by Mark Mitchell
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
The primary mystery of Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight (with an assist from Matt Hollingsworth on colors) is determining what exactly Jack Napier’s intentions are. How much of his stance against Batman on moral grounds is part of a longer con? And even if Napier is truly free of the Joker, he’s certainly willing to indulge in a little villainy if the ends justify the means. But then, the same can be said of Murphy’s Batman, and it’s the murky morality of most all the major players in Batman: White Knight 3 that makes this book so compelling.
Nu-Harley Quinn, Alfred Pennyworth, and, perhaps, Batgirl are the few characters who play their roles like we expect they would. Nu-Harley is out to get her man, Alfred makes a selfless sacrifice to once again save Bruce Wayne, and Batgirl is the last remaining rational player in the Bat-Family.
But why is Batman acting like such a dick? It’s White Knight’s second greatest mystery, and one I’m unclear if Murphy intends to resolve. Batman’s dark turn certainly makes for fascinating parallels with Napier — is Batman’s constant endangerment of civilian lives any better than Napier using Gotham’s villains to create a distraction to advance his plan? — but Batman is such a cypher right now that I’m unsure what’s motivating his mania, and I’m unsure if I’m supposed to be unsure. Barbara makes it clear that Bruce is becoming more unhinged, but is reckless abandon just the way Batman has always operated in this world? If our baseline is the Batman we know outside of White Knight, what caused him to turn? And even if he’s always been dangerously aggressive, why?
Clearing up Batman’s motivations, or even Murphy signaling that he intends to clear it up, would go a long way to making the Batman part of Batman: White Knight as interesting as the rest.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?