COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Batman #36

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Batman 36 Cover(383x590)

Batman #36: Endgame
Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, FCO Placencia
DC Comics
November 24th, 2014

Our story picks up at the nail biting conclusion of the previous issue wherein Endgame’s big bad is revealed through the emergence of a Jokerized Superman. As this issue’s cover would indicate, the Man of Steel is ready to pound Batman into a fine “bâtè”(get it?), but seeing as how that might put a damper on sales of the title for a while, I suspected that this confrontation would not truly develop beyond words. How wrong I was; Batman #36 treats readers to a pulse-pounding and immensely enjoyable confrontation between the two icons. Snyder and Capullo work well to keep that action intelligible by providing a solid interior monologue and crisp, clean art. What’s more, in a very meta moment, Snyder manages to answer the age old question of who would win in a fight ‘twixt the two in a way that is often ignored by fans, but likely the closest to the truth.

This battle, however, is only a segue into a much more shocking revelation. While the events of the story up to this point have given us a clear indication that the Joker has finally returned, what we have not been aware of is that he has been under our noses the entire time. Without revealing too much, the clown prince of crime has been very busy in the background of some ongoing Bat-titles. How so many of us missed this, despite one very awesome clue, is just a testament to the incredible work Snyder is doing on this title.

Batman Vs Superman(579x406)

In addition to this, one of the most interesting reveals in this issue comes in the form of redefining the relationship between Batman and the Joker. For as long as I can remember, this association has been so central to helping readers understand the inner-workings of both characters that it has achieved near Aristotelian levels of profundity in just about every circle where it is discussed in earnest. And while it may be too soon to say what this change actually means, we should take care not to rule out the idea that this latest plot is a canard of some sort, we have seen one dramatic shift that promises to raise the stakes in Gotham and beyond.

It is revealed that our Joker has shifted positions from a man dedicated to “helping” Batman to one who has grown bored with the vigilante and is simply looking to end him. The implication here is that the elimination of the Batman has never truly been a goal of the Joker’s (something that has typically been agreed upon by many writers and scholars) until after the events transpiring in a Death of the Family. Indeed, the issue does seem to give us a Joker who is ready to “slit the goat’s throat.” Make no mistake, however, there still appears to be bit of performance left in everyone’s favorite vaudevillian villain as it seems that old habits and, hopefully, old adversaries die hard.

Joker Reveal(489x507)

Our issue closes with a continuation of the short story the started in Batman #35. It is now very clear that this addendum will be tying in to the overall plot of the main story. From the looks of it, we will be getting some insight as to what the Joker was up to. It’s interesting as the reader’s situation will now somewhat parallel Batman’s current one. We will see the events leading to the culmination of the Joker’s plan, but we will be unable to do anything about it. Whether this is intentional, and I suspect it is given Snyder’s track record, or an organic and serendipitous consequence of the story, it is an outstanding development.

All in all, Batman 36: Endgame Part 2 is another great issue brought to us by the dynamic duo of Snyder and Capullo. From an exciting clash between Batman and Superman to a mind-blowing reveal over a year in the making, there is little not to like about this release. Go read it now!

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Bruno Bravo

An enthusiast of all things Batman, giant robot and whiskey; Bruno hopes to regale you with tales of wonder and provide you with marginally insightful reviews about "stuff." Follow this lovable ne'er-do-well on Twitter (a mysterious website that he has no idea how to use properly) at @BruBrave.

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