See all reviews of Batman (42)

For a story that started with Batman taking on a Joker toxin controlled Justice League and has evolved into a zombie outbreak these have been some wild three issues. The fourth is here and the buzz is saying it ties everything Scott Snyder has done together.

Is it good?


Batman #38 (DC Comics)


Last issue we discovered the Joker is somewhat indestructible. Odd, and at the same time possibly immortal as he popped up in some impossibly old photographs. Batman was on his way to help Jim Gordon as he was attacked by the Joker and to do so Batman had to cross Gotham citizens exposed to the Joker toxin. The toxin has made them smiling lunatics who attack anyone on sight. Since the Justice League have been put on ice to save their lives Batman is on his own for the most part.


He might have him but damn that might have broken some bones!

Scott Snyder writes a wordy issue here as we get a lot of information in regards to who Joker really is, though the info comes from a lunatic scientist. That said things are starting to make sense in the narrative, so maybe we should believe the lunatics now too. I won’t ruin it here, but let’s just say Joker is getting a facelift of sorts (no his face is back on in this series it’s an expression) and if the back story revealed in this issue is true he’s a lot more than some maniacal thug. It’s a captivating new element to the Joker character that instills in his very being the sense of the Joker seen in The Dark Knight film. Namely, he’s not just a man but a creator of chaos. His thumb is on the zeitgeist that is chaos for all time. Put another way he’s an agent of chaos on an omnipotent level.

The action tethers an info dump on mythical characters who live forever and how the Joker fits in and an opening that focuses on a block in Gotham. In hindsight, though the action is just okay and serves up Greg Capullo some fun scenes to draw, it serves as a reminder of how bad it has gotten in Gotham. There are Joker toxin citizens driving tanks for crying out loud! Essentially Batman is facing zombies who can think and act which is pretty darn scary. This chaos serves another purpose and that is how the cliffhanger to end the book takes you completely by surprise, but makes a heck of alot of sense. It’s going to get the fans talking that is for sure.


Compelling stuff.

Capullo continues to impress with very detailed and always interesting layouts. Something Capullo doesn’t get enough credit for is his ability to create context within a scene. He could draw amazing panel after panel, but when necessary a wide shot will be added to give the reader a sense of what Batman is facing. Sure he can make him look cool, but without this effect the drama would fall limp. In the heavier dialogued moments he keeps things interesting enough, with subtle additions to keep the reader guessing and wondering about the topics at hand too.

The issue comes with a backup as well with some great art by Sam Kieth. The story adds a layer to the Joker mythos, although I didn’t care for the narrative style. It’s told by a unreliable narrator who believes the government tried to create a Batman army. It’s very heavy on narration which makes things slow to get through.


Always dig Sam Kieth’s work.

Is It Good?

More is revealed about who the Joker really is and it all ends with a cliffhanger for the ages. Fans of Scott Snyder’s work cannot miss this issue!

Is It Good? Batman #38 Review
Mega reveals that everyone will be talking aboutVery interesting take on JokerArt is great as always
Boring backup storyA heavy dialogue moment, while interesting, slows things down
9Overall Score
Reader Rating 9 Votes
9.4
  • Toologist

    That ending was crazy indeed.

  • disappointed fan

    i love this series.
    but this issue was pretty boring! …….REALLY boring!

  • penguintruth

    My theory: Joker’s not REALLY immortal, he just absorbed the same fluid into his body that the Court of Owls used to use to keep its members alive before the current compound they use when he fell into that vat of chemicals that turned him into who he is now. The thing is, Joker actually ran with the clown theme. All those pictures? Members of the Court of Owls who had the same reaction to that compound as Joker did, but weren’t Joker.

    The compound DOES, however, allow the person who absorbed it into them the ability to recover from great injuries.

    • David Brooke

      My theory is the opposite of yours. Equally valid though. I’m thinking the Court of Owls have been spending centuries trying to mimic Joker, which would explain why their serum makes the Owls so messed up. They’ve nearly created something as good as Joker but it’s not so great.