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Prattling Panels: Batman: Endgame

Well this is my overview to the latest Scott Snyder Batman epic here on Prattling Panels.

MAJOR FUCKING SPOILERS!

Batman-39

Since the New 52, which on the majority doesn’t work and is a different topic for a different day, Scott Snyder’s run on Batman for the most part has been the most consistent book in terms of quality and actually keeping the same team on from issue #1. Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo have been putting on such a consistent wonder that it just keeps things so entertaining.

What I love about Endgame is what I love about the run. Its Snyder’s take on the mythology and history of Batman, choosing several different aspects that make themselves relevant for the story to come back to help tell this whole new story, even before the New 52, Snyder was doing this with his run on Detective Comics with Jock and Francseco Francavilla. Snyder takes history and gives it his own spin and does it well. He crafts something compelling. Also what I love is how vulnerable Batman is to him. Its far better than the Batman wants to sell, the mega, ultra, smartest badass ever who needs 50,000 mac trucks to bring him down. That’s a good Batman when done well, but that’s not my Batman as it seems, but its also a good reminder as to what works about Batman as a character is that he can be anything use readers and views want him to be. My Batman is personally the one realized by the DCAU, but Denny O’Neill and Scott Snyder’s Batman are interpretations that I absolutely love along with when Ed Brubaker took on Batman for a while. Even Brave and the Bold animated series is perfect.

Snyder understands that Batman is still human, but the ideal of Batman will forever be immortal, but not whoever is under the cowl themselves. He got that when writing Dick Grayson as Batman in Detective Comics. Batman may win at the end of each story in Snyder’s run, but he doesn’t exactly win. He loses something. The Court of Owls took away his thought that he could always better protect Gotham and that he was its savior, it made him doubt himself. Death of the Family broke the Batfamily, the trust is fully gone. Zero Year shows Bruce might never have that happy life Alfred imagined for him in it. Bruce needs Batman who is what Gotham needs.

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Now on to Endgame itself. It seemed to start off in repaired post Batman Eternal Gotham City with Snyder’s Batman vs. The Justice League, but the last few panels of #35 show they were all poisoned by The Joker. It was a greatly tense issue that had me o the edge of my seat as I kept reading it and then it all changed. Joker has unleashed some new super virus version of his Joker gas that seems to be more lethal than before. Snyder goes full force in his no-win situation for Batman. Every turn of a chance he seems to find, Joker’s there to squash it somehow and someway.

Originally meant to be the end of their run it reads like a greatest hits of the run by Snyder and Capullo with aspects of each major story of their run. During the story there seems to be a notion the Joker is immortal, he’s been a supernatural Pale Man of Gotham City for centuries when Gordon seems to notice something in this. Its a great little idea that would certainly add something new and creepy to the mythos of the Joker. Snyder certainly played with this idea and its where the Court of Owls came into play. Batman visited them to ask about the dionesium that the Court used to stay alive for all this time, but asks them and gets no straight answer out of them, but is attacked by Boone, a master assassin for them and I think this panel is how I say Joker isn’t immortal.

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Joker discovered this after Death of the Family, hell right at the tale end as it were, but also how Batman said Talons are trained to be truthful and Boone certainly is a Talon. Also when Batman confronted Crazy Quilt, yeah Snyder managed to bring him in on this, Joker sold Quilt on the idea he’s immortal to the point he took a vial of what he thought was the compound from his spine, but he immediately died. Joker’s crawling towards the pit and his desperateness showed he’s now used to this and wants to be forever. Also its one the most logical ways of knowing how Joker fully got his face back after having it cut off and such. That’s my view as this isn’t strictly fully answered in the final issue, which is both interesting and frustrating.

The book is full of so many great moments from the Joker’s elaborate plan in #37 to the teaming with the Rogues in #39 and the result of that in the final issue.

Which speaking of is great. I loved it from the get go from how prepared Batman is but also how unprepared he was in that final battle and man that final battle is brutal. As much as it is Snyder and Capullo’s book, Capullo’s art wouldn’t fully shine with out the inks of Danny Miki and the colors of FCO Pascencia. Its gorgeous in how violent and bloody it is. Batman tries to get the dionesium they need for the cure out but Joker blows the cave its in and they duke it out as it collapses around them. Multiple stabbings, lots of blood, and Batman gets a razor playing card to the eye. Its incredibly paced and drawn so well. It just goes and goes with no end in sight and what I love is how Batman keeps his hopes up, even mocking Joker and saying he believes he’s immortal and getting a weird apology out of him.

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The works about this issue are the themes or immortality and transcendence, how one lives on. Batman holding on to Joker as he drags his paralyzed self to the pit and Bruce’s letter to Alfred that simply read “HA” says volumes. Alfred and Batman knew that he wouldn’t be forever, that he was a mortal man and knew it was never gonna be a happy ending and was someone who laughed in the face of death. Speaking of Alfred, who is now missing one hand, is hopeful while still being distraught over the loss of his son.

That above panel is one of the best among #40 as Batman and Joker lay their in the collapsing cave before cutting to two weeks later which took us to the above mentioned scene. Open ended, but Batman isn’t dead, this is Snyder doing what happened with Bucky Barnes as Captain America and hen Superior Spider-Man, this is his take and you know I’m glad Snyder stays on. I was hesitant about post-Endgame Batman but seeing the direction Snyder seems to be setting up has me excited to see and I think only he and Capullo could quite the world of Gotham through this change of theirs. They must make this happen.

The panel also shows that Batman doesn’t win, but Joker doesn’t win either. In that moment Batman wants to save Gotham, be it him getting out alive or not. Its not about him, its about protecting his home and if Batman does that, that is his win. Batman’s vulnerability once again comes from Gotham being attacked, but more so than the Court did, Joker went right after the heart and the way Snyder brings out the intensity of Batman and Joker in all of their interactions be it dialogue or action is intensely great. Their scenes are so instantly memorable no matter the storyline be it here or in Death of the Family.

Endgame is all about the end essentially, but yet its also about beginning for this chapter on Snyder’s era of Batman closes to starts a new one. I will say personally Endgame is a step up from Zero Year which I felt is his weakest point in writing Batman as it went on far longer that it should have, but was still a good read none the less. If this is what they planned originally for their final issue, I really can’t wait to see when they truly do end their time on the book.

Batman: Endgame is instantly memorable and keeps staying that way throughout the whole story. I imagine this is gonna read so good in trade when it comes out in July. I think honestly is one of the better Batman stories going on in the long history of the character be it in this New 52 timeline or Pre-Crisis or Red Son, in any timeline of DC Comics, this will be one of the golden books for it.

GRADE: A

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