Comic Review - Beyond the White Knight

The future is now, ya geezers! Over a decade has passed since Bruce Wayne was sent to prison, and things have drastically changed. The changes that Bruce had hoped would happen never came to pass. A man named Derek Powers has taken over Wayne Enterprises and has retained Bruce’s wealth in order to serve his own agenda. The GTO is under his control and Gotham has become a police state. But when Bruce hears that Derek had someone steal one of his bat suits, he breaks out of prison to take down Derek Powers for good. But now he must also deal with the legacy he has left behind and come to grips with the kind of person he truly is.

Before we get to the book, there are a few things to address. First, my hardcover collection collects the two-issue mini-series White Knight Presents: Red Hood which I will talk about shortly at the end of this post. Second, I should address my thoughts on the animated show Batman Beyond. It was one of the DC animated shows I watched as a kid, though not nearly as much as others. I remember Terry’s origin in the series premiere the most clearly. But I respect how truly beloved that show has become. The entire show was an original creation that has had a long-lasting influence and strong fanbase. I have a lot of respect for the show and the love it has earned.

Let me give you a very short version regarding my thoughts on this installment of the Murphyverse - it’s great! But there are a few small things about it that did throw me for a loop. Let’s address those before getting into what I like about the book. FIrst, DIck Grayson in this installment feels like a step backward based on what he has gone through in the past two books. Or at least he remained at a standstill in his character development. He’s back to being angry at Bruce and how he treated him. I feel like this was patched up already, and it doesn’t help that I don’t like how Dick has been willing to serve someone like Derek Powers. He does turn against him to team up with everybody else at the end. But it felt like it took longer than it should have. Another small issue I have is at the beginning when it was revealed that Derek Powers stopped any of the promises that Bruce made regarding donating his wealth to help improve Gotham and the lives of the city’s citizens. On one hand, it is a middle finger to the note of promise at the end of Curse of the White Knight. But on the other hand, everything Powers has done and Bruce’s reaction to those actions do help serve the themes of the book, so it’s not like it was done for no reason. This is something I was ultimately able to be OK with.

One last thing about this book that did make my head tilt - Jack/Joker appearing as a hologram to Bruce. It’s not that he appears as a hologram at all that’s the issue. I enjoyed the interaction between them and how it aided in Bruce’s character development. But I am confused about just how the Hell this hologram was made possible. Where is the hologram coming from? We’re told that Jack planted a chip in Bruce’s head. But…when did Jack do that? We get an answer, but considering Bruce was then put in Arkham after when the chip was planted, what was the point of placing the chip in him at that point? What exactly can this chip do? Why is creating a hologram of Jack and using an AI copy of his personality and memories a part of the chip’s function? When did Jack have the time and learn the expertise to do this? Why did it only start up over a decade after it was planted in Bruce?


Again, I like the interaction that came from hologram Jack and it does ultimately help character development. And maybe I might be missing something that does help answer a few of my questions. But it is bizarre! Anyway, let’s actually talk about the objectively positive.

The previous two main White Knight books deal with how one should be aware of the impact they have on the people and surroundings around them, be conscious of where they and others come from, and identify the best way to help others. This installment in this universe deals with the end result of a person’s actions, their legacy. Both from how that person views their legacy and how others see it. A big reason why Bruce is mad at what Derek Powers has done is that Bruce genuinely felt like his money going to the city and people was the only way he could leave a positive impact. But it gets pointed out to him by those closest to him that despite what problems may have been raised from his vigilantism, people love Batman and still look up to what he stood for. I think a good visual representation of this can be in how the book uses shadows. There are multiple instances of us seeing Bruce out and about in civilian clothing or just sitting down somewhere. But when you pay attention to the shadows, it reflects who they truly are underneath. A visual commentary on how regardless of how hard you try, who you used to be will always be a part of you. It’s up to you though how that fact influences your decisions. A similar thing was explored in the spinoff White Knight Presents Harley Quinn. You need to accept yourself for everything you are before you can make a change. Otherwise, you aren’t evolving as a person, but just hiding from the truth. And the best way to do that is with the love and support of others.

