With a new Batman tearing through the streets of Gotham City and the GTO breathing down his neck, Bruce Wayne’s situation is rapidly declining from bad to worse. The disappearance of Harley Quinn’s daughter complicates matters further as our desperate detective finds himself in Terry McGinnis’s ruthless sights. Will Bruce be able to save his enemy’s daughter and stop the new Batman? Or will Wayne’s implied involvement in Warren McGinnis’s murder finally push Terry over the edge in his pursuit of vengeance?
Warning: Spoilers for Batman: Beyond the White Knight #3 ahead!
“At some point you’ll need to embrace the cape and cowl. Because it’s who you really are.”
An exemplar of visual storytelling perfection, every panel of Batman: Beyond the White Knight #3 is teeming with gorgeous artwork and excellent character exploration. One part Terry’s origin, one part Bruce Wayne character study – Sean Gordon Murphy has crafted a must-read tale for any fan of the Caped Crusader or comics in general. Despite interweaving his iteration of Terry’s origin story with continued analysis of the original Dark Knight, Murphy allows Bruce to hog the lion’s share of the spotlight. After reading this issue, one thing is clear; the writer still has much to say about the Dark Knight.
As I have said in previous reviews of Batman: Beyond the White Knight, one of the things that I love the most about this series has been Sean Gordon Murphy’s use of artwork to convey the story’s meatier elements. For example, Murphy’s continued use of shadows is perfect for the hero who uses them to haunt his enemies. After all, criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot. Additionally, shadows play a major role in Jungian psychology.
Famed twentieth century psychologist Carl Jung defined “shadow” as every part of ourselves that we despise and try to hide or avoid. Murphy does an astounding job of demonstrating this definition by depicting the shadows of various Bat-Family members as their costume alter-egos. However, Bruce’s hatred of the Batman identity is most prominent as he demands other characters to stop calling him “Bats.” Murphy continues to drive this notion home as Bruce converts one of his stealth suits into something with less of a bat theme. Moreover, as he agrees to save Harley’s daughter and go after Derek Powers, he says, “But we’re doing this without Batman.”
Additionally, Jung said, “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” Throughout Batman: Beyond the White Knight #3 and the rest of the series thus far, Bruce’s Batman shadow is depicted as dense and dark. However, once Bruce dons the “better Batsuit,” this shadow becomes less dense. This could be an artistic coincidence. However, I interpreted this as a visual representation of Bruce beginning to embody his shadow in his conscious life. Additionally, Sean Gordon Murphy begins to visually merge these identities as the shadow Batman begins to deliver lines of dialogue to the Jack Napier artificial intelligence.
Even Joker Jack acknowledges that Bruce will eventually have to embrace the cape and cowl. Jack even goes so far as to comment that despite Bruce’s best efforts to remove Batman from his Batsuit, he still looks like a bat. And just like Jack, the new look is beginning to grow on me as well. A thick beard would never work as well with that cowl.
“Is it true that you had him killed?”
I would be remiss if I did not mention the resolution to last issue’s cliffhanger as well as the other interesting developments of this issue. At the conclusion of Batman: Beyond the White Knight #2, we found out that Bruce Wayne and Harley are married. Murphy’s resolution to this cliffhanger is less juicy than anticipated as it is revealed that the two were married to prevent Harley from testifying against Bruce. It’s a tactic as pragmatic as the Dark Knight himself. However, there are a few lines of dialogue promising that there is more to their relationship than meets the eye.
Additionally, the implication that Bruce was in some way involved in Warren McGinnis’s murder promises a new dynamic between Terry and the Old Man. Although the two characters come to blows at the climax of this issue, I am excited to see how this plot point is resolved in future issues. Sean Murphy does an excellent job of ending each issue on a cliffhanger that leaves you begging for more.
With every panel teeming with gorgeous artwork and excellent character exploration, Batman: Beyond the White Knight #3 is an example of visual storytelling perfection. One part Terry’s origin story, one part Bruce Wayne character study – Sean Gordon Murphy has crafted a must-read tale for any fan of the Caped Crusader or comics in general. If you haven’t picked up this issue already, get your atomic batteries to power and turbines to speed and head to your local comic book shop to get it today!
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