Advanced Review: Batman #40
There are tales in comics that truly reveal how the medium can transcend all others. These instances are swollen with theatrical imagery, drama and action sequences that exceed those of movie or television. Ones that put a microscope on the duality of heroism, eloquently portray the finality of man and grace us with inevitable quest for hope more than prose or poetry can. Tales that dazzle the senses with color and form, juxtaposition and layout more than any art museum could hope for.
Scott Snyder's Batman #40 is one of those tales.
The final chapter of "Endgame" is a stunning piece that will move readers. It is a cornucopia of themes, burrowing deeper into the mythos of Batman than Snyder has ever gone before. At moments you are careening down an unmanned roller coaster, a journey that will have you gasping for air then, suddenly, you are left completely breathless, hovering above it all not being able to believe where you are or how you came to be in this position. It is a story of life, the inevitability of death and the realization of who we are along the way.
I have often called Scott Snyder the "modern day master of horror," and I will again now. His portrayal of the Joker as a malevolent, undulating demigod of terror has become synonymous with horror on multiple levels and will surpass many incarnations from the past seventy-five years as THE Joker! But the fear in this book does not solely come from the Joker, it is deeper than that, even though Greg Capullo's renderings of the "clown prince" and his Cheshire grin will always scare the hell out of me! It comes from Bruce and his final realization that he is not the man he always thought he was. It is that revelation that sometimes, even though we have fought so hard to believe otherwise, we were inevitably wrong about ourselves.
Scott Snyder has created a masterpiece of storytelling that will be beloved and despised like all great works are. He has taken a rich world and made it richer in just forty issues, a feat rarely seen in the medium today. He has taken risks and pushed a hero to the brink and beyond and I thank him for the nerve to give us something never seen before with such an iconic character.
The beginning will ensnare you, the middle will enthrall you and the end will crush you. Who could ask for anything more?