Going back to Derek Powers, his decision to take Bruce’s wealth before it can be given to the city and people is more than just the action of a selfish person. There are a lot of people in the world who do want to change things, and sometimes a person with significant resources might be able to find a way to do that. But then they have to deal with a system resisting their efforts and even finding a way to take your efforts and resources and use them against you and everybody else. There are people who are going to stop anyone from trying to make fundamental changes to the system. Derek Powers seizing Bruce’s wealth for himself to then take control of Gotham is simply an exaggerated reflection of how good deeds can be blocked and exploited for the benefit of the corrupted elite.

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I’ve talked about Derek a fair bit. But let’s turn towards Terry McGinnis. He is a young 17-year-old boy with some street smarts in possession of an advanced bat suit. We get a fair bit of his personal story and the struggles he has dealt with, making him a sympathetic character you root for. While he was briefly manipulated into believing Bruce killed his father, he has been shown to be smart enough to quickly start suspecting that Derek Powers isn’t telling him the truth. Terry is the most obvious physical manifestation of Bruce’s legacy as Batman. Once Bruce realizes that Batman is who he is and accepts that, his acceptance of Terry is a great showcase of how far Bruce himself has ultimately come.

And once again, the theme of our connections to others pops up again in our journey through the Murphyverse. When we are reunited with this version of Gotham and the Batman mythos, we see some characters struggling and in some bad spots in their lives. But their personal journeys throughout this book involve reuniting with those they love and care for, making them stronger and happier as a result.

(Yes, I am using this photo just so I can have an excuse to tag @DC89 )

But as I mentioned, this book is ultimately about legacy and how we view/handle them. Sometimes, our legacy makes us re-examine our lives and accept some truths we might have been resistant to before. We can’t control what our legacies are because, at the end of the day, they don’t solely belong to us. The people we connect with have a say in what that legacy is. The people who see value in what we have done have a say in what our legacy is. Once we accept that, accept who we are, and have been at every stage in our lives, it will be easier to live the lives we want to have.

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P.S. - My thoughts on the Red Hood mini-series! I am sure I have a post or reply somewhere on this site that explains why I’m not a fan of the Red Hood as is in the main DC universe. But I’ll admit that this version of the character is much more nuanced and complex. I really enjoyed the connection Jason formed with Gan, the mini-series serving as an expansion of ideas and themes explored in the main White Knight books regarding connections and the larger community. My only criticism is that this could have been a one-shot as they did with Von Freeze. But two issues don’t really take anything away from the more emotional meaning of the Red Hood story.


I really enjoyed your review! Adding this series to my list of things to read!


You liked it even though my opening sentence called you a geezer? Wow, you have a large capicity for forgiveness!

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:rofl: It doesn’t bother me. My kids think I was alive when the dinosaurs were. :laughing:


Technically, dinosaurs are around today


Always love your topic discussions @EDT. They are engaging and enjoyable to read. Still got to read the white knight saga as I’m always fascinating by what writer Sean Murphy comes up with in his separate Batman continuity. This kind of stuff should have been what DC comics should have done with 5G/Future State material instead of poorly looping them into current continuity. I say this is how future comics be made but that’s a little too much.

I love this panel

The idea that Batman and the others Bat members should always be connected and never be alone is something that other Batman titles have touched on before but with the Murphyverse I feel that messages has more weight as Batman isn’t just restarting from square one again. Awesome review @EDT.

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Thanks! I’m a big fan of this Murphyverse that has been slowly but steadily growing over the years. I usually wait until I can get a trade though.

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I also forgot to mention this but besides the Harley Quinn show version, this iteration of Harley is my favorite by far.

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I totally agree. I give more details why in my review of the OG White Knight comic

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