Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Batman #36 Review (Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo)

Spoilers abound so beware! 

Well, he kept his word - Scott Snyder got DC to drop the price point from the ridiculous $4.99 to the just slightly overpriced $3.99 with Batman #36 aka Endgame Part 2. It means we get the 22 page Snyder/Greg Capullo story plus the 8 page backup by James Tynion IV and Graham Nolan. 30 pages of prime Batman for 4 bucks? Not bad in this day and age! 

We pick up in the middle of the Batman vs Jokerized Superman fight, the kind of battle that’ll have to do until the much anticipated Zack Snyder movie comes along (which’ll probably level Gotham now that Metropolis is destroyed!). 

Snyder’s put Batman in a giant Bat-themed Hulk buster-esque battlesuit with some insane toys (microscopic red suns in his gloves!!) to make mortal Bruce a match for god-like Clark. It’s an exciting fight that even has a whiff of Batman ‘66 about it with the over-the-top “kryptonite gum” that Batman somehow has stashed in his cowl and manages to get into his mouth just in the nick of time. Is there anything Batman isn’t prepared for?! 

So while Endgame has seen the Justice League “jokerized”, we’ve yet to see how Joker, the faceless Big Bad, will return to the fold. And it’s not a terrible return but it’s one that raises an eyebrow. The biggest question being, um, HOW did he get his face back? He literally cut the skin of his face off and then wore it as a grotesque Halloween mask for a while - and now we’re reintroduced to him with a brand new mug? Even with skin grafts, it wouldn’t look quite so realistic or malleable.

The surprise though is where Joker’s been since the end of Death of the Family. I guarantee you NO-ONE is going to guess where he’s been hiding all this time! The clues were there but, wow, what a convoluted answer. But that too raises questions, like huh?! and wha?! The reveal though does explain the backup stories, which are made up of former mental patients explaining their links to the Joker (and which I’m still not that interested in). 

Capullo’s artwork is majestic as he pulls off the kinetic and epic fight scene between Bats and Supes with aplomb before changing tack to a slower, moodier, more horror tone for the Batman/Joker scenes. He really is the best. And with those fish monsters on the first page - is that a nod to Snyder’s The Wake? 

Snyder/Capullo’s best Batman book is arguably Death of the Family and, while Endgame has so far been entertaining, it’s felt a little lightweight in comparison. With Death, Snyder had something to say about the Joker; with the character’s second go-around, Snyder hasn’t brought with him the same insight, perhaps because there’s none left. Instead we’re left with simply a good Batman/Joker story, albeit one with less depth than before. Regardless, Snyder writes a great Joker and Endgame continues to enthral with this second issue.

Batman #36

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