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Review: Batman #39

batmanAs an upside down batsignal lights up the Gotham skyline, “Endgame” opens with a monologue from Batman describing how he knows about a pact regarding each of his villains. In it, they agreed that upon Batman’s death they would shine an upside down signal into the sky, symbolizing a bat that is resting.


We then cut to four hours before the present as Batman emerges from the water inside the lair of the Court of Owls. Batman argues with the Court about the truth behind the Joker and whether he is immortal or not, stating that the substance mentioned by Paul Dekker is the same or at least similar to the compound used to resurrect their Talons. The Court however proves to be anything but helpful and state that they will be allowing Gotham to fall in order to create a new city from its ashes. As Batman destroys a giant model of this “new city” above his head, a Talon emerges from the water behind him and the two engage in battle. As they fight, Batman urges the Talon to tell him about the Joker…Batman reveals that this particular Talon (Uriah Boone) was the first Talon. Before we gain an answer the panel cuts away.


Back in the present, Batman can be seen wearing a gas mask and battling against several infected Gothamites. We then cut to three hours before present as Batman emerges from the sewers and contacts Julia Pennyworth who tells him of the rampant destruction and terror spreading across the city.


We then cut to the Joker who emerges from the waters of the Batcave, bloodied from getting past the caves underwater defenses. As he makes his way towards the Red Hood mask in a display case, Joker is suddenly nicked by a shotgun shell as Alfred steps out of the shadows. As Joker disappears, he mocks Alfred from the shadows…telling him that he knows all about his time in the theatre, his favorite part being when Alfred played The Fool in “King Lear.” As he continues to mock him, Joker steps from the shadows and SEVERS ALFRED’S HAND! As Joker regales in delight, he releases several bombs and a massive explosion can be seen from the exterior of the cave.


As we cut to Julia informing Batman that Alfred managed to crawl into the armory and is in a stable condition, she comments that Joker only took trophies and displays from the cave. Nearby, Duke Thomas points at something on a monitor to reveal that Joker is having a massive parade…complete with a giant T-Rex, Joker card throne, dancing skeletons in a tuxedo and dress, and some giant balloons. As Batman watches the sadistic sight, he realizes that Joker is taunting him to try and capture him in order to gain the antidote from his spinal fluid.


Cutting back to the present, Batman continues to fight the Jokerized citizens but we also see that Red Hood, Batgirl, Red Robin and Bluebird have joined in the fray. We then flash to one hour previous to the present where Batman has assembled his allies in order to get to the Joker and capture him. As Bluebird comments that Batman has brought a few too many gas masks, Batman reveals that several of the villains have agreed to join them in their fight…for if Gotham is destroyed they all go down with it. After some reservations from the other heroes, Killer Croc, Penguin, Scarecrow, Bane, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Clayface agree to ally themselves with Batman.


The issue closes with Joker laughing to himself as he watches the assembled heroes and villains fight their way towards him.


Who ever thought that a situation would become so dire that Batman would end up teaming with some of his most deadliest villains?! Well I guess the answer is “Endgame.”


As always, I cannot praise the writing or even the art enough. Scott Snyder has managed to create an extremely entertaining, thought provoking and at some times frustrating Batman comic. Not only do we get some awesome action against yet another Talon, and a mob of Joker victims but we also continue to deepen the mystery surrounding the Joker and his apparent immortality.


Above all else, who can forget the moment where JOKER SEVERED ALFRED’S HAND! And yes that needs to be capitalized. After taunting one of Batman’s staunchest allies, the Clown Prince surprises him and CUTS OFF HIS HAND! (Sorry I’ll stop). What repercussions will this have for the Bat Family? Maybe he’ll get some sort of robotic hand to replace it? Who knows, but I have a feeling that his won’t keep him down.


As this story winds down towards its conclusion, it seems that everything is on the line for the Dark Knight. He has become desperate enough to align himself with his worst enemies, and he has gathered the family in order to battle his way towards the Joker. Not only that, but he faces the potential reality that his worst enemy, his nemesis, could be immortal! This definitely can’t sit too well with our Caped Crusader and I am betting will have severe repercussions not matter the outcome. I am also still holding out a bit of hope that Dick Grayson makes some sort of appearance in “Endgame,” maybe he’ll arrive just in time to save Batman? Probably not, but it’s nice to think that the whole family could be reunited in this story…symbolically it would make sense that “Death of the Family” split them all apart, while “Endgame” brought them back together.


Because “Endgame” finishes up next month, I wanted to lock in some predictions of what I think is going to happen:


First off, I’ll start with what I want to happen:

  • Joker is revealed as having concocted the entire “immortal” perception…as always, Joker has somehow manipulated events and made Batman believe something that wasn’t true
  • I’d love for the Bat Family to finally come back together and use these events to stand stronger together
  • Lastly I would love to get some explanation on how Joker discovered so much intel on Batman…did we ever see how he found out that Bruce was Batman?


Next I’ll cover what I think will happen (this being different from what I want and simply going off facts):

  • Joker is revealed to be immortal. But that this is a recent occurrence rather than the long spanning history that he has concocted. I know it’s not what most fans want, or even what I want to happen…but I feel that this enormous change in Joker is for a reason. Being immortal and transcending the “Clown Prince of Crime” is something that makes the most sense in terms of Joker’s story.
  • As always, the Bat Family will find some reason to go their separate ways and continue to operate as individuals


Lastly, what I DON’T want to happen:

  • Pretty short, but this better not be a giant Scarecrow toxin dream sequence. We opened up this story with Batman within a nightmare and I REALLY hope that this hasn’t been occurring in his head the whole time. Don’t think this will actually happen, but it is a possibility…with a probability of .000001%


Overall this has been an excellent story and I am eagerly awaiting its conclusion next month.


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