Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Greg Capullo
The next to last issue of Scott Snyder’s epic Joker tale: End Game not only plays homage to many classic Joker tropes, but takes Batman to some of the darkest places in the characters 75 plus year history. Perhaps even more shocking is Snyder’s willingness to hit Bruce Wayne closest to home in this issue. To the point that I would make the argument that Snyder’s current Joker story pushes the Batman character even further than the late Heath Ledger and Director Christopher Nolan’s version did in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Making this Joker arguably the most notorious and ruthless version in the history of Batman comics, especially from a psychological point of view.
Iconic Joker imagery is just as challenging as iconic Joker story telling and Capullo’s art matches Snyder’s take on the clown prince of crime beat for beat. The cover to Batman #39 will be remembered up there with laughing fish and Brian Boland’s camera equipped Joker from the Killing Joke for years to come. Imagery doesn’t get more powerful than one of the greatest antagonist of all-time resting on a throne of corpses.
The depths that Snyder’s Batman has had to take thus far in End Game seems to increase with every issue of this epic storyline. Leaving life long Bat fan’s to ponder just how much farther The Dark Knight will have to go to stop the mad clown this time. Not since Tim Burton’s 89 Batman film did I have the feeling that any mean’s necessary could apply to stopping the Joker. Which is the beauty of all great Batman and Joker stories: Just how far will the caped crusader be willing to push himself?
Often times Snyder’s desire to tighten his stories have cramped Capullo’s art during the duos New 52 run. While this and a certain panel that pays homage to Burton’s 89 Batman film a bit too much hinder the flow of the book, as well as the believability of Snyder’s Gotham. The set up for Batman Issue #40’s Endgame conclusion leaves the reader foaming at the mouth for what looks like the Bat battle to end all Bat battles.