How Sean Murphy’s BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT Sets Up a Sequel - SPOILERS

Batman: White Knight #8
Credit: Sean Murphy/Matt Hollingsworth (DC Comics)
Credit: Sean Murphy/Matt Hollingsworth (DC Comics)

Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight wrapped up earlier this month, with these twisted Elseworlds-ish versions of Batman and the Joker (now calling himself Jack Napier) teaming un as uneasy allies against a threat bigger to Gotham than each other: the Neo Joker. While the miniseries has ended, Murphy has left enough in the eight issues and various social media and convention talk to look ahead and see how a sequel could be in the works.

Spoilers ahead for Batman: White Knight #8.

When the dust settled in White Knight #8, Napier emerged victorious and ready to pay for his past transgressions 0 while Batman learnt some harsh truths about himself as well. However, in both men's journeys, Murphy cleverly sowed a few threads setting up the book up for a sequel.
 

Credit: Sean Murphy/Matt Hollingsworth (DC Comics)

Gotham’s New League of Justice

Napier, after becoming councilman, and Harleen Quinzel (a reformed Harley Quinn), undertook a drastic campaign to show Gotham that Batman was part of its problem. Napier's plan revolved around social justice and winning over the underprivileged, while exposing how politicians were benefitting from Batman's destructive methods. This enraged the Caped Crusader and as he continued his aggressive ways, more and more of Gotham’s citizens began to turn on him, including Nightwing, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and his daughter, Batgirl (Barbara Gordon).

All parties decided to join the Gotham Terrorist Oppression (GTO) unit Napier proposed, which would see vigilantes maintain their identities while working alongside the cops. This unit would eventually play a major part in the joint effort by Batman and Napier to stop the Neo Joker, while reminding Batman that change was needed. In the book's closing moments, he gave his arsenal of Batmobiles to the GTO, and unmasked to Commissioner Gordon, promising to do the same to the people of Gotham.

A sequel would allow fans to see just how the GTO fares moving forward (especially as they now have their hands on Batman's tech), something both he and Gordon were wary about falling into the wrong hands. What's even more intriguing is Bruce has admitted to the Bat-family that he was becoming a monster, with the finale hinting he may well be looking at life after the cowl, maybe even willing to follow Napier's footsteps as a councilman or mayor. Either way, a sequel would perfectly illustrate how Bruce treats this new lease on life, and if there's a need for Batman again in the wake of Gordon's new set-up.

 

Credit: Sean Murphy/Matt Hollingsworth (DC Comics)

What’s Under the Floorboards? 

In a letter the deceased Alfred left Bruce, he urged his former ward to step away from the darkness consuming his soul and come back to the light. This was the catalyst for Bruce to repair his relationship with Nightwing and Batgirl, and to also make amends with the police. But Alfred's letter also spoke about something he left for Bruce under the floorboards in his room. Murphy never addressed it and later admitted it's something he specifically wants to address in a sequel.

Could it have something to do with Bruce finding Jason Todd, the Robin he thought the Joker killed? It turns out Joker just wanted to extract Batman's civilian identity and when he did, Jason, wishing he never met Bruce, opted to run away instead of going back to the Wayne mansion; something Joker thought would hurt Batman even more. Jason's fate was left dangling but if it's anyone who could track him down outside of his adoptive father, it'd be the resourceful Alfred.

Other speculation could be centered on the memorabilia affiliated with Thomas and Martha Wayne's past. White Knight revealed they worked with Nazi turncoats (namely, Victor Fries' father) to develop cryogenic medicine and weapons to help the Allies after World War II. When Neo Joker unearthed some of this material in a heist, Bruce thought his parents were Nazis but Victor quickly clarified this and cleared their names. A follow-up could see even more insight garnered into the Waynes, who were more than mere philanthropists and helped fight oppression. Victor hinted their work was very confidential, so perhaps Alfred found out more about the secret war the Waynes waged on the Nazis.

What's for certain is fans want to know what's under the floor!

 

Credit: Sean Murphy/Matt Hollingsworth (DC Comics)

Street-Level Civil War

So far, Nightwing and Batgirl have signed up for the GTO but that doesn't mean other vigilantes will follow suit. Gordon and Napier set things up so they would still have their identities preserved, but seeing as the city already had Batman running amok, there's still a chance Gotham may lobby to have a superhero registration act. And this could, well, basically incite a vigilante civil war for those who don't want to be part of the system.

If Murphy takes Batman off the table as he hinted in his final panel, then despite the existence of the GTO, more criminals can come crawling out the woodwork. Murphy has shown a knack for using various members of Bruce's inner-circle after all, with Duke Thomas even being retconned into an urban military leader. This leaves room for new faces such as Tim Drake, Azrael, and Spoiler to appear as new vigilantes who might not be too trusting of the GTO, because at the end of the day, taxpayers are footing the bill, which means Gordon will have to be held accountable and that he may be receiving direction from financiers.

In terms of vigilantes not playing ball, seeing as Jason's still alive, he might not take well to seeing Batman, Gordon, and Gotham forgiving Joker and Harley. In his eyes, they wouldn't deserve redemption, and because he didn't undergo this journey with Napier, chances are he could return with his skill-set and a serious vendetta. This opens the door for Red Hood to make his presence felt as the first person who wants to bring back to the old mode of crimefighting, which would of course, make him public enemy number one. More so, the Bat-family would be going up against one of their own, and a bitter Jason with nothing left to lose.

 

Credit: Sean Murphy/Matt Hollingsworth (DC Comics)

The Return of the Joker

The Neo Joker was the second Harley Queen (a.k.a. Marian Drews) Joker employed, so when he cleaned up and rekindled his romance with Harleen, Marian went mad and became this new villain. After helping stop her though, Napier started reverting back to his Joker persona. This led to a quick marriage in Arkham Asylum with Batman and Gordon as witnesses, but it's left unstated if Napier permanently went back to being the Clown Prince of Crime.
 

Credit: Sean Murphy/Matt Hollingsworth (DC Comics)

Batman later confronted Harleen about being the person who temporarily cured Joker through some mysterious pills, revealing that he knew she played both men against each other. However, he admitted Harleen's gamble worked out for the best as Gotham saw both him and Napier as a force for good. The thing is, when a concerned Batman asks her if Joker has returned permanently, she offers a vague smile and leaves without answering. As he's in Arkham surrounded, not just by Marian, but by so many of Batman's other rogues, there's a chance Joker will be in his element once more, ready to suppress any signs of Napier.

Arkham Asylum really isn't conducive to Napier's rehab in any case because he did use the inmates there as pawns in his war to demonize Batman in the public eye, so they would have just cause to take revenge on him. If a Batman: White Knight sequel were to happen, Murphy has leeway here to now craft something where Batman has to go into Arkham to rescue Napier from the monsters inside - especially as Marian would be trying to coax the clown back out. After all, there's a distinct possibility Harley will be looking to perfect her pills in order to cure Joker for good, and who better to help save her husband than his 'best friend,' the Bat.

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