Thursday, May 7, 2015

Batman#40: The End of the Endgame

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo think big. 

As the principal writer and artist of Batman since the DC relaunch back in September 2011, Scott and Greg's approach to both Batman and his Gotham City has been to think big, go big! 

Right out of the gate, the momentous Court of Owls storyline upended our perceptions of Batman and the city he has sworn to protect. 

Death of the Family, while flawed, still dared to present a Joker who is completely 100% unhinged and the impact that had on Batman and his "family".

Zero Year, taking place in the formative time of Batman's beginnings as the protector of Gotham, explores the mindset of Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon as they come to grips with just how they're going to save this city. In Zero Year, we see crazies coming out of the Gotham woodwork even before Bruce ever decides, "Yes, I shall become a bat."  

Now in Endgame, an epic that could be called apocalyptic 
with almost no sense of exaggeration, Batman and the Joker face off for the may well be the final time. Yeah, I know, these are comic books and characters are only as dead as a writer or editor wishes them to be dead. But such is the power of the work of Snyder and Capullo that Endgame reads like a sort of Bat-Ragnarok (Batnarok?) that comes to a close with a harsh, cold finality. 

As positively off the rails the Joker was in Death Of the Family, the Endgame saga gives us a Joker who manages to been even more of a nightmare than ever before. In Endgame, the Joker is at the peak of his powers (Wait, does the Joker have powers? Wouldn't you like to know!) playing out a long game where the cards are stacked in his favor. 

And the Joker has one particularly nasty card in that stacked deck: he knows Batman is Bruce Wayne.  

Uh oh. 

So the trump is sounded and the Batman's troops take to the field of battle against the zombiefied citizens of Gotham while down below, deep down below, burrowing deeper into the pits of their personal hells, Batman and the Joker grapple with a terrible savagery. Greg Capullo with inker Danny Miki and colorist FCO Plascencia create an unparalleled tapestry of blood and broken bones next to heroic deeds and sacrifices both heroic and terrible. 

And Scott Snyder remains one of my all time favorites Bat Writers. Snyder's stories make you pay attention, to challenge what you see and read, to broaden what you think is possible in a Batman story, 

When a character has been around over 75 years, its hard to imagine reading Batman and thinking, "Well, I've never seen that before." But that's what Snyder and Capullo have been serving up on consistent basis. 

Now there's a new Batman, an armored avenger with a most unusual choice to carry on the mantle of the Bat as we saw in this week's FCBD Divergence. Think of who in Gotham could be the Batman. Then think again.  

Thanks for coming by. Comic Book Week continues tomorrow with a review of Multiversity#2.

Until next time, be good to one another. 

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