Comic Review – Justice League #1 (DC Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“It would escape us, Ganthet. Besides it is not up to us… it never has been.” Stranger

DC are rebooting the Justice League in time to save the univ/multi/dark/insert-prefix-verse. It’s been a while since I dabbled in the Justice League and this seemed like a very good place to hop on board, especially with the likes of Scott Snyder at the helm with the writing. The front cover promises a new era for the League, and with everything that has been happening in the DC Universe it will be interesting to see what this ‘new era’ will bring. This comic is bought to us by:

  • Writer – Scott Snyder
  • Pencils – Jim Cheung
  • Mark Morales – Inks
  • Tomeu Morey – Colours
  • Tom Napolitano – Letters

The DC Universe has been a busy place for large scale cross-overs. The Dark Knights Metal series in particular bought the ‘dark-multiverse’ into play. Additionally for those who have been following along there have been some very significant moments in the DC Universe which have been leading to this story. There is a hole in the source wall, the edge of the universe which traps any who try to pass it, and something has come through. It has rushed through space and time to the present day where the Justice League must respond to it, whilst the likes of Lex Luthor and Vandal Savage have other ideas.

You can probably tell by my opening sentence that the stakes have never been higher. Honestly, I couldn’t help but find this point miss the mark a little. While its meant to ramp tension and show how monumental this event is it’s no different than a comic once upon a time saying the universe was at stake. We’ll need to learn more about the threat our heroes face in subsequent issues before I pass judgement on the threat the League face.

The art is very detailed and adds a serious, gritty tone to the proceedings. This suits the atmosphere in the comic, of oncoming doom and potential disaster. Cheung and Morales’ work on the lines provide the detail necessary, both in action scenes and in expressions during conversations. Luthor in particular comes off as particularly intimidating when he steals the show. Morey’s colour palette also ties into the mood of the comic and the lettering from Napolitano weaves seamlessly throughout the story without distracting from the artwork.

There are one or two issues that this comic urgently needs to address though. One action by the League in particular is going to have pretty catastrophic events, unless its addressed incredibly quickly.

Final Verdict

This has my interest, the story has some potential flaws and plot holes, although they can be addressed in later issues. Additionally while this is heralded as a ‘new era’ those without a familiarity with a lot of recent DC events won’t find much meaning in some of the key plot points. Otherwise I am most curious to see what happens with the sometimes super villain, sometimes anti-hero Lex Luthor as well as the Justice League lead of the story – the Martian Manhunter who had a particularly engaging arc this issue.

Final Score – 8 Batman Impressions out of 10

Comic Book Review – Justice League: No Justice #1 (DC Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I picked up the first part of DC’s Justice League: No Justice mini series, the next big thing following on from Metal for the DC Universe. I dropped off Justice League a little bit after Rebirth because something about it just wasn’t clicking for me, but with writers Scott Snyder, Joshua Williamson and James Tynion IV on board for this series, and art from Francis Manapul