We have reached our halfway point in Sean Murphy’s BATMAN: BEYOND THE WHITE KNIGHT, and with it comes an intermission, of sorts. The creator brings in writer (and friend) Clay McCormick to deliver a story focusing on Jason Todd, aka Red Hood.
The timeline is current but also dips into the past. The book opens on an important (perhaps most important?) scene in this universe, and jumps around to set us up with the time period this story takes place. It’s present, but then past, to Jason being a drifter. He runs into Gan, dressed up like Robin, and calls herself “Robin”. The two, eventually, embark on a path of training to take down a villain who lives in her neighborhood.
I think this story, like all of Murphy’s WHITE KNIGHT books (and spinoffs), simply moves. It’s not bogged down by a ton of dialogue and feels like it’s constantly keeping us going. McCormick deserves all of the credit here, as I believe good writing creates good pacing. We’re on edge with the opening scene, and then follow Jason around and understand his thoughts and motivations. Sure, we don’t agree with all of them, but we empathize and are hooked. That’s good writing, and I look forward to the next issue (slated to come this month).
Simone Di Meo subs in for art duties and what a unique, original look he brings. I loved each panel and page he created. The opening scene was dark but glowing, creating such an unsettling and unpredictable atmosphere. Then we hop around between day and night, indoors and outdoors, action and standstill. All of it flows perfectly, and really got me invested in this new character. I’m unfamiliar with Di Meo’s art, but you bet I’ll be keeping my eye out for it now.
I really enjoyed this Red Hood tie-in, introducing us to a Carrie Kelley-like sidekick who is very genuine and likable. Jason feels true to form, and kept my interest throughout.
It’s a great chapter that ties into the Murphyverse, and comes recommended. – Ryan Lower