Fans of Sean Gordon Murphy’s gritty Black Label Batman comics can rejoice. The writer of the acclaimed mature-audience series Batman: White Knight recently teased DC nerds with the title of the next installment in his non-canonical bat-universe.
What started out as a standalone mini-series that examined the billionaire vigilante through the harsh lens of reality has grown into its very own mythology. With his first White Knight title, Murphy depicted a more nuanced and flawed Caped Crusader—a folk hero who isn’t always on the right side of justice despite his best intentions. In his second title, Batman: Curse of the White Knight, Murphy explores the dark and secret history of the Wayne family. In the standalone comic Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze, Murphy’s universe expanded even further by diving into the cryogenic super villain’s childhood in Nazi Germany.
According to a recent tweet by Sean Murphy, volume 3 of the White Knight saga will be titled (at least for now) Batman: Beyond the White Knight. While little is known about the plot to the story, the word “beyond” could hint at a reference to the much beloved Batman series set in the future, Batman Beyond. Placing the next chapter of the White Knight saga in Bruce Wayne’s golden years isn’t entirely out of left field considering Murphy has done cover art for the DC comic book series Batman Beyond 2.0.
Though volume 3 of Murphy’s bat-verse wont likely be hitting shelves anytime soon, fans can still enjoy Curse of the White Knight, which is halfway through its 8 issue run. Like its predecessor, Curse doesn’t hold back. Staple characters in the Bat-family die, Gotham is shaken by scandal, and the Dark Knight is forced to take an honest look in the mirror. Like other classic tales such as The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke, Murphy’s R-rated Batman mythology relies more on psychological drama than “wham-pow” antics.
Murphy’s Gotham isn’t grounded in reality in the same way that director Christopher Nolan’s Bat-verse was anchored to the laws of physics (magic leg brace notwithstanding); it’s reality is derived from the social ramifications of Batman’s war on crime. At times it’s a sobering take on an American hero. Take away the bat motif and jaw-dropping martial arts skills and Bruce Wayne is essentially just a one-percenter driving around in an urban assault vehicle dispensing his trademarked brand of street justice
And yet White Knight still manages to make its readers root for Batman. Murphy understands that the Dark Knight is most inspiring to his fans when he’s humanized. If his first 2 volumes are any indicator, Batman: Beyond the White Knight will bring real-world struggles to Gotham’s sworn protector, regardless of the era it is set in.More: Robert Pattinson Doesn’t Consider Batman a SuperheroSource: Sean Murphy