Excuse me for a moment while I pick my brain up off the floor, it seems to have leaked out my ear because it could not contain the level of awesomeness that this comic displayed.  Seriously though, if this issue had been nothing more than an extension of the first 10 pages I would have been completely satisfied!  What are the first 10 pages about?  If you have read the last issue, or seen the cover of this issue for that matter, you know what I am talking about.  It’s Batman VS Superman!  The Scott Snyder version…not the Zack Snyder one.  Actually, in a way, I almost feel like Scott is intentionally trying to give Zack a little bit of friendly competition!  Scott has definitely set the bar pretty high in my opinion and if the movie doesn’t end up coming at least halfway to what we see here then I’m going to be pretty disappointed.  I can almost see Scott saying, “Now this is how you show a Batman VS Superman fight!”

One of the things that is great about the way Scott is showing the other heroes, is that they aren’t total pushovers.  Sometimes when you get stories like this you end up having your title character completely owning everybody else, and it makes the other characters look bad.  Here, even in defeat, the other heroes get to keep some dignity and we walk away knowing that if the circumstances had been shifted, even if only slightly, the other heroes actually would have been able to pull out a win over Batman.  It provided a much more believable experience compared to other ones I have seen served up before.  It is also a more rewarding experience, since you were actually worried for a moment that Batman would fail (The thought crossed my mind for a second.  I know, sacrilegious, right?).

What is so great about this fight?  It is completely ridiculous!…Ridiculously awesome!!!  Stuff gets melted, smashed, thrown, pulverized, and torn apart.  And of course, all of those words  illustrated by Greg Capullo look absolutely amazing.  Especially the melted stuff!  And you know with heat vision, there is going to be a ton of melted stuff all over the place! Yay!  I also loved how Capullo drew Superman.  I have always liked when Superman is drawn in shadows and then the reds of his eyes are over emphasized, it actually makes him look pretty bad ass, and a little creepy too.  Even more creepy with that crazy grin!

Superman

I think I just wet myself!

I would like to point out at least one visual misstep: here we have a shot of Julia, Alfred, and Bruce.  Bruce looks genuinely concerned, Alfred is completely aghast, while Julia…

Julia

Did I leave the iron on?

I jest, but what is that look?  She seems totally detached from the conversation going on here, just staring off into space. I’m nitpicking of course…but not seriously holding it against the issue or Mr Capullo (seriously have you seen that guy’s arms?… I would not want to make him angry), just throwing a little humor in here.

 Some of you are probably thinking, “Well Brandon, that sounds great!  Why didn’t you give this book a 9 like the last issue?”  Well let me tell you.  Later in the book we see several of the heroes resting in a “hospital”, the Flash being one of them.  At the end of the last book, Flash was laughing and wasn’t unconscious after his ordeal with Batman.  Then the first time we see him in this book he is unconscious in a bed.  Who beat the Flash?  What happened to him? I was expecting to see a resolution since he wasn’t totally taken out last time, but they completely gloss over this. Such a leap in logic is completely unacceptable to me for a book of this quality.  The scene gets even worse when Bruce discusses a virus that Joker injected Vic/Cyborg with.  Batman hasn’t fought Cyborg yet!  Why is Batman talking about a virus Cyborg has, when Batman has not yet fought with him, knocked him unconscious, and taken a sample of his blood like the others?!?!?!?  I feel like there is a whole comic, or at least a half of one, that got omitted somewhere when you factor in the Cyborg and Flash stuff.

There was another leap in logic that bothered me later in the story:  Batman is investigating the sunken remains of  Arkham Asylum to see if he can find some clue as to the Joker’s whereabouts in his old cell, when he runs into someone down there who offers to help him out with his investigation.  It felt really weird/off to me.    I was put off by the fact that Batman didn’t even bat an eye about somebody showing up with no explanation whatsoever, and with no protective gear typically worn in such an environment.  He didn’t even ask him what the hell he was doing down there.  He just says, “No thanks, I’m all good, carry on with whatever has brought you to this caved in hell hole, of which I am in no way the slightest bit curious about.”  Really?  REALLY?

