Endgame Part One
Writer Scott Snyder
Penciller Greg Capullo
Inker Danny Miki
Colorist FCO Plascencia
Letterer Steve Wands
Cover Capullo, Miki & Plascencia
Assistant Editor Matt Humphreys
Editor Mark Doyle
Batman created by Bob Kane
The cover shows us something I think we've always wanted to see — Batman taking on the entire Justice League. It's a really nice image, helped by Capullo's solid artwork and the simple grey background. However, Cyborg and Green Lantern do not appear in this issue, which is a major letdown.
Our story begins with a large chunk of Gotham City being evacuated by some sort of chemical attack. But on further analysis, the gas turns out to be harmless, leading a news crew to suspect that whoever launched the gas actually wanted to clear out space for an arena. And those reporters were exactly right, because right in the middle of this gas cloud is Batman, sitting in a gigantic suit of armor.
We find out that Bruce Wayne was suddenly attacked by Wonder Woman not too long ago. She announced that the Justice League is here with her to do something they've all wanted to do for a long time — kill Batman. Somehow, Batman was able to get away from her long enough to get into his suit and unleash the gas to clear out the civilians.
Now, the armored Batman is fighting Wonder Woman. He notices she's a bit slower than usual, but she's not pulling her punches. So Batman tries to respond with equal ferocity. But Wonder Woman gets the best of him, slicing off his hand with her sword, then shoving it right through his chest. Wonder Woman stands triumphantly over Batman's dying body, but then we realize that final blow only occurred inside Wonder Woman's head. Batman's suit was specifically designed to take down the Justice League, and for Wonder Woman, he acquired the "bind of veils," a rope that creates lies. It was created by Hephaestus in a moment of doubt, using an inverted version of the weave of the lasso of truth.
As soon as Wonder Woman stops fighting, Batman is hit by a red blur. He manages to shout out "run red" to activate his anti-Flash protocol before being taken down. Batman has put more money into this suit than 60 percent of the world's nations put into their militaries, and most of that money was spent developing servers fast enough to map the Flash's movements — assuming he wasn't at optimal speed.
As the Flash races toward Batman, his suit is able to fire a frictionless coating on the ground right in front of the Flash, causing him to trip and crash into a building, all before Batman even knows it. As soon as the Flash crashes, Aquaman attacks Batman from behind. But he is blasted by a purple foam that is made of the most absorbent material on Earth. Batman explains to Aquaman that the more he struggles, the more moisture it rips from his body.
Batman asks Aquaman who's behind this, but before he can answer, Superman swoops in and slams Batman into an opera house. Batman asks Superman who did this, and he responds by saying it's actually sort of funny. Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman and Superman begin laughing, as Batman finally realizes the Joker has taken over the Justice League.
There's also a backup story called The Paleman, in which several Arkham inmates trade stories about who and what the Joker really is. It's rather interesting, but it doesn't involve the Flash, so I'll skip it.
Great way to fight the Flash. I liked how Batman explained that it cost him billions and billions of dollars just to make something that would trip up the Flash, and then only if the Flash was somehow slowed down. It was a very logical, and satisfying way to handle the situation. Sometimes, Batman kind of becomes a "Batgod" with things like this. But in this case, I think the Flash's powers were fully respected, and Batman didn't look too omnipotent. In fact, I was quite happy with how Batman defeated Wonder Woman and Aquaman, as well.
Solid art. He only showed up in a couple of panels, but I absolutely loved the way the Flash was drawn by Capullo. I actually liked it a lot more than Brett Booth's Flash. If Capullo ever gets bored drawing Batman, I hope he moves over to The Flash, or even Justice League. Everything looked very good in this issue.
I'm going to need a solid explanation for how the Joker was able to infect Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman and Superman. Those are four of the most powerful people on the planet, who are basically impervious to just about everything. Of course, I don't expect this issue to explain that — I just hope I get a satisfactory explanation sometime down the line.
Final score: 7 out of 10
Next: He's baaaaaaaaack!