there can't be any more to give, we stop in with no one's favourite flaming sword-wielding zealot, as he has something of a disagreement with his employer. And, just for sh!ts and giggles, decides to go visit some old friends.
And THAT, my good people, is a very important scene.
The script, as always is excellent. Sean Murphy's Batman is a stoic badass, in the grand tradition of the character. However, what makes Murphy's run so memorable for me, is the way he's handled the side characters. I know it'll probably get me some hate, but I've never been a HUGE fan of Harley Quinn. I feel like the IDEA of her character is great, but the execution is often quite lacking. However, Murphy's Harleen is a stand-out character in this series. Strong, capable, an absolute genius, but also with a level of vulnerability that makes her character both believable, and relatable. I would happily read a whole MurphyVerse book with just with her!
But Murphy's art continues to impress. His scratchy style evokes the classic books of the '60s and '70s, but with the modern attention to panel layout, character design, and use of colour that leaves you with a style that, for me, combines the best parts of both the old and new of comic book art. Which is pretty damned impressive, if you ask me!
There was one panel in particular, I would have loved to share... but as it's the final panel of the issue, and SOMETHING of a spoiler, I restrained myself. But when you get to it, you'll understand why I wanted to show it here.
Overall, this was a fantastic issue; Sean Murphy continues to give the world its best Batman. Honestly, I cannot explain how much I love this run. I really hope the rumours of a third arc after Curse of the White Knight are true, because I'm not ready to say goodbye to the MurphyVerse, just yet.