Some of Capullo's best covers from Batman were from the Endgame arc. This is just one of them that will be featured on this list, and it's easy to understand why. It's dark, moody, and not your typical "superhero splash cover." This cover brilliantly captured the contrast of Batman and the Joker, played into the mystery surrounding the Joker at that time, and foreshadowed a shocking moment that would occur in the Endgame arc.

Sometimes words simply are not enough. Experiencing it for yourself is the only way to truly grasp the scope and poignancy of something.  This is one of those times.  This was sooo good, it actually made me sad: at some point in the future, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are going to stop doing Batman stories!  Then what are we going to do….  I wouldn’t want to be the team that has to fill their shoes!

If you liked the unsettling atmosphere that Snyder created from last issue, then get ready for a heaping helping of more of the same.  Snyder manages to give the story an unrelenting momentum while Greg Capullo delivers visuals that are so unnerving that you almost don’t want to look.  In my opinion, these two deliver such an all encompassing experience, that it rivals the entertainment dominance long held by film.

Halfway through the story we get the inclusion of the most randomly arbitrary villain usage ever, and somehow it completely works.  Once again, words cannot describe just how impressed I am with Snyder’s abilities.   He uses a character that some would consider laughable and makes him legitimate and threatening.  Granted, he seems to be himself in name only, being a completely re-imagined version of the pre52 character, but nevertheless, a feat worthy of some praise.

Everyone always talks about how amazing Greg Capullo’s art is, and while I’m not going to disagree with that, I do want to point out an area that he is equally skilled in but not always praised for: his visual story telling.  There is a scene in which Batman is in an environment resembling a warehouse.  It is filled with all kinds of wooden packing crates and mixed throughout are a series of paintings.  As we are lead through the storage room, a story is being told by the paintings.  Two pages later, that same story is being explained through dialogue.  The funny thing was: I didn’t need the dialogue: the entire story was already laid out for me through the expert panel layouts of Capullo.

The scariest moment from this whole story comes when Batman informs his “guest star” that he has no plan.  Did Batman just say he has no plan?  And no contingency plan?  And no contingency plan for his contingency plan?  That is unheard of!  It really shows you just how much the Joker has Batman on the ropes, scrambling to catch up.  Joker’s assault is so relentless and brutal that, all Batman can do is barely keep up.  While that may have been the scariest moment for me, the creepiest moment was:

eyeIs he talking to me or Batman?  Yeah, I’m official weirded out!

Frequently, when I review a book, I mention how it reminds me of a previous story. And sometimes, I feel like there is nothing new or original out there to be done, it’s all just retellings of the tried and true.  Well, you can throw that feeling right out the window when reading this.  There is so much new and dangerous territory that Snyder is exploring in regards to the Joker that I am simultaneously afraid and euphoric.  Do I want ALL this crazy Joker stuff to be true, not really, but it is so exciting to see something fresh that I am pushing through my need to keep things familiar.  We are delving into unexplored territory here….this is history in the making.

For those of you not satisfied with this thoroughly mind blowing tale, you do get a backup by James Tynion IV.  But after Snyder’s opener, do we really need more?

Spoiler

  • How did the Joker know about Duke Thomas’ connection to Batman.  It seems that their run in, 6 years ago, was a highly isolated incident.  It’s not like Batman has hung out with the kid since then.  It’s too much of a coincidence that Joker would pick this one kid out of millions of Gothamites for his Crime Alley recreation.
  • Julia show up at Gordon’s apartment to tell him about the cellular rot caused by the virus because it is super important.  I agree, that is an important piece of information, but what exactly was wrong with her using the comm link to tell him that?
  • How is Gordon not dead?
  • That dude yelling, “But we love you Batman” and seeing those hoards of people chasing Batman through the streets.  Taken completely out of context mind you, it remind me of all the footage of girls going nuts over boy bands.
  • Last issue Batman gets help from Gordon over his comm, this time it is Dick Grayson.  While I love the fact that these two are getting some page time in this story, there doesn’t seem to be a reason that he actually needs to talk to them specifically.  I mean, it seems to me that the info he got from both Gordon and Grayson could have easily been relayed by Julia.  Not really a complaint, just an observation.
  • Batman keeps saying, “It has to be a trick” and “This can’t be real”.  Is Snyder trying to tell us something?

fist    Bat Fist Bump

owlOh…My…God…

  • Now that my complete and utter shock has worn off, I thought The Court of Owls had abandoned Gotham and Batman could find no trace of them.  Now he just goes back to the sewer labyrinth and there they are.  I better get an explanation next issue!

Interesting Facts:

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  • Paul Dekker (Crazy Quilt) first appeared in Boy Commandos #15 (1946).  A gunshot wound blinded him and he underwent experimental surgery to correct the problem.  He ended up being able to see, but only bright colors.  The experience drove him mad.  He ended up developing a helmet which blinded and confused others using bright colorful lights.  (On page 11 when they said Paul Dekker, I was surprised and was like, “No way, it can’t be him.”  Then on page 15 when I got a look at the blanket he was wrapped in, it wasn’t just a coincidence.)
  • Who are the Boy Commandos?  They first appeared in the backup story of Detective Comics #64 (1942).  This was during World War II.  They were developed so that kids could understand and integrate what was going on overseas.

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Recommended if…

  • You have a pulse.
  • You want your mental socks knocked off!
  • You want….hold on….is anyone here actually waiting to see what I have to say before you go and buy this book?  Seriously, is there someone out there that didn’t buy this already?  What are you doing?  Go buy it!

Overall:

As I read EndGame, I get the feeling that Scott Snyder is telling me the wickedest bedtime story in the history of forever.

SCORE: 9.5 / 10