writer: Scott Snyder / artist: Greg Capullo / DC Comics

So…Batman. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have sent us on a trippy ride through Gotham from a fresh perspective that changed the Batman mythos for better and for always. From creepy owl cults to the bone monsters….shining light in new (and some old) corners of Dark Knight’s origin. They even went and made the Riddler relevant again. And now we’ve come the end of our time with this epic teamup in the finale of Endgame.

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When Issue #40 starts off Bats and the “Family” are in a reluctant team up with some of Gotham’s biggest villains. This is a great way to lend to that notion of neighborhood spirit that Snyder loves to play with so much. After all, they seem to like living in Gotham, too, so it makes sense for them to earn their keep. Granted, I would have liked to see it play more with the cliffhanger effect they still had going from Issue #39, but it served its purpose for the most part. However, for all the talk of hometown pride and unity, the struggle between Batman and the Joker has always been a very private, personal one, so it’s good they didn’t stick too much to the whole “city full of laughing zombies” widescreen approach.

It doesn’t take long for the book to zoom in on comics’ greatest rivalry. Snyder’s scripting of the final battle adds gravitas and atmosphere, but Greg Capullo makes it truly shine. This is easily one of the most visceral, brutal slobberknockers between these two I have ever seen in comics. It’s obvious in every panel that, one way or another, these two have reached a fever pitch in their hatred of one another that shows no signs of cooling off until one or both of them is in the ground. Physically, the Joker has simply never been this terrifying in a match. His skills rise to meet those of Batman’s in way that makes this book fitting to basically be Snyder’s “The Last Joker Story.”

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Snyder also manages to answer some questions about the somewhat supernatural origin that brings his ultimate flaw back down into the realm of rational understanding where Batman can confront him and break him down to his basest parts. As the Joker’s strength starts to seemingly become knowing Batman’s city better than he does, Batman proves to know Joker himself better than he does. The resolution proves to not only be satisfyingly dramatic, but opens up a lot of doors for stories to come in the near and far future.

Bottom Line: This book did a lot right, but this nigh-legendary fight between Batman and the Joker alone makes the whole goddamned thing worth the price of admission. Truly amazing finale. 9.5 out of 10


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