Rating: 5/5 – A Defining Issue for the Batman/Joker Relationship.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Batman number forty concludes the Endgame storyline in grand fashion. From the cover alone we get the reference that the struggle between Batman and the Joker is more than just the caped crusader against the clown prince of crime. The image hints at an eternal conflict that seems almost religious and mythical. Those themes carry over into this issue as we see Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s take on the final battle between these two enduring characters. It’s an issue that whether you’re a fan of or not, will go down as one of the most memorable fights between Batman and the Joker, and in a sense can truly serve as an Endgame to their historic relationship.
It’s tough to go into details of this issue without spoiling it, but Batman continues to look for a cure to save the people of Gotham that have been “Jokerized”. That leads Batman to not only enlist the help of the Bat-Family, but also his villains as the consequences of Joker’s actions are just that dire. It felt a bit weird seeing Batman teaming up with Bane, Poison Ivy and more, but it did allow some wonderful action scenes including a Batman/Bane version of the “fastball special”. It all leads to a ten-page battle between Batman and the Joker that has so many memorable moments that it’s tough to choose a favorite. It’s brutal, tragic and to a certain degree poetic. It addresses the question of the Joker’s immortality that arose in previous issues and created controversy amongst Batman fans, and in doing so gets to the essence of just how Batman fits into a world filled with gods.
What more can you say about Capullo’s art that hasn’t been said already? The Joker is downright terrifying throughout this issue. Capullo is able to perfectly convey the Joker’s madness, so much so because of the look in his eyes. It’s not so much the clown face and green hair although that has a lot to do with it, but Capullo is able to convey so much in the the way his eyes look from panel to panel that you can’t help but notice the wide range of emotion, feeling and terror. The battle scene mentioned above is choreographed to perfection and where Capullo chooses to put the viewer makes for a unique perspective each and every time.
Batman number forty delivers an ending that will be talked about for years to come as it truly defines the relationship not only between these two mythical characters, but also the relationship of Snyder and Capullo and their work on this series. While this issue sets the stage for an all new Batman that’s been spoiled for months now, the impact and weight of this issue will bring you back to this storyline for multiple re-reads. This is a defining issue in what’s been a defining take on the character. It should not be missed.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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