Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where we’re celebrating the first issue of Batman: Curse of the White Knight (on sale tomorrow at fine comics retailers like us) by looking back at the original mini-series Batman: White Knight!
How’s It Different?
This is a Royale with Cheese story, where a whole bunch of little differences pile up until its significantly different.
What’s The Story?
Batman and The Joker have battled for years, but the Dark Knight has finally crossed a line: he force-fed the Joker an unidentified psychiatric medication, nearly choking him to death and almost certainly overdosing him, and he did so on camera. The now sane (and free, due to being mentally well enough to point out the flaws in a vigilante-enhanced police force) Jack Napier is now running for city council, representing one of Gotham’s poorest districts, in the hopes of being the White Knight the city deserves.
Best of Differences
- Batman’s more violent and less concerned with preventing collateral damage than his standard portrayal, having much in common with his portrayal in Tim Burton’s bat-flicks. That said, this is mostly achieved by down-grading him from Bat-God status (I.E, he’s not “just so good” that he drive like a maniac through a major city and throw explosives around without hurting civilians) and thinking through the financial consequences of his collateral damage.
- Both Pre- and Post-Flashpoint Harley Quinns show up, and in fact are two separate characters: Harleen Quinzel is Mr. J’s ex-psychiatrist girlfriend who leaves him when crosses the line by apparently murdering Jason Todd. Marian Drews is a scantily clad psychopath who linked up with The Joker when he robbed the bank she worked at and outright encourages his worst impulses, using him as an excuse to act on the impulses she should keep under control. The former returns to Jack Napier after he goes sane. The latter becomes Neo-Joker to work against Jack Napier’s campaign of civic improvement.
- It turns out that, in this universe, Jason Todd didn’t die. Right as The Joker was about to kill him, he asked Jason for his last words: “I wish I’d never met Bruce Wayne.” Taking pity on the kid, Joker let him go and simply never told anyone – Jason’s only believed to be dead because he chose not to tell Batman he was.
- The story ends with the Bat-Family officially joining forces with the GCPD as the Gotham Terrorism Oppression Unit (or GTO), a special unit of cops and costumed crimefighters using the Bat-Family’s advanced equipment. Other than the stupid name, it’s a cool concept.