One last nitpick:

Spoiler
   Batman beats Superman with Kryptonite.  Sorry, but I want something better than Kryptonite.  I was super excited to see the red dwarf sun stuff (even if I didn’t understand how he got them) since it was an original idea about how to take down Superman, but then he went and resorted to Kryptonite.  Granted he got to spit it in his face, but it was still Kryptonite.  

So, there you have it.  Fix those and you have an easy 9.5, but with them, I have no choice but to give it an 8.  Which is by no means bad, but when you consider that this issue was only held back from being damn near perfect by a few loose strings, it is unfortunate.

A quick nod to the backup, or as I’m going to call them, “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice” : I didn’t think it was as strong as the last one but still had a pretty disquieting moment nonetheless.  The Joker connection was slightly less prominent than last issue, seeming more like an origin story for one of the other inmates than a full-on Joker tale.  I also thought it was weird to see Graham Nolan again.  The Kelly Jones art from last issue looks just like his work from decades ago, but Nolan’s style seems to have changed a bit over the years and I would prefer to remember his stuff the way it was and not like this.

Spoiler

  • Hmm…the first page reminds us yet again that there is some kind of fear toxin thing that might end up being relevant, or might just be there to keep us second guessing every scene.  It didn’t seem as tied into the story as it was in the last issue, but placing it at the very front of the book made it a rather prominent feature.
  • Cassandra Strain?  Cassandra Cain?  I’m not sure what I am implying here, but what kind of person writing Batman comics would put that in their script and not expect someone to think something about it?
  • The Joker has a new “mug”.  I kind of hope we never get an answer as to how.  Kind of like how he always falls to his death at the end of stories only to return later with no explanation.  The unknown and unanswerable is kind of one of the Joker’s tenants.
  • I know that in the past the Joker has used a lot of pseudonyms, but that was the most unnecessary explanation of one I have ever seen.
  • Joker Zombies……..
  • I know flies have become synonymous with the Joker under Scott’s reign, but why?  I’m not complaining about it, I just want to know what the story is behind it.
  • The fact that 0801 codes “Ha” numerically within the alphabet, is actually really creepy to learn.  If Scott had been the one to give the Joker 0801, I wouldn’t  be quite so impressed since he would be responsible for the setup to his own reveal, but Scott didn’t designate 0801 as the Joker’s inmate number.  It was another writer.  Do you think Alan Moore did that intentionally?  Or is it really a happy accident that is only just being realized now?
  • Superman says, “Up, up, and away!”  HAHAhahaha!
  • Does anybody get how this Joker toxin works?  From some of the stuff Superman is saying, it seems like Joker is remote controlling him.  Then you have the realization from Batman that Superman always holds back, but this guy isn’t, so Superman isn’t in there fighting the effects of the drug, he is just going full force.  So if Superman isn’t mentally there, why is he calling Batman Bruce.  Or is that the Joker?!?!?!?

Interesting Facts:

  • For those of you who are unaware, Ray Palmer is The Atom.  He first appeared in Showcase #34 (1961).  His superpower allows him to shrink, and control his density and mass.  As far as the New52 version of the character is concerned I am in the dark.  If anyone would like to elaborate on how he might have assisted Batman in the little project he is credited with please let us know, for I, myself, am curious how exactly one does what is mentioned. 
    Spoiler
    I know Palmer has a white-dwarf star that gives him his powers, but how exactly does having one translate to knowing how to get more of them?

Recommended if…

  • You don’t want to wait 2 years to see Batman VS Superman!
  • You looovvvve the Joker!

Overall:

The second part of Endgame does not disappoint. Once again, Snyder and Capullo deliver a well-rounded and eye-popping extravaganza… oh, how I wish this was the inspiration for what I will see on screen in 2 years! While I had to dock a few points for a couple leaps in logic, the sections that earned it that score are a must read!  Don’t pass this book up!  You’ll be sorry……..hehehehehehe.

SCORE: 8/10