[Spoilers] My Thoughts on *Batman: White Knight* - A comic that embraces Liberal Capitalism while masquerading as an anti-capitalist critique

Submitted by PerfectSociety in comics

Batman: White Knight is a classic example of a recent trend in comics to try to co-opt radical political ideas and neuter them to be compatible with liberalism. It's arguably the most well-crafted attempt to do this that I have come across thus far. 90% of this storyline seems to be a genuine and unapologetic criticism of capitalism and liberalism - showing Batman's actions to have made a net negative impact on the lives of the poor and the marginalized, while showing that the rich have profited handsomely off of his seemingly inadequate, perverse, and antiquated sense of justice. The Batman Devastation Fund and related issues are arguably the most stinging and deep-cutting criticism of Bruce Wayne/Batman's MO of late. However, Bruce Wayne's plot armor protects him in the end by revealing that the Batman Devastation Fund was in fact funded entirely by Wayne Enterprises rather than tax revenue or municipal bonds! When this is revealed, the core of Jack Napier's moral argument against Batman - that he is effectively an agent of the wealthy whose actions cost Gotham citizens more than he gives them in return, and that he is responsible for the worsening economic situation of those who are poor or marginalized - crumbles to pieces. What follows is a realignment of Napier back into the role of the Joker and a withdrawal of any potential for serious critique of Batman as a character. Essentially, the central message of the comic boils down to the following: Sure the BDF enabled the wealthy to take advantage of Real Estate profiteering opportunities that actually did hurt the poor of Gotham City, but it wasn't Batman's fault because he compensated the people fully for whatever part of this process he caused. All that was left was for Bruce Wayne to smack some of the rich dudes that were involved in this Real Estate scheme (which he does in the comic - though as Bruce Wayne, not as Batman) and encourage the city government to amend the BDF law to prevent the rich from ruining housing opportunities for the poor. Nothing bad that happened was Batman's fault, those rich Gothamites got a good slap on their hands, and Batman never stole money from the people of Gotham because he paid for his damage. Yay, our favorite liberal superhero continues with his reputation untarnished!


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ziq wrote (edited )

Is this a one shot GN or an arch in the ongoing comics?


PerfectSociety wrote

Not a GN. It's a comic series that had its own run for a while. It was pretty successful actually and I really enjoyed reading most of it, but I hated the buzzkill revelation that actually none of the problems were Batman's fault.