He’s baaaaack! With a true tragedy planned out the latest story arch deals with the theme of Men vs. Myth. Who is the Joker really? The Pale Man? What about the Batman? What will become of him? We all know the Joker’s laugh, but will the tables turn and will we all end up laughing at the Batman?
Snyder has a way of making Batman so incredibly mortal yet displaying such “super” abilities. Batman always has a plan, he always is one step ahead, and always has the solution. This time? There is no plan. What happens when Batman is a step behind?
What does Batman fear? We know he’s not scared of death but what if his entire life’s work meant nothing? What becomes of that sound he hears in his head when he is close to death? The sound of the city mocking him. What happens at the end of Batman?
The Joker plans an attack on Gotham, hoping that at this end — everyone will be laughing at Batman. His airborne toxin has taken over Gotham. This toxin is transmitted by laughter, creating absolute chaos. There is no cure, only an inch of hope, finding this mythological substance “Dionesium” or Gotham’s citizens and Batman’s friends and foes will laugh themselves to death. The trick? The last of it is in Joker’s bloodstream.
Jim Gordon researches about Gotham Presbyterian and finds a shocking history of the Joker. He has been here since Gotham was built. Is this a myth? A really good trick? Are the photos doctored? Is he immortal? So many twists and turns, leaving me gasping and incredibly consumed by the story. Batman teams up with unlikely characters to try and take down the Clown Prince, and with each page I turn, I am taken on another ride.
During the last gruesome battle, an eye and ear are lost, and both fall under a collapsing rock. It becomes clear that the Joker doesn’t have the immortality serum, and they both lay wounded under Gotham. Batman requests to be left to rest with his friend and for his team to focus on saving the city.
Later on, Alfred, who lost his hand, refuses to have his hand attached, because he doesn’t need to tend to Bruce anymore, thus clarifying the death of Batman.
There is no happy ending for the Batman, Bruce knows this, and we’ve known this. The story of Batman starts and ends as a tragedy. He will die just like the rest of us but that in return is actually his strength. He doesn’t fear death, he has always accepted that it’s coming. And that’s exactly what makes him “immortal.” What was important was to live in the time he had and “to smile at the void.” Batman’s last message to us, “HA.”
Favorite Tid-Bits / Things to Ponder:
This is definitely the story Snyder wanted tell in Death of the Family. I remember Snyder speaking about his writing process during the creation of Death of the Family, and how he was debating having the Joker take Alfred’s hand. I laughed a little when I saw that he did, and was happy he finally included it.
During the last battle between the Joker and the Bats, the Joker is showing agility like never before. I loved going back and forth in my head about whether or not it was the serum or the Joker had always been holding back. If wasn’t the serum, it comes right back to the true cat and mouse story. They cannot live without each other and will never actually kill each other. So they live and die together.
The League was infected. How did that happen? Although I love that while infected they don’t have the boundaries they would usually have, so it was cool to see them battle – without a care of the destruction they were causing.
The scene with Bruce and Alfred. True pals acknowledging that the city gets younger as they get older, and it will outlive them. I love seeing these panels showing the true friendship between the two.
Of course I just love Capullo’s work and I rave about it issue after issue. But doesn’t mean I should stop there. Some of my favorites? Ward of infected infants. Creepy. The side view of the gun pointed at the Joker with the flames surrounding them? Ugh. So GOOD. The parade of Batman’s trophies after the Joker steals them? EPIC. The Joker dancing with a corpse on top of the T-Rex. The entire ending battle sequence. I mean just look at the goriness of each wound! Also hands down to Plascencia, the colors are out of this world.
I’ve started acknowledging more and more the importance of letterers. Having the text flow and not stop in weird places is a huge deal in comics that often gets overlooked. We tend to notice when it’s shitty, but I want to start giving appreciation to when it’s done well and takes you a long the ride through the story without getting confused, or lost. It’s a really big deal! So props to all the letterers working on the various issues! Well done.