Batman: Beyond the White Knight #7 brings the past to a bombastic confrontation with the present as the series sets itself up for an exciting conclusion. Renegade Bruce Wayne rushes to save Dick Grayson after a devastating attack from Derek Powers, who is now in complete Blight form while being pursued by a new Batman. Issue #7 acts as a crossroads, bringing series threads together and setting the stakes for the final issue.
The plot of the issue is relatively straightforward: Bruce has to rush Dick to safety after the newly-powered Derek Powers blasted him. We get some insight into the early days of Bruce and Dick’s relationship that helps inform both their actions in the present. It’s a ticking clock issue as he must outrun the new Batman, who is tailing their escape. It leads to an exciting confrontation with some great action panels. However, the conflict is resolved relatively quickly and leaves the rest of the issue to set up the upcoming climax.
The White Knight’s real strength is its ability to take the familiar and twist it in an exciting new direction without losing the heart of what made fans fall in love in the first place. Sean Murphy’s series isn’t an adaption (obviously), but it is inspired, at least in part, by the beloved Batman: The Animated Series, the DC Animated Universe, and Batman Beyond. He has a lot of love for the shows but puts his spin on the characters and the world, making the series feel familiar yet new.
Issue #7 is no exception, with characters playing out arcs we may have seen in other stories, like Batman accepting the mistakes he’s made with his partners. Still, being done with such a different approach, it feels like you’re reading something special. Murphy’s Bruce and Batman feel so different from most Elseworlds versions due to the amount of compassion he is given, both from in-universe and the writer. Bruce has to face a personal reckoning in issue #7 and finally own up to his mistakes. He isn’t chastised for making them, but is met with understanding and support. It’s always a treat to pick up a White Knight book because Murphy has such a distinct voice for his universe.
Not to mention the beautiful art of each White Knight book. Murphy’s sharp lines, imposing figures, and dark shadows create a world fitting his script. From panels of the skyline to the narrow alleyways, Gotham feels real and lived. Plus, we have Dave Stewart to thank for the stunning color work throughout the series. Stewart’s coloring is always top-notch, but I need to give a particular shoutout to his ability to bring Gotham’s skyline to life with beautiful oranges and yellows. Murphy and Stewart give this book a specific texture and feel, almost like you’re watching an old movie. The duo is doing something special in the White Knight books, and issue #7 continues the trend.
Beyond the White Knight has a lot to enjoy, but it isn’t without flaws. Murphy is telling a big, expansive story with many complex and interesting characters, which means some storylines can feel underdeveloped. Terry McGinnis sometimes feels like an afterthought, as if he is more of a reoccurring guest star rather than a character whose name is (sort of) in the title. However, Murphy does give Terry some great action and character moments, so it feels like every time he is on the page is important. It’s not that anything is wrong, just that there is a hunger for more.
Batman: Beyond the White Knight #7 is an exciting prologue setting up to what is sure to be a thrilling conclusion. Issue #7 allows characters a moment to breathe and an opportunity for Bruce to correct his mistakes. Add in a great “hero walking” moment and some exciting Batman vs. Batman action, and you’ve got another strong issue from Murphy and Stewart.
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