This week Batman starts a story arc with an ominous title and an even more worrisome cover; countless questions arise. Why is Batman fighting the Justice League? Why would this arc possibly be called Endgame? Is it good?
Batman #35 (DC Comics)
Snyder opens this issue in classic Snyder form: A bit of narration, a bit of Gotham history and a surprising moment with little to no explanation. We’ve seen this in every issue since the first (remember the whole “Gotham is…” opener?) and it is a really effective way to get our blood pumping and our heads into the Batman mindset. There’s confusion, but at least it’s pleasing and leaves us curious: What’s going on? Who is Batman fighting? Why is he in a juggernaut suit?
After that bit of excitement and intrigue, we get to see how the story reached the moment in the intro. Here’s where things got a bit unpleasant. I am not as religious a Bat-Family follower as I used to be; I don’t read 90% of the books I used to that deal with characters related to Batman. Thus, I don’t know who a lot of these new characters are, a couple of who are referenced to or appear in this issue. This frustrates me a bit. As a regular Batman reader I don’t want to have to look up several characters in a Batman comic. There are two new side-kicks that appear in a dream sequence who I didn’t recognize and one who has an active role in a dialogue that I just didn’t know at all. I felt a bit of unnecessary and unpleasant confusion, very different than the pleasant confusion I experienced while reading the first few pages.
Now, if you’ve read the issue, and know what I’m referring to when I say, a fight ensues, you know that this wasn’t your typical Snyder-Capullo issue. In this issue, Batman fights off all the members of the Justice League in some clever ways, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. From the secret behind Wonder Woman’s lasso to an interesting passage about Superman’s omnipotence, everything about this comic’s main battle was fun to read. Snyder does a great job saying something with Batman’s narration instead of just prattling on telling us about what’s happening in the fight when we are already witnessing it ourselves.
The ending was a genuine shock to me, and I am really excited that the Joker’s back. And I am not just excited because I love the Joker and thought Snyder handled him masterfully the first time around way back in Death of the Family, but I am excited because the epilogue to this issue gave me great confidence that this story arc wasn’t just going to be a repeat of DotF. In fact, it looks like Endgame is shaping up to be the stark opposite of DotF. Here’s what I mean: In DotF Joker was real, and gritty. His nefarious schemes were all real-life crimes that affected real life people. He was insane, but it was clear he was a human too.
Now, in Endgame, the Joker’s back, but this time he isn’t human. His crimes aren’t just against real people. I mean, already he has infected the entire Justice League with some brainwashing formula! The Justice League! And in the epilogue the crazed Joker followers worship him and look up to him like he isn’t human, like something supernatural. They all have different concepts of him, and no one really knows which is the right one. It’s a haunting idea really. We have no idea what Joker is up to or what he’s capable of. All we know is that he is pissed at Batman, and he’s insane. Looks like we’re gearing up for one hell of a story!
Is It Good?
Yes. Batman #35 gave me so much promise for this arc and for Joker’s future as a character. I am thrilled to read the next issue!