Batman: White Knight

Dated Nov 13, 2022; last modified on Sat, 29 Jul 2023

Batman: White Knight. Sean Murphy. . . 2017.


First time encountering a comic where the same person wrote, pencilled and inked the work. The panels should be truer to what the writer intended.


[Joker] Admit it – I gave you Gotham City! This corrupt war zone is the home we created together. The only reason Gotham allows you to exist in because they’re so terrified of me! Admit it! I’m the only one who really knows you Batman! Your vigilantism isn’t about justice – it’s about control: fixing this city is your pathetic way of salvaging the broken bits of your anima. But you’re too stupid to see that it hasn’t worked – crime has become your therapy, and Gotham your victim. You’ve dragged us all into your perpetual Halloween!

[Maggie] The police have always denied having anything to do with the Dark Knight. Gordon’s never officially admitted that he even exists, and now we have him standing by while Batman viciously attacks the Joker. [Mark] So what?! The Joker is Gotham’s greatest villain, a psychopath with a long history of violence, and a knack for manipulating the system – everyone knows that. [Maggie] But the GCPD has never successfully convicted him of anything more than armed robbery, despite his perceived reputation. [Mark] The cops need our support, Maggie. Gotham is the birthplace of super-criminals. I don’t care what is and isn’t legal – this city needs Batman.

As a reader, I know what the Joker has done. Mark props his argument on common knowledge. However, one can’t convict based on common knowledge. Paradoxical situation to know you’re right in the abstract, but without proof.

[Napier] Batman endangered innocent civilians by driving an unlicensed weaponized tank over those rooftops. The he endangered a construction site by plowing into a cement truck, injuring three people. He knocked over an innocent guard and trespassed onto private property, destroying thousands of medical equipment while he assaulted me as I was trying to surrender. Rather than arresting him, you and a dozen police officers stood by while he forced unknown medication down my throat until I stopped breathing. Add that all up and what do we have? Reckless endangerment, destruction of public and private property, a dozen traffic violations, assault and attempted murder by lethal dosage.

[Pierce] He’s right about Batman, though. I’ve made millions in real estate off him. [Bruce] Real estate? [Pierce] Batman usually fights crime in poor neighborhoods, which the city then labels bat impact zones, which drops the price or real estate even more. Those zones receive grants in order to rebuild. The trick is to buy right after a zone is declared, then flip it after the taxpayers foot the repair bill. [Bruce] You’re profiting from Batman’s war on crime?! [Pierce] Everyone here is doing it, Bruce. Crime is the best bet in Gotham.

“War on Crime” borrows some infamy from the “War on Drugs” in America, which disproportionately affected poor neighborhoods and minority communities.

[Napier] Three billion dollars each year. On floods and hurricanes that never happen. Three billion dollars a year on Gotham’s only disaster: Batman. The gatekeepers profit off Batman by channeling relief funding through their perpetual infrastructure racket, and they’re making you pay for it. With your taxes, your rooftops and your children’s safety.

The old truth wrapped protectively around a lie of omission. Napier/Joker later admits that the fund is completely financed by Bruce Wayne, and not the general public.

[Mark] No, Napier is playing identity politics, deliberately trying to awaken Backport’s history of violence. [Maggie] I was born in Backport, Mark, and I resent that. The people are right to be upset with how the GCPD and Batman have been treating them. Napier is doing more for them than the politicians ever have. [Mark] It doesn’t bother you that he’s trying to white knight a bunch of minorities? [Maggie] Gotham won’t listen to black people – so Duke is smart to enlist the palest whitest guy he can find, and that’s the Joker! [Mark] No one is going to run against Napier! They’re too afraid of him! [Maggie] No, they’re too afraid of standing against Backport!

Murphy’s usage of Mark and Maggie as journalists is apt. Murphy is the more cynical tell-it-like-it-is type, while Maggie is the more idyllic pro-change type. They are both portrayed with flaws in their arguments, so maybe that’s Murphy’s message? It’s easier to criticize everything though than to present a point of view.

[Gordon] I don’t even know who you are, Batman! Trusting the safety of an entire city to a stranger wearing a cape? Jesus – do you even hear how crazy that sounds? And now there’s another Joker! How many more super-criminals can Gotham withstand? Napier is right. [Batman] About what? [Gordon] That if you really wanted to stop crime, you’d give me a fleet of bat-mobiles and a thousand utility belts so I could distribute them to the real heroes out there – then men who are brave enough to show their faces!

Napier succeeded in this. Batman later admits that providing tech to the GCPD is a good idea.

[Harley] Joker might have been responsible for terrorizing Gotham, but you weren’t necessarily making it better. Someone needed to help break the stalemate before you two tore the this city apart. I had to do something. [Batman] Why you? [Harley] Because no one knew you both like I did: two of the most enigmatic personalities in Gotham. Or should I say three. If the city was going to forever condemn the Joker, they deserved to know Jack Napier. And I was betting that Jack had a lot to show us. A lot to show you. And I was right.


  1. Batman: White Knight Part 1. Sean Murphy; Matt Hollingsworth. . Oct 4, 2017.
  2. Batman: White Knight Part 2. Sean Murphy; Matt Hollingsworth. . Nov 1, 2017.
  3. Batman: White Knight Part 3. Sean Murphy; Matt Hollingsworth. . Dec 6, 2017.
  4. Batman: White Knight Part 4. Sean Murphy; Matt Hollingsworth. . Jan 3, 2018.
  5. Batman: White Knight Part 8. Sean Murphy; Matt Hollingsworth. . May 9, 2018.