White Knight Reframes Bruce Wayne’s Deadliest Enemy into His Best Sidekick

In the Batman Universe, there is always a hot debate over his best sidekick. It’s usually narrowed down to Dick Grayson/Nightwing because of their years together, while others think Tim Drake’s Robin elevated Bruce Wayne’s detective skills. Others believe his bond with his son, Damian, enriched both, although they rarely ended on happy notes.

Bruce did learn something from each of his partners, including the Batgirls, which allowed him to evolve. However, come Batman: Beyond the White Knight #2 (by Sean Gordon Murphy, Dave Stewart, and AndWorld Desig), things took a sneakier turn with Bruce’s deadliest enemy actually being turned into the picture-perfect companion for the field.

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The previous issue had Bruce breaking out of jail to stop the person wearing the Beyond suit. However, his new journey in Gotham was complicated when a dead Joker reappeared, hinting Bruce was hallucinating. It turned out, his mind wasn’t fractured, this Joker, or Jack Napier, was an AI the clown placed in Bruce’s mind.

Years ago in the White Knight world, when Joker knocked the Bat out, he put a microchip in him, ensuring he’d live on forever. How this chip was designed or how it got activated after Harley killed her beloved Jack in Curse of the White Knight remains a mystery. But what’s obvious is he’s following Bruce around, haunting him like a ghost only the vigilante can see and hear.

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Jack claimed to be friendly, evidenced by his hacking cameras and the overall grid of Neo-Gotham for Bruce’s benefit. It’s such a tech-driven city now, he’s basically an extension of the digital world, giving a reluctant Bruce access to the network to find anything and everything. So much so, when Dick arrived in his mech-suit and beat Bruce down for the GTO, Jack acquired intel and found a weak spot, allowing the ex-Bat to smash his former protégé.

Simply put, Jack can figure out anything in seconds. A resource that can help Bruce navigate the city or set traps, if need be. It’s a remix of two other Caped Crusader stories, the first being Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, where the clown placed a microchip in a young Tim. This rewrote Tim’s DNA when he got older, downloading the clown’s mind and turning him into Joker in a dark rebirth.

Thankfully, Bruce saved Tim, but this arc would be seen again in the Arkham games when Joker, who had the Titan disease, infected Bruce with his blood. This caused the Bat to hallucinate the clown, wrecking his mind even after Joker died. In the White Knight realm, Joker 2.0 wants to help Bruce make the city safe for his twins and Harley. But as the Dark Knight indicated, even in his old age, he’ll always be skeptical of Jack and Joker, even if they’re a hologram.

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