Review: Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 is the follow up to creator Sean Gordon Murphy‘s hit Batman: White Knight. As a follow up, it does it right in that you don’t need previous knowledge. While there are references to the previous volume, there’s little knowledge needed to enjoy the current offering. It’s what comics should be, open to new readers while having a “value add” to long-time readers.

I wasn’t a fan of Batman: White Knight. I felt the concept presented isn’t what was presented. The high concept never was delivered on. Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 seems to correct that problem. It sets up a simple clash between the Joker and Batman involving the Waynes’ history and introducing Azrael to this universe.

Now under the DC Black Label imprint, Batman: Curse of the White Knight is free of the meta concept instead delivering a more classic story. There’s a lot of history building here going back to the early days of Gotham. The intrigue of the first issue is in the story not what it’s trying to do. It’s story first, concept second in this follow-up volume.

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 takes through the early history of Gotham. There are ties to the early Waynes’ with implications not just for Bruce but also the origin of the Joker. Its teases make it more than interesting enough to read further. Murphy references the first volume enough to really settle questions for previous readers. What’s presented isn’t vital for new readers. You can focus on the story presented without being bogged down by the previous volume.

There are some issues that Murphy has fallen in to before. The introduction of Jean-Paul Valley goes smoothly until the end. An encounter feels a bit too out of nowhere and disjointed. It’s a “go with it” moment. One that doesn’t derail the issue but feels a little out of the blue as presented. Later issues may make things clearer.

Murphy’s art is the highlight here. Along with color by Matt Hollingsworth and lettering by AndWorld Design, the comic is visually great. The design and choices deliver a world that feels like a mix of the Gotham we know and a steampunk alt-world. That’s due to its grays, browns, reds, and blacks which play heavily into the look of it all.

The comic is an improvement on the previous volume. It delivers an intriguing mystery that goes its own way while building off of the myth we already know. Cures of the White Knight delivers a straightforward Batman story that plays to Murphy’s strengths. It shows growth as a writer and how to create a new volume that’s both new reader-friendly and has a little extra for those who have been along for the ride.

Story: Sean Gordon Murphy Art: Sean Gordon Murphy
Color: Matt Hollingsworth Letterer: AndWorld Design
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review