Batman: White Knight and Batman: Curse of the White Knight

Batman: Curse of the White Knight

Batman: White Knight
DC Comics
Writer: Sean Murphy
Artist: Sean Murphy & Matt Hollingsworth
FC, 232 pgs, $19.99 US

Batman: Curse of the White Knight
DC Comics
Writer: Sean Murphy
Artist: Sean Murphy & Matt Hollingsworth
FC, 272 pgs, $29.99 US

It’s difficult to find a good superhero story.

Wait.

Let me back that up.

It is difficult to find a superhero story that can be understood and enjoyed and makes a lasting impact without first requiring you to be intimately familiar with a character’s back catalog. Don’t get me wrong. One of the great joys of comics is following characters issue to issue in familiar situations, fighting familiar faces, with just enough freshness to keep the pages turning. Shake it up a bit. Get a response from the reader. Reset. Creative roster change. Slap a new title on it. New #1. Do it all again. Nothing wrong with that.

But, man, those gems that can be handed to an interested reader, a curious reader, the kind of book that can grip and not let go. Those are rare. I keep mental lists. Most recently it has been Batman. What are the rare gems? Year One, Dark Knight Returns, Batman 100, The Long Halloween, Dark Mirror, Red Rain. There are others but it’s not a long list considering the age of the property.

But there is a new addition: Batman The White Knight by Sean Murphy and now Curse of the White Knight, which is the sequel by the same creative team.

I got into The White Knight because of Sean Murphy’s art. Of course he wants to write Batman. Who wouldn’t, right?! But could he do it? It did not matter to me. I waned to see the art– Murphy’s riffs on iconinc Batman characters and material. I was not disappointed with the visuals.

But the story! Whoah. Solid once he got past the opening action sequences and settled into dialogue and plot. Joker goes straight. Makes Batman look like the bad man. Good hook. I didn’t think it would deliver. It sure did.

The sequel builds on Murphy’s take on Batman and the Joker. He adds new layers, new complications, new surprises. And these will stick. He’s allowed to do his own thing. No reset in this vision.

Former knowledge is welcome but not required. He gives you what you need. Little touches. Gives you the flavour. And let’s be honest– if you’re picking up a Batman comic chances are you know the fundamentals of the character.

I don’t talk about superheroes very often. Other ComicReaders are far more capable. But White Knight and Curse of the White Knight have me yapping. Both will enjoy a long shelf life. (Chad Boudreau)

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