What if the greatest villain in Gotham City was not The Joker, but the Batman? That question is at the core of the epic eight-part limited series BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT, which features the writing and art of Sean Murphy.

This limited-run Batman Black & White statue presents a highly detailed version of Murphy’s Joker, a nuanced, populist hero to the working men and women of Gotham. Trading his suit for streetwear, this Joker—known as Jack Napier in his moments of sanity—fights to end corruption and brutality from the city’s ruling class.

On his own or paired with the Batman Black & White: White Knight Batman, this Joker makes a great addition to any collection.

Limited Edition of 5,000

Measures Approximately 7″ Tall

$80.00 US

Review

It’s rare that a Joker design sneaks its way into the Batman Black & White series of statues, but when your visual style is as formidable as Sean Murphy’s, DC Collectibles makes an exception. I mean, come on, Joker is all about color! Draining the green from his hair and the purple from his garments would be doing the Clown Prince of Crime a disservice, right? Well, generally that would indeed be true, but the Joker this statue is based on wasn’t necessarily much of a peacock. So it works. See, the Joker we get in issue #1 of Murphy’s Batman: White Knight boasts a stripped-down look that doesn’t include Mr. J’s classic three-piece suit nor does his hair look all that green under the intense red lights that were almost as oppressive as The Dark Knight himself during an especially brutal confrontation that set the tone for the miniseries.

And if there’s one thing that translates well to the Black & White collection, it’s a gritty noir aesthetic, and that’s what Sean Murphy’s style is all about. Simply look at the page above and you’ll see that Murphy excels at drawing a dirty, grimy Gotham populated with rugged characters prone to moody moments of introspection as well as visceral action sequences– you know, the kind of stuff that resonates in a new and undeniably impactful way when you wash out the color. Even colors as stunning as those provided by Matt Hollingsworth.

Funny enough, however, this stripped down, garish Joker doesn’t actually get a whole lot of page-time in the limited series. No, instead, most of the book’s eight chapters are spent following a reformed, totally un-clownlike Joker who goes by the name Jack Napier. But a cleaned-up and level-headed Napier doesn’t make for a terribly exciting decorative piece for your shelf, does it? Of course not.

Like any other Batman: Black & White statue, this 7-inch figure sculpted by Karen Palinko and Ziggy Halfpepper comes in a sleek box (sans color, of course) that opens to thick Styrofoam clam shell trays. Cutting the trays apart reveals the two-piece statue: The Joker and the traditional oval-shaped Batman Black & White bat symbol base. Although, I’m sure Joker would have preferred a foundation featuring his own visage. For added stability, the Joker has a metal peg protruding from the bottom of his foot that fits snugly into a hole that’s been carved into the platform.

With the statue fully assembled (that wasn’t hard at all) we can now perform the quick glance test: glance at the statue for a split second and then look away. Can you identify the artist? Oh hell yes, you can. I’d know that scraggly degenerate and his almost punk rock attire anywhere. Just look at the side-by-side comparisons in the gallery above if you think me false! The resemblance to the variant cover of Batman: White Knight #2 is totally undeniable in my eyes. That’s a Sean Murphy piece, alright. And it’s not just the bold, inky lines that made the transition to 3D so well, it’s the fabulous paint job that even included subtle gray shading for the blood splatter on the pants. And don’t get me started on the added detail of the Batman action figure in one hand and the razor blade in the other! Those are the kinds of little touches that give an ordinary character statue the personality it needs to really stand out in your display.

I find that the sculpt itself is absolutely impeccable, but I do think that there is one thing that could ruin this for fans, and that’s the paint on the Joker’s face. Fine, delicate work is required for the Joker’s mouth and eyes, and I could totally see some figures in the limited 5,000 run featuring too much black on the teeth (creating the look of a missing tooth) or too much black on the eyes (making Mr. J appear cross-eyed). I do not notice those flaws on my own statue, but I recognize that the possibility of such a mistake is definitely possible. So when you purchase yours, make sure to take a close, scrutinizing look at the facial features before you throw away your receipt. As long as there are no quality control issues with this statue, I think it’s a rather flawless interpretation of Sean Murphy’s work.

Overall

Bloody trousers, a tattered t-shirt, and a blade in one hand and a Batman toy in the other. Yes, that’s the Joker I remember from issue #1 of Batman: White Knight, alright. And if you’re a big, big fan of that 8-issue mini-series, I think you’re going to absolutely love this piece. However, if you’re not a fan of the book and you’re simply seeking a monochromatic Joker to stand out in your Batman: Black & White collection like a wolf prowling among a flock of sheep… I don’t think this would necessarily be the Joker for you. That is, unless, your affinity for the Joker lies mostly in his vile qualities more than his playful unpredictability. A single look will tell you that this is a Joker who is more fond of inflicting pain than making anyone laugh, and if you’d rather lean toward a more balanced interpretation, you should probably seek out a statue with more classic features.

But truthfully, I think that the most likely individual to buy this would be a fan of the book and in that case I believe you’ll be totally satisfied, and I wholeheartedly endorse displaying this Joker alongside Murphy’s White Knight Batman. Look for the Joker to come to your local comic shop and online stores this June.


DISCLAIMER: Batman News received this collectible from the manufacturer for the purpose of review.


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