It’s been a while since I reviewed the Batman comic, but that doesn’t mean the level of quality has dropped. To the contrary, it’s as excellent as it ever was, if not better!
This week has the second part of the “Endgame” storyline continuing another great Joker tale, with a lot of revelations you won’t want to miss, believe me!
Oh, and the price returned to $3.99 this month as well, so good news all around!
Previously in BATMAN: The Dark Knight finds himself taking on his teammates from the Justice League, with an awful twist – The Joker has somehow turned them into his pawns. Can Batman stop Superman and his long-time nemesis as well?
Ever since the Joker lost “The Face,” otherwise known as the skin from his face way back in Detective Comics #1 when the New 52 began, it’s been a mystery to us, the readers, as to just where the Clown Prince of Crime disappeared to.
Well, this month we find out just what identity he’s taken on and how that’s helped him prepare for this go-round with Batman. It’s a good reveal, so I’d never spoil it here.
We also see that this story follows the weekly Batman: Eternal in that we see “Penny Two,” as Alfred’s daughter is code-named. Alfred is still trying to recover, and he doesn’t take kindly to the Joker’s repeated attempts to destroy “the family,” as he calls it.
It’s also revealed that Bruce has newer and more potent ways to take on Superman, which come in handy when the two lock horns.
As Batman’s nemesis, we see that the Joker has also been planning his revenge on the Dark Knight, also employing more effective means of countering any advantage Batman may have.
The issue ends in a chilling way, with the Joker apparently taking down Batman. But if Bruce knows what he’s doing, and he always does, the Dark Knight will be back again to continue this epic storyline next month.
The back-up story, written by James Tynion IV, is creepy to the max, with the Joker attempting to set himself up as a savior of sorts to potential disciples. He hasn’t been idle during the time when we haven’t seen him in the spotlight, that’s for sure!
THE WRITING CONTINUES TO SHINE
Both Snyder and Tynion keep the writing strong in this issue, with Snyder handling the “super” characters under the Joker’s control well. Tynion deals with unknown people and how the Joker has been working on them very strongly as well.
One of the things I’ve noticed about the Joker in the Snyder/Tynion era is that he brings a lot of emotions to the surface, and not always good ones! I’ve rarely seen Alfred get as angry as he was in this book, for example. An English butler calling someone a “bastard?” That’s not something we’ve seen very often. In Tynion’s chapter, a woman freaks out at the sight of a chip, prompting her to tell her story. Rough stuff all around!
And many more surprises! They’re so great that I won’t even hint about them!
Also, the pacing continues to flow powerfully, keeping us turning the pages anxiously. Well done!
THE ART WORKS WELL WITH THE SCRIPTING
I’m not sure I can come up with any new ways to describe how great Capullo/Miki’s art is. It just crackles with energy and mystery, augmenting the script perfectly, in my opinion.
The back-up story art is also very good, with Graham Nolan providing clear, easily understood art for Tynion’s scary story. His Joker more closely resembles the Neal Adams version, with a huge, V-shaped grin that opens into a wide laugh that now inspires terror in me. Yikes!
I also should have known, based on the art alone, which person was really the Joker. But the story and the visuals were so engaging, I missed it!
BOTTOM LINE: No Joking Around, This Book Excels!
I get asked occasionally just why Batman is one of the best-selling, if not THE top-selling book many months. This issue is a perfect example of why – strong story with powerful art. It doesn’t get any better than this.
If you haven’t been reading Batman, I seriously encourage you to dive in head-first! It’s storytelling at its finest in the comics format, and I’m recommending this title to you not just because I’m a fan of Batman, the writers and the artists. I’m saying you should pick it up because it’s the kind of comic you fall into, getting lost in the book until you reach that final page.
Don’t miss it! Oh, and I have to know just how the Joker gained the influence he did over the Justice League. How did he do that? I just gotta find out!