Sean Murphy continues his Elseworld tale this month with one of the greatest issues so far.
It is now clear that Gotham City is run by corrupted cops and politicians that prefer to protect a vigilante rather then its low-class citizens, and Jack Napier’s goal is to stop that by becoming a councilman.
The comic starts with Jack’s campaign in Backport, Gotham’s impoverished sector, followed by a peaceful protest. He is being helped by Duke Thomas, who became “the Signal” in the DC continuity. Duke has a very important role in Jack’s campaign: he is in fact talking to the people of Backport, and is making them realize that Jack is there to help them, that they need to trust him.
However, everything comes to an end when Batman suddenly shows up for almost no reason. Jack is then taken to the GCPD, where he shares his ideas with Gordon; his plan is to create a special unit, the Gotham Terrorist Oppression unit (GTO) using the funds that the city would use to repair the damages Batman could do. The funds will be used to provide the special agents adequate gadgets and vehicles. Jack also asks Batgirl and Nightwing to join the initiative to bring down Batman.
One of the most interesting things in this comic, however, is Marian Drews, the new Harley Quinn, who is now Neo Joker. By controlling the other rogues with the help of the Mad Hatter, Marian is able to invade the GCPD, and the Mad Hatter is even able to steal some files. Marian’s goal is to bring The Joker back, since she thinks he is still buried deep inside Jack’s psyche.
Meanwhile, Harleen (the original Harley Quinn) and Jack are spending an intimate night together. But the happiness doesn’t last long for the couple, as Marian suddenly breaks in in Jack’s house, demanding him to set the Joker free once and for all. The comic ends with a shocking revelation, that will surely be explored in the next issues.
As always, the art of this comic is amazing: Murphy’s attention for details does not pass unnoticed, and the costume and makeup of Neo Joker is stunning. The script is getting better and better, which is a relief, since back when the first issue came out, everything seemed forced.
Moreover, the focal point of this comic is Neo Joker: she is determined to do everything in her power to bring Joker back, as I said before, and doing it by using Joker’s massive ego is simply brilliant, because it shows how much she actually knows him. She will try to get him back by taking over the city, and as she said, Joker would never let that happen.
Marian’s characterization is actually how Harley should have been written in the first place, her personality is very Classic Harley Quinn: she is obsessed with the Joker, wicked and extremely jealous, but most importantly, she loves Joker for who he is. We understand that when in the previous issues, she states that Joker’s mood swings were her favorite part. It’s just perfect, and we actually needed a new female villain that is genuinely evil and determined to reach her goals.
In the end, this comic is getting better and better, and I can’t wait to see how Murphy’s going to continue this story, especially after the big cliffhanger in the last panel, which left me extremely intrigued.
If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, you can pick up a digital copy of the comic here.
Alessia's review of Batman: White Knight #3