Writer(s): Katana Collins & Sean Murphy.
Artist(s): Matteo Scalera.
Colourist(s): Dave Stewart.
Letterer(s): Andworld Design.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: June 29th 2021.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
Previously in the Murphyverse Series:
Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight by Sean Murphy.
Our past has a way to sneak up on us when we least expect it. Despite our most humble and profound desire to obtain a clean state, to restart our lives anew, and to pursue new values and principles, there is an uncomfortable and daunting instinct that kicks in when our most memorable memories flood our conscious in an attempt to question our existence. For the ex-underworld Queen and single mother of two, Harley Quinn, life has not been the same since the two most important people of her life are now out of the picture. Collaborating with her husband Sean Murphy, writer Katana Collins explores one of the most beloved characters within the Murphyverse series, Harley Quinn, as she tackles both her past, present, and future in an unpredictable murder mystery. This graphic novel collects all six issues of the original series and features issue #4 from Harley Quinn’s newest digital-first series, Harley Quinn Black + White + Red.
What is Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn about? Two years after the events in Batman: Curse of the White Knight, The Joker/Jack Napier is now gone and Batman/Bruce Wayne is behind bars. Harley Quinn continues to juggle her single-mom life, twins she had with Jack, her two trusty hyenas, and a haunting past that remains difficult to disentangle, even more, to get rid of. With the arrival of a criminal uprising following Azrael’s reign, led by a new villain and his recruit, known as the Producer and Starlet, Gotham is once again threatened by chaos and anarchy. The mysterious series of gruesome murders of Golden Age film stars thus highlights the dark nights of Gotham. Somehow connected to the Joker, these murders lead the Gotham City police department and the FBI to consult Harley. Her professional background and unique history make her an indispensable ally in solving this case before more victims fall prey to these killers.
“Unless you learn to unify all aspects of yourself—the Mother, the Doctor, the Woman—and embrace the chaos… It’ll find a way to get the best of you.”— Katana Collins
In this what-if universe, Joker had regained his sanity and Batman was seen as the villain and source of all crime in Gotham. Beyond those two pivotal characters to an engaging and fantastic series so far, Harley Quinn was a welcome and captivating twist with her unique role in the story. It was only a matter of time before she received her own title and fans couldn’t have asked for a better story than this one where they not only revisit her past, brilliantly exploring her determination and perseverance in helping Jack Napier/the Joker from spiraling into madness, on top of her relationship with Batman, but also portraying her new life where she has yet to learn to juggle multiple identities herself. With an intriguing mystery serving as the driving force of the narrative, it allows her character to be guided by Bruce Wayne’s wisdom while also seeking answers regarding the person she wishes to become for herself, for her twins, and for the city that allowed her to acquaint with love, loss, and mayhem.
Surprisingly, artist Matteo Scalera remains incredibly faithful to creator Sean Murphy’s artwork in this graphic novel. It is incredibly lively, filled with emotion, and oozing with dynamism. Stylish at heart, it is also modern in design, fully maximizing the characters’ potential for original designs that make for exciting and unforgettable moments. Dave Stewart’s colours are also brilliantly utilized to establish a vivid yet sinister tone to the story arc. The artwork simply flows together effortlessly and gives the narrative the edge it seeks to deliver an engaging murder mystery with subtle yet quintessential character development. While the story is a bit more verbose, it is never detrimental to the reader’s immersion or interest; instead, giving the story more opportunities to explore psychological mindsets.
Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn is a brilliant spin-off within the Murphyverse that explores an antihero’s journey of self-discovery post-adversity and -tragedy.