Batman #35 Review – Hahnium (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)
So, this book is kind of a mixed bag for me. Overall, I enjoyed it, and damned if the ending didn’t have me thinking “Pants to be darkened”, but it kinda perpetuates something that has been irritating me in recent years…but I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself. First off, I should note that this takes place after the events of Batman Eternal. As such, things have changed quite a bit. Bruce, Alfred, and Julia are hiding out in a new base, which just happens to be the Court of Owls’ old nest on the 13th floor of Old Wayne Tower. I mean, hey, if they’re not gonna use it, right? lol Besides, operating out of the Batcave is pretty much impossible with the events of Arkham Manor, wherein Wayne Manor is converted into a place for several of Arkham’s inhabitants, and it’s questionable if the cave even still exists at this point. That said, PLEASE tell me that, with him operating out of an old Court of Owls hideout, that he’s gonna be working with Calvin Rose and Strix later. I’m DYING to see them play a role in future Batman stories. Also, I do love how this book spoils SOME of what’s happened post-Eternal, but not ALL of it, nor does it elaborate on the situation going on with Robin and whether Damian will be returning or if we’ll be seeing someone new take up the mantle of Boy (or Girl) Wonder.
At any rate, Bruce is getting over a recent bout with the Scarecrow that has caused him to see the supposed end of his life over and over (and further hints at important involvement down the road by Harper Row and Duke Thomas), and is talking with Julia about what a great job she’s been doing while Alfred is recovering, but the nice moment doesn’t last long before freaking WONDER WOMAN comes crashing through the window (and yeah, this base has windows, just roll with it). While Bruce is capable of getting out of her grasp with some gadgets he keeps on him, he knows he’s royally screwed, as for whatever reason, Wonder Woman is trying to kill him. So, he has Alfred set off some gas meant to scare people away, thus evacuating the part of the city they’re in. Also, Bruce has a specialized Bat armour in the underground bunker for a situation he’s been hoping he wouldn’t find himself in: Fighting the Justice League. And right here, we have my problem: Batman proceeds to bring down, even if only temporarily, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Aquaman, and he apparently has methods built into this armour that could disable Cyborg and Green Lantern if necessary. Y’know, this wouldn’t be AS big a deal if we saw the other members of the League being forced into situations where they have to defend themselves against their team-mates, but when we see that it’s constantly Batman that has a leg up on them, it’s just ANNOYING. Granted, though, we do see him mentally taking note of the fact that their movements aren’t nearly as fast as they could be, so they aren’t at their best in this fight, but it’s still three-on-one here.
Anyway, after disabling Aquaman, he knows someone else is coming, and while he has contingencies built into the suit for Cyborg and Green Lantern (why is Hal still considered a member? He left the League two years ago), less so for who actually shows up: Superman. I guess either he neglected to pack Kryptonite into the suit, or he just doesn’t have enough to make much of a difference. Regardless, Supes hits Batman for massive damage, and Bruce tries to get through to Clark, trying to find out who is making them do this (since, as I noted, they aren’t going quite as hard and fast as they could be, meaning they’re trying to hold themselves back). Superman tells him it’s a funny thing, and Batman realizes to his horror what has happened just before Superman breaks out into insane laughter: After all this time, the Joker is back, and he’s found a way to take control of the Justice League.
So, I think I’m getting the whole ‘Endgame’ title. Unless I’m missing something or am simply way off, this is Joker’s Endgame. His previous endeavour to split Batman from his circle of allies ended in failure, and Joker, feeling betrayed, defeated, and humiliated, is now out for blood. And apparently, if we’re to believe an interview Scott Snyder had with Newsarama, the Justice League is just the START of what Joker has planned. Now, I could ask how the hell Joker got control of the entire Justice League, but I won’t, at least not yet. I’ll give Snyder a chance to explain it. Let’s just hope things are a bit more thought-out then some of the impossible crap we saw Joker pull off last time. And I suppose I could complain that we now have ANOTHER Joker story right after Zero Year, and I seem to recall suggesting against such on a forum once, but I can’t argue that this is really well done. Also, the fact that it doesn’t hint at Joker’s presence at all until the very end, when it hits you right when you’re least suspecting it, is executed so perfectly that all you can think is “Oh shit, this just got real in a hurry”.
One other thing I gotta say about this comic: Ever since I saw that cover that Greg Capullo did for Justice League years ago, I’ve been dying to see him draw them for real again someday. So, yeah, definitely loving this. I WAS gonna say that his Wonder Woman looked too menacing, but now that I’ve read the full comic and know what’s going on, I get that that’s kind of the point.
Overall, I think I would’ve preferred if we didn’t jump into a major story involving Joker right away. They could’ve done a short one or two part story involving the Circus of Strange, or perhaps this incident with Scarecrow that causes Batman to have these visions of his end (assuming it isn’t told in another book), something to help establish this new status quo we’re finding ourselves in. Still, I can’t argue that this story has me on the edge of my seat, excited to see how the hell Batman manages to get through this one, and what the hell Joker could possibly have planned AFTER the Justice League. Just woulda liked it even more if it wasn’t done so quickly.
Posted on October 8, 2014, in Comic Books, What I Bought Today and tagged 75 Years of Batman, Aquaman, Batman, Batman Endgame, Court of Owls, Cyborg, DC Comics, Gotham, Green Lantern, Greg Capullo, Hahnium, Justice League, New 52, Scott Snyder, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.