Beyond the White Knight #2
Gotham City was once a corrupt, crime-infested cesspool, but is now a technological marvel with the lowest crime rates, all thanks to the infusion of wealth accumulated by seven generations of Bakkars disguised as the Wayne family. While Bruce has been a man of his word and stayed in his jail cell for the past 10 years, news of Derek Powers taking over Wayne Enterprises and weaponizing Gotham’s Terrorist Oppression Unit has left him no choice but to investigate the case himself. DC Black Label printing allows the Murphyverse sequel take shape in the most intriguing way, revealing secrets of the past and present. Written and illustrated by Sean Murphy with colors by Dave Stewart, Batman: Beyond the White Knight #2 is a two-part tale that chronicles two men from different times and backgrounds wearing the Batman cowl.
Batman: Beyond the White Knight #2 gives a clearer picture of Gotham City’s current landscape. Even though the GCPD still has jurisdiction over the city, the private GTO task force patrols the streets under the guise of “protection.” In reality, the heavily militarized body enforces enforcement with an iron fist amid concerns over the violation of civil rights, including privacy. As former spouses, Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon and GTO Chief Dick Grayson clash, Bruce has his own issues to deal with. The ghost of Jack Napier haunts the veteran crime fighter, as lost as a fish out of water. Will Gotham bring home the prodigal son or will it hand over to fresh blood?
10 years is enough time for people to change, for relationships to take their course and for a city to forget its dark past. The Gotham Bruce knew is long gone, and it’s through his eyes that readers learn about this revamped new world. Batman: Beyond the White Knight #2 is an exposition-rich tale that relays information through character interactions. Whether it’s a secret affair between Terry McGinnis and Derek Powers or a heated argument between Barbara and Dick, the power of storytelling in the Murphyverse lies in the relationships between the characters. To that end, writer Sean Murphy has divided the story into several narratives, each describing the characters’ dilemma as new developments jeopardize their way of life. Batman: Beyond the White Knight #2 strings in readers with its intriguing setting, building the premise little by little.
Sean Murphy is one of the few artists who can combine futuristic designs and a techno-modern landscape with the brick-and-mortar feel of Gotham City, creating a dichotomy of tones that adds layers to the artwork. . Despite the contrast, there is a unified aesthetic style which is the biggest contributing factor to the grainy look of the panels. Murphy uses shadows to good effect, using dark spaces and side lighting to create long shadows of the characters in their most recognizable avatars. Colorist Dave Stewart also understands the mission and lights the panels accordingly. As always, different shades of auburn play a prominent role as the base color, while other shades are scattered between them so as not to overload the pages with a monochromatic characteristic.
In his heart, Batman: Beyond the White Knight #2 is a tale of failed and rocky relationships that gives the book a tense edge. Although the pacing is slower than expected, the gradual world building, substantial story progression, and surprising twists and turns make for an enjoyable read. Batman and Joker have always been at war with each other, but it was Jack Napier’s character who offered a real challenge to Bruce’s cynical ways and changed Gotham for good. In the end Bruce had accepted Napier as an ally and later followed in his footsteps. Seeing him again, albeit in an intangible form, is a total shock. Batman: Beyond the White Knight #2 literally takes the White Knight beyond as the Dark Knight reconciles with the only family he has left.
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