Monday, June 1, 2015

Batman #36

Endgame Part Two

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 gives us a rather haunting, and pretty cool image of Superman infected with Joker toxin. The best part is the judicious use of color. By only showing the red, Superman's creepy eyes and the blood on his chin and hands are dramatically emphasized.

We pick up right where we left off last time, with the Joker-infected Superman attacking Batman in an opera house. Since the Dark Knight can't reason with the Man of Steel in this state, he enacts his anti-Superman protocol of his suit — a fist filled with microscopic red suns, curtesy of Ray Palmer. Batman lands a few good punches with this fist, but Superman soon retreats to the street. Batman's suit has built-in plasma shields to deflect Superman's heat vision, so Superman brings down the entire building behind Batman.

This damages the suit to the point where Superman is able to destroy the red suns, and lift the whole thing up high into the sky. Superman tears apart the suit, leaving Batman exposed. He tells Batman that Joker wants him to beg, but Batman responds by spitting "kryptonite gum" into Superman's eye. This finally takes Superman down, and the two heroes fall into the ocean.

Later, Batman is able to take Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman to A.R.G.U.S. headquarters to recover. He's learned that Joker individuated his toxin for each Justice League member — using magnetized filaments for the Flash. But Batman has administered each of them an antitoxin of his own making, and he estimates they'll recover in four to five days.

Batman then realizes that Joker was able to infect these heroes when they were at a charity event at Gotham Children's Hospital last month. He then is kind of captured by the Joker, but the Flash's involvement in this storyline has come to an end, so I'll just leave it at that. The backup story, "Saved," presents another psychotic alternate to Joker's origin, but once again, no Flash.

The Good:

After last issue, I was demanding to know how Joker was able to infect four of the most powerful heroes on Earth. In this issue, my demand was met, although it wasn't quite as satisfying as I would have liked. At least Batman briefly mentioned how Flash's toxin worked, but he didn't say a word about any others' — except for Cyborg's, and he wasn't even in these two issues. It's just a little disappointing with how meticulously everything was explained last issue to have everything just casually mentioned in throw-away lines.

The Bad:

Little to no Flash. For a while, I was convinced the Flash wasn't even in this issue, until I took a closer look at the panel above. Yep, that is a super closeup on the Flash's Joker smile, and that's all we see of him. I would have liked a better view. I also would have liked to see exactly how Batman got Flash and the others to A.R.G.U.S. in the first place, especially since I didn't think Flash was that injured last issue. I guess we have to assume the Joker's toxin went into overdrive, rendering the heroes pretty much useless at the end. But I will not accept the notion that it'll take the Flash five days to recover from this — magnetized filaments or not.

Final score: 4 out of 10

Next time, we'll return to the main series with The Flash #31.

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