Batman Beyond the White Knight #1 Review: Alluring Visuals and Family Dynamics Pull Readers into Another Dive into The White Knight Universe
- Batman: Beyond the White Knight #1
- Written by: Sean Murphy
- Art by: Sean Murphy
- Colors by: Dave Stewart
- Published by DC Comics (Black Label)
“A lot can change in 10 years, especially in Gotham! Batman, a.k.a. Bruce Wayne, may be behind bars, but the real criminals are still out there. Gotham Motors CEO Derek Powers has seized control of the Wayne family’s assets and is using them to transform the GTO and the city they’ve sworn to protect. Crime is down, but at what cost?
A new Batman has emerged in Powers’s city, and only Bruce is fully aware of the dangers to come. It’s time to destroy the mantle for good, but he’ll need one of his forgotten sons’ help to do so. Enter Jason Todd…the first Robin?! In this thrilling sequel to the blockbuster comic book hits Batman: White Knight and Batman: Curse of the White Knight, writer/artist Sean Murphy invites the audience to go beyond the Gotham they know to discover an engrossing new take on the city and its heroes. Welcome to Neo-Gotham and the world of Beyond the White Knight!”
DC Comics’ new venture into the White Knight universe brings us 10 years after the events that saw Bruce Wayne behind bars. Now, we enter Gotham once again, and much has changed with Bruce Wayne losing touch with the pulse of the city and Derek Powers having seized control of the city. Bruce still protects those he can with Bruce single-handedly stopping a prison riot that overwhelms the understaffed prison force that includes Jason Todd. With hints at Bruce has been a helping hand at stopping other riots, he continues to instill justice within his new confinement while Gotham City moves on without Batman and the GTO now the city’s protectors. But at what cost?
Two years since Sean Murphy last took us into the White Knight universe in Curse of the White Knight we return for another round with a decade having passed, it’s not a surprise to see Murphy drastically change the world we saw a couple of years ago. A weathered Bruce Wayne, older but not always wiser Bat-children serving the city in their own ways. Harley still reeling from losing Jack, and Bruce Wayne while attempting to live a new life with her two children who are now teenagers.
The time jump presents us with a brand-new Gotham that feels almost like a rebooted universe and although many of the characters have moved on in one way or another, Murphy’s compelling narrative and visionary artistic touch remain as true as always and provides us with a North Star that guides us through this drastically altered world.
With the Batman Beyond approach, many of us thought Batman’s legacy would live on but as it is revealed, Gotham Motors CEO Derek Powers has taken advantage of the vulnerable city and used the opportunity to grow his wealth and militarized the GTO task force while pulling resources from other departments of the city, as it is hinted, Dick Grayson’s GTO and Jim Gordon’s GCPD don’t see eye to eye and are now two separate departments.
With the GTO being credited for the low crime rates in Gotham, they seem to be doing the right thing on the surface, but Bruce knows that Powers’ hold on the city’s wealth and GTO could have implications that only the likes of Bruce/Batman can recognize and defend against.
Murphy hits the reset button on the series in a clever way and gives him a new canvas with the same moving pieces that give fans of the series some familiarity all while bringing an engaging set of new events that could set the series for the next generation of Batman. Of course, as we have seen in the White Knight universe, all can change in an instant, and one of the most appealing parts of the universe Murphy has built is the ensemble cast of Batman universe characters that fill the series.
Credit to Murphy for being able to pull off such a feat without overstuffing the issues or overcomplicating the plot with a wheelhouse of characters and their own narratives.
Overall, Murphy once again delivers a seamless and enticing visit to the universe he built and rewrites the Batman Legacy for what could open a new vein into the White Knight universe. Murphy’s art with Dave Stewart‘s colors presents us with a culmination of eye-catching panels and pages that are imaginative and capture the atmosphere of what we have come to love from the White Knight series.
With Bruce unable to let go of his responsibility to protect Gotham and Terry McGinnis stepping into his role of the Dark Knight of Gotham, the direction of the series seems clear, but if the final pages are anything of a hint, Murphy always has a joker up his sleeve that could change the dynamic of the entire series in an instant. Jason Todd and Bruce Wayne’s panels and dynamics were a highlight with Bruce breaking down barriers of Jason and opening the doors for reconciliation and leading into a spinoff series. Batman: Beyond the White Knight has exceeded every expectation and is set to deliver another one-of-a-kind experience in the Batman universe.
Source: DC Comics