Batman #40 (DC Comics)
Like any issue of Batman, issue 40 has a ton of hype around it. However, what makes this issue of the Dark Knight’s adventures stand out over other issues by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo is the fact that this is the finale of the “Endgame”, the massive story arc involving the alleged final battle between Batman and his arch-nemesis The Joker. Now that the final part of the storyline has finally hit shelves, it’s time to delve deep into the issue and see if this is the final battle of The Dark Knight and The Clown Prince of Crime.
As the Joker launches his final march into Gotham, Batman has secretly found the location of the Dionesium chemical that may have given the Joker his ability to heal. Unfortunately for the Dark Knight, the chemical is located in a natural pool deep below Gotham, and after The Joker realizes that Batman is looking for the pools, he’s confronted by the Clown Prince of Crime, and the two throw down in one of the craziest fights in Batman history.
I’ll say this, if this does end up being the final battle between Batman and The Joker, then Scott Snyder certainly brings his all to this issue. Yes, you get an answer regarding the Joker’s “immortality”, and it ties into the previous “Death of The Family” storyline perfectly. Joker’s out for blood, and this issue brings the bloodiest, most brutal, and epic fight the two foes have ever had.
But the battle between Batman and Joker ends up being about more than just two guys punching each other in the face. Snyder’s script delves deep into the relationship of these two characters, and he gives Joker and Batman some pretty amazing monologues about how they view each other. At this point it’s redundant to mention the differences between Batman and the Joker, but Snyder does it in such a creative and surprising way that this issue makes you think back on their other confrontations in a whole new light.
Adding to this breathtaking confrontation is Greg Capullo’s artwork. Look, I know I’ve gone on record praising Capullo’s work repeatedly, but holy crap, he’s incredible. Under the pencils of Capullo you feel every punch, stab, and burn that the Joker and Batman get. Batman has been a major showcase for Greg Capullo’s work in the past, but this issue is definitely the best example of his prowess with a pencil.
The word “epic” gets thrown around too much this days, but it’s really the only word I can use to describe Batman #40. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo wrap up the “Endgame” storyline in a huge way, and while we’re left with some questions, it leaves Gotham City in a very interesting place. As strange as the upcoming storyline will be when Batman returns in June, Snyder and Capullo have earned my trust, and I can’t wait to see where they take Batman next (make sure to pick up the upcoming DC Comics: Divergence issue on Free Comic Book Day to get a taste). Take bow gents, you’ve earned it.