Batman #38 Review

Written by: Scott Snyder

Art by: Greg Capullo

Publisher: DC

Many fans and members of the entertainment industry have come out recently to state that everyone is tired of dark and gritty superheroes. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Endgame is as dark as they come. A story like this definitely fits this character. That tone might be overdone with other heroes, but it fits with this character. The darkness of Batman stories are what compel us to wonder how it will ultimately influence him and how a man can power through adversity.

Batman #38 picks up right after his escape from an attack at the hospital with a rescued child in tow. The citizen’s of Gotham are maddened by Joker’s laughing toxin blended in with the compulsion to kill Batman. As he searches for a way to protect the city, more is uncovered about the villain’s possible past.

Scott Snyder continues to add horror themes into his superhero work. The plot plays similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as everyone is after the protagonist because they share something internally foreign that he doesn’t . It creates a tense and unnerving atmosphere as we feel there’s no way out. It’s really impactful as for the first time, Batman doesn’t have a contingency plan. This brings a strong sense of severity rather than it feeling like just another Joker attack. The Joker is a character that is powerful because of the mystery surrounding him, and Snyder plays this up so well. We are given more about his past, but were not sure if it’s true or not. This question feeds into itself as the very nature of him having either this long history or him falsifying it  displays his insanity.

The shocking cliffhanger of last issue is quickly glossed over; barely getting a mention. It lessens the impact as the characters don’t seem to mind something that should be devastating. Snyder gives all his antagonists long operatic speeches. This works for some characters, but certainly not all. It gets tiring, and seems like filler. We don’t need to read a monologue, that’s a fifth of the story for a character we’ve just been introduced to.

Greg Capullo continues to aid Snyder in his nightmarish depiction of Gotham City. Showing Batman soaked in the shadows and contrasting that with the bloodthirsty activity of the citizens on the street presents a strong sense of madness. It’s hard to know what to focus on the ground presenting his influence is all over. The expressions of those affected by the toxin are what standout most. Their grins are creepy, but their eyes are piercingly haunting.

Batman #38 provides a strong blend of horror and mystery. It leaves the reader pondering how can our hero get out of this situation. Capullo’s visuals continue to match Snyder’s unnerving script. The antagonist may be too expository for an excessive chunk of the page count, but that’s a small blemish in a great issue.