The Batman of Sean Murphy’s Batman: Curse of the White Knight, isn’t one for many friends. Although, that’s not necessarily through choice, as his one-time allies continue to desert him and the legacy of Jack Napier continues to loom large over Gotham, dividing its citizens. With the death of Jim Gordon last issue, and Barbara Gordon down for the count too – paralysed and bound to a wheelchair – Batman continues to plough ahead with his plans to take down Azrael and his forces. A man with a strong link to Bruce’s own family history and the history of Gotham City too.
The past informs the present, and so we are given even more of Gotham City’s backstory and it’s links to both the Wayne family’s ancestors – an in particular the swashbuckling Edmond Wayne – but also the Order of Saint Dumas too. What we learn is that Gotham City’s founding father, Edmond, wasn’t the hero he looked to be and as a result, the founding of Gotham was built on very shaky grounds. Figuratively speaking, of course.
Meanwhile, we’re still drawn back to the Joker and the slightest of chances that in this universe at least, he can still be saved; Jack Napier can still be salvaged from the wreckage that is the Joker’s fractured and criminally insane mind. But, will this be another chance for Napier to try and redeem himself and become the city’s hero only to fall at the last to his more destructive and dominant personality?
Sean Murphy once again offers up a dark and gothic city; a landscape of gloom and doom, of Pirenessi inspired archaic and angular architecture that really looks the part. This is a Gotham City that has majesty and gothic grandeur, but one that is a lot more modern looking in this issue than previously. Indeed, Matt Hollingworth’s colors often have the effect of bringing more light into a city starved of such things.
This is an issue that certainly revisits some of the classic beats to the original Knightfall storyline too, with Murphy remixing Bane into their own twisted version and a showdown between him an Azrael that harkens back to one very specific moment from the original, but with a very different outcome indeed. Oh, and Jean-Paul Valley also follows in the footsteps of his DCU predecessor in a very familiar way too, come the end of this issue. All of which, with it’s own dark twist courtesy of Murphy, makes for a very satisfying read.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight continue to impress and this issue more so than previous issue because it hits all the right buttons, narratively, by playing to the crowd with Murphy’s own take on Knightfall, as well as his own history of Gotham City and a cast of remixed characters you really invest in.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight #4 is out now from DC Comics/DC Black Label