My Thoughts on Batman #40 – Ha (WARNING – SPOILERS)
“…The story of Batman is, and always will be, a TRAGEDY. Bruce would never have let it be anything else. Batman COULD live forever. He could escape. But he doesn’t. He DIES, just like every one of us, even though he doesn’t have to. That’s his flaw. But it’s also his greatest strength. The very thing that makes him immortal. He says, we’re in this together. He says, live bravely in the time you have and smile at the void. That’s why the note says what it does. Why it’s only one word. Why Batman’s last message is, and will always be…’Ha’.”
I was going back and forth in my head as to whether or not to do an official review of this comic or not. Finally, I decided to just give my own thoughts on the big game changer of the ending, mainly because I want others to read this comic, and because it’s the hot button subject. As you’ve no doubt gathered by the quote at the beginning, Bruce Wayne is believed to be dead, as is the Joker. Was the Joker immortal after all? Doesn’t look like it. There was a LOT of evidence suggesting he was, but I don’t think he was, meaning Snyder instead created a situation where it would be so easy to believe he is, but turned out he wasn’t. Also, I will say that it was a BRUTAL fight between Batman and Joker, and could very easily be the final battle between them, because I don’t see them topping this, and I’m not sure I want anyone to try with these two. And, assuming that Batman DID somehow manage to survive the fight, he’s lost his left eye, so either he’ll need an eye-patch or a cybernetic implant of some sort.
Now, let’s be honest, from one Batman fan to another. This is not the end of Bruce Wayne’s story. I am not eulogizing him like I did Damian. Why? Because it was actually kinda ambiguous as to whether Damian would be back or not. But Bruce Wayne, even if he’s really dead (and that actually wouldn’t shock me, all things considered), is not staying dead. Why? Because DC will never let that happen, regardless of if it would be a good or bad thing to bring him back. Bruce Wayne is DC Comics’ meal ticket, and they will not let him die and stay dead. Hell, there’s an interview with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo where they pretty much all but outright admit that Bruce will be back someday. Jim Gordon being Batman certainly will not last. That’s an idea you might wanna experiment with, maybe even do as an Elseworlds story, but there’s no way Jim fucking Gordon is gonna be Batman’s permanent replacement. Hell, Bruce is still in the Justice League books, for crying out loud! And I know DC is planning to have a looser continuity (meaning the editors have one less thing they’re actually SUPPOSED to do, and therefore have more time to interfere in storylines), but gimme a break!
So, all of that said, is this a bad comic? Hell no! This was great! Again, I don’t wanna tell ya too much, but the final battle between Batman and Joker was epic and brutal, and the rest of the book was pretty freaking awesome too. There’s one moment, and I can talk about this because it’s in the preview, where Batman and Bane do the frigging Fastball Special. THAT’S AWESOME! XD And, in the end, you gotta judge this book by its own merits, and ultimately, regardless of whether or not this all gets undone later on, right here and now, this was a GREAT final stand of Batman and his allies (and enemies, for that matter) against Gotham’s greatest nightmare.
So yes, this issue gets a thumbs up from me. What’s coming next…….ehh…Like I said, I’m sure it’ll be well-written, because it’s Scott Snyder. But it’s still not a premise I’m on board with. Now, with that said, I’ll still be posting links to the previews for the ensuing issues and showing my support, because Snyder and Capullo have earned that from me. And hey, just because this isn’t for me doesn’t mean that NO ONE should be giving it a chance, right? So, I guess for me, this is my exit (at least for now) from what remains, in my opinion, still the undisputed best book from the start of The New 52 all the way to its finish (because the official branding of The New 52, regardless of continuity, ends in June): Scott Snyder’s Batman.
And that’s Batman #40. Check in tomorrow, though, as I give the last DC related blog entry for one month (because May is gonna be all Marvel) with my 5 Favourite Moments From Scott Snyder’s Batman. Ja né!
Batman #40 Preview + My Thoughts On The New Batman Direction (WARNING – SPOILERS)
So, let’s get the Batman #40 preview out of the way first, because I got a lot to talk about afterward.
- The finale of “Endgame” is here! Batman risks everything against The Joker! Who will laugh last?
Now that that’s outta the way, I should probably clarify something I talked about this past Monday. If you haven’t heard, following the DC event Convergence, there’s gonna be a massive change to the Bat-related books. Long story short, Bruce Wayne is apparently being replaced by someone in a GCPD-owned Batman mech suit of sorts. And, according to information that was leaked from the Free Comic Book Day special, Divergence, the person replacing him is none other than the individual guessed and feared it would be: James Gordon, and for some reason, he’s apparently shaved off his mustache and has a mohawk. WHAT?! O_O
Okay, real talk: Of all the points where they could potentially do something like this with Jim Gordon, now is probably one of the better ones. Why? Because he’s not Gotham City Police Commissioner Gordon anymore. That position is now held by Maggie Sawyer. Why does that factor into this at all? Because otherwise, we’d have him as a stand-in for Batman AND be Commissioner. And let’s be honest, that’d be stupid as all hell. On top of that, this move could conceivably be where Jim finally finds out about Babs being Batgirl. And, again, of all times where he could find out “OMG, you’ve been a costumed vigilante this whole time and never told me?!”, this is the best time for it, because she can literally just look at him in the robo Batsuit and go “…Really?”
With all of that said, the question I’m sure everyone that reads my blog and has heard me go on and on about how much I love Scott Snyder’s Batman and how great it is, to the point where I’m sure I’ve made someone’s ear bleed, is probably “So, are you gonna be reading this?”…….No. No, I’m not gonna be reading this. Why? Because just because this is the best timing if you were to do this, that doesn’t mean you should do it at all. And while I’m sure it’ll be well written, because it IS Scott Snyder after all, it nonetheless is not a concept that clicks with me personally. And I don’t know whose idea this was, be it Snyder or DC higher-ups. Frankly, either way wouldn’t shock me. And I don’t want you to think that I’m some Bruce Wayne purist who can’t see anyone else in the cowl. I liked the idea of Dick Grayson standing in when he did, especially in his team-up with Damian as Robin. I liked the idea of Flashpoint universe Batman being Thomas Wayne (though not so much in Earth 2). And do I even need to bring up Terry McGinnis? But Jim Gordon? REALLY? I’d sooner read about Tim Drake as Batman, albeit probably not in the upcoming Batman Beyond book. But the point is, of all the people I can see as a potential replacement/stand-in as Batman for Bruce Wayne, Gordon’s near the bottom of the list.
So, yeah, as much as it pains me to do this, because Scott Snyder is still one of my favourite writers, I’m gonna be dropping Batman after next week’s issue. Will it be forever? Probably not, mainly because I don’t see this change lasting for too long. I give it a year tops. And y’know, it’s funny that this is happening, given my previous statements regarding the All-New, All-Different Avengers book, and how, when it came to this book, you could either get on board or get out of the way. Well, this is me saying I’m getting out of the way. That said, though, because Scott Snyder IS still one of my favourite writers, I will still be posting links to the exclusive previews for Batman, since I’m sure others might wish to remain on board with this new direction.
Anyway, those are my two cents on the matter. Lemme know what you think about all of this, and we’ll see how this pans out in the months to come. Ja né!
Thoughts On Batman #37 – Is The Joker Immortal?
…So, I’m sure you’ve all heard what happened in Batman #37 by now. If you didn’t, here’s the cliff-notes: The whole city is Jokerized, none of Batman’s cures for Joker venom work, investigation of a supposed haunted hospital turned up images going back a hundred years where the Joker’s face could be seen in the background, he reenacted the murder of the Waynes for Bruce to see with Duke Thomas’ family (Batman saved them, although they’ve since been Jokerized), Joker got shot through the heart by Jim Gordon and lived, and to top it all off, he then proceeded to call Batman ‘Bruce’. In other words, this was pretty much the holy shit issue.
So, aside from the fact that Joker apparently knows who Batman is now, and I’ll get to that in a bit, this issue raises one big question: Is The Joker immortal? I’ve thought about it a lot for the past 29 hours (bought it at 6 yesterday), and I’ve come to three possible explanations for what the hell is going on. They are as follows.
- The Joker is some kind of immortal evil that’s been haunting Gotham for at least a hundred years. Now, because we established in Zero Year that Joker falling in the vat of acid at Ace Chemicals is still canon, that must mean he’s not necessarily immortal but able to reincarnate, though is nonetheless difficult to kill. Again, he was shot through the heart.
- He’s somehow fucking with Batman’s head, making him THINK he’s immortal, just to make Batman feel like some insignificant figure before the almighty immortal evil that is himself. And while stuff like the photos and him surviving being shot are difficult to smoke and mirror, it’s not IMPOSSIBLE, not in the DC Universe.
- None of this is real. Think about it: This arc started with Batman recovering from an injection of Scarecrow’s fear toxins meant to make him see his end over and over, and that in every one, no matter how it differed, it always ended with a sort of mad, accusing laughter from Gotham, as if to say “Who did you think you were?” Well, look at what’s happened now: The Joker’s back, is fully ready to end him, and there’s seemingly nothing Bruce can do to stop him.
Now, of those three options, 2 and 3 seem to be the most likely, particularly the last one. Specifically, one thing that suggests that to be the case, on top of everything I just said, is the notion that Joker knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Now, again, it’s not IMPOSSIBLE. If he was REALLY willing to kill Batman and end their ‘relationship’, as he calls it, I could see it happening. However, here’s the problem, and kind of why no one does this: Once Joker knows who Batman is, that’s it. Game’s over. At that point, Batman has NO options left. He HAS to kill The Joker, because he is now far too dangerous to let go. He walks, and everyone close to him as both Batman and Bruce Wayne is now a target. Not to mention, Batman would officially be a liability to the Justice League, because Joker’s already proven he can get to them, but now he can get to them all the easier through Bruce. All he has to do is follow him to go meet them in their personal lives to find out who they are. And while Scott Snyder suggested there would be repercussions from the end of this story, somehow, I doubt he’d go THAT far… … …Well, okay, that DC Editorial would LET HIM go that far. lol
Anyway, lemme know what your own theories on the matter are, and we’ll see what happens in March. Ja né!
Batman #36 Review – Bourder (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)
This issue is once again great, but I have a couple of problems that I’ll address. It picks up right where we left off…more or less, since we actually start with a look at another possible death scenario for Bruce, care of the stuff Scarecrow put in his system. And again, is this something that happened in another book that I didn’t read, something that’s going to happen in Eternal, or just an off-panel event we never actually see? Regardless, the point is that, while the scenario is different in each of these visions, one thing that’s the same is the sound of cold, mocking laughter, coming from the city, asking Batman who or what he thought he was…Gosh, I wonder why you hear THAT, Bruce?
Anyway, snap back to reality, and Superman is still pummeling on Batman’s armoured suit, his ‘Super-buster’, if you will. Of course, seeing as how Batman can be INCREDIBLY paranoid, the suit’s armed with weapons meant specifically to take down Superman, with knuckles emitting red sunlight, and plasma shields meant to stop both heat vision and freeze breath. Unfortunately, he kinda failed to take into account that, because this is a suit meant to take on Superman, who generally has limits to what he’ll do, the best it can do against a Superman hell-bent on killing Bats is slow him down. So yeah, the suit gets trashed, but thankfully, Batman’s got one last trick up his sleeve: A gum-like substance laced with Kryptonite that he spits INTO HIS EYE. This seems to finally put Superman down long enough to get him and the rest of the League to A.R.G.U.S. for treating, but they’ll be out for nearly a week, meaning Joker is clearly planning something so big that Bruce would normally be forced to call on the team for help. And I suppose I should point out what bullshit it is that Batman managed to walk away with no lasting damage from fighting the Justice League, Superman in particular, but at least it wasn’t technically a victory. I’m sure that if the fight had continued, Superman probably would’ve killed Bruce. Also, God knows the ‘Super-buster’ (and yes, I’m going to continue to call it that) was probably worth a TON, and the chances of building another just like it aren’t great, so if something like this ever comes up again, Bruce is screwed.
After meeting up with Alfred and Julia, both of whom make it clear that they aren’t leaving Bruce to deal with this alone, Batman deduces that Joker must’ve gotten at the League when they were at a charity for the Gotham Children’s Hospital a month earlier, and that whatever he used was so slow and subtle working that none of them noticed until it was too late…and I kinda have to scratch my head at this point. No, not for the fact that the Joker venom was used on the Justice League, since we learn that different variations were used on each, and I can see how someone with enough knowledge of each member could pull this off. However, how could Joker know all of this? The only way he could pull it off is if he had access to the same information as Batman, but that would require hacking the cave computers, which would need knowing where to find them, which would then require knowing who Batman is, and we’ve already established that Joker doesn’t want to know who Batman is.
Eventually, Batman decides to check out Joker’s cell back at the ruined Arkham Asylum. Mr. Border, who’s been working at Arkham since Batman Annual #2 and has popped up here and there in story, shows up, saying that the patients at Arkham Manor are scared of Joker, and that he came to check the area out. Batman tells him he should really get back to his patients, at which point Border explains that, since arriving in Gotham, all he’s ever wanted was to help the Arkham inmates, the people of Gotham, and Batman most of all, but that none of them saw a helping hand…just as the door to Joker’s cell locks on Batman, and the cell starts to fill with gas. Turns out, Mr. Border is really more like Mr. Bourder, an obsolete word for ‘Jester’…and all I could hear while reading this for the first time was this little tune…
Yep, Border’s really Joker in disguise, using make-up, muscle relaxers, and even sporting a new face (Thank God). We see that Joker has infected most of the city as Batman is trapped in the cell, and that, as alluded to before, Joker didn’t exactly take the ending of Death of the Family all that well, and is now out to END Batman. And it’d be great dialogue…if it wasn’t more or less word for word what Scott Snyder said in an interview while explaining Joker’s motivations this story arc. Seriously, Scott, I love ya and all, but you REALLY shouldn’t be doing this. And I’m not the only person to notice, either. But yeah, Joker says that when Batman wakes up, he’ll find the whole city laughing at him, pulls out a BANG flag gun, shoots, and end of Part 2 of Endgame.
I don’t want anyone to think I didn’t enjoy this issue from my nitpicking, because I did, A LOT. I’m just pointing out that a few things either didn’t add up well, or have yet to, but it’s still early in the story, so who knows, maybe it’ll iron itself out later. I will say that the best part of this issue was the reveal that Border was really The Joker. Now, I’d seen a new shot of what Joker was supposed to look like online, particularly in his recent haircut, so when I saw Border in this issue and saw his hair, there was a split second where I thought to myself “…Wait a minute…”, but I didn’t really believe it, since I didn’t think it was possible…Yeah, turns out, VERY MUCH SO. And I gotta wonder, was Border ALWAYS supposed to be Joker in disguise? How long has Snyder been planning this? Were there clues I missed along the way? I can see him popping pills in Batman #34, which were probably those muscle relaxants he mentioned, and re-reading that scene knowing what I know now makes it absolutely CHILLING. And frankly, I seem to recall Joker once saying “How do you keep a secret from the World’s Greatest Detective? You stick it right in front of him, right under his long pointy nose, and wait.”
Speaking of, I think I speak for most when I say that I’m glad to see that Joker has a face again. Having him not have a face FOREVER just wouldn’t have worked. I’m curious as to how and when he got it, though. Clearly, he knows a REALLY good plastic surgeon…though I wonder how come this new face is also bleached white. But whatever, point is, despite some hiccups along the way, Endgame has proven to be really good, and I can’t wait to see what that insane, demented, side-show freak pulls out next…But enough about Scott Snyder, I wonder what Joker has planned? XD
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.
Batman Endgame and Superman Doomed #2 News – Just When You Think You Have The Answers, The Questions All Change
Soooooo, couple of noteworthy things on the horizon that I felt like bringing to everyone’s attention. First up, there is a story arc coming up in Scott Snyder’s Batman called Endgame. He’s kept his lips as tightly sealed as possible, and the covers for the next few issues have been a complete mystery…UNTIL NOW, when we got an early look at the cover for Batman #35, which is part one of Endgame.
Basically, based on this, a few preview sketches that have appeared on occasion, and some rumours that have been floating about, Endgame will feature a confrontation between Batman and the rest of the Justice League, or at least some sort of situation that puts them at odds or creates distrust among them. And considering that Batman has collected little boxes with items meant to exploit each of the team’s weaknesses, tricked them so that he could break into the Watchtower and take his Hellbat suit to go to Apokolips to save Damian, stood up for Lex Luthor joining the team, and is generally the most paranoid and distrustful member of the group, I can’t possibly imagine how they could EVER be at odds. lol I will say this much, though: Ever since I saw that variant cover for Justice League drawn by Greg Capullo, I’ve been wanting to see him draw the Justice League in a book for YEARS. And because Scott Snyder is writing this story, I know I can trust him to write a story about the Justice League and Batman being at odds and have the proper balance in place, as opposed to making Batman look so much better than them just because he’s Batman. I HATE that shit.
But yeah, that’s the second biggest news I’ve heard today. THE biggest was made apparent at the end of Superman Doomed #2, when Brainiac, and by extension, the readers, were shown THIS…
HOLY FUCK, THEY’RE STILL AROUND! O_O …Okay, naturally this raises a few questions. Basically, here’s what I think happened: Either the pre-New 52 Multiverse never actually disappeared and has continued to exist along with the New 52 Multiverse (which shouldn’t be possible, but then again, when has that ever stopped them from doing something insane before?), OR there’s a world in the New 52 Multiverse that is a condensed version of the DCU’s history before the reboot in September of 2011. Now, either one of these explanations is, of course, a major continuity mess in the making, is almost certainly going to get worse far before it gets better, and is a weak attempt by DC to have their cake and eat it too…and I can’t even be mad! LOOK AT THEM! It’s Superman in his red trunks! It’s the Justice Society of America! It’s Harley Quinn in her old costume! It’s the New Teen Titans, with Donna Troy and the REAL Starfire before she became whatever the frak she’s supposed to be in Red Hood And The Outlaws! Okay, there’s also stuff like Nightmare Batman and the Flashpoint versions of Aquaman and Wonder Woman, but c’mon, it’s the pre-New 52 universe! There’s a good chance we could see more stories told of that universe in the future! Although, I gotta wonder what’s different with Batman and Green Lantern, since their New 52 stories started by more or less picking up where their old continuity stories left off. I mean, we’ve since gone back to show some of the stuff that’s the same and different about the two continuities, but that aside, you can see a lot of what’s happened as the natural progression of those stories.
Anyway, leave your comments below what you think about all of this, if you think this will end well or BADLY, and we’ll see what comes of this. Ja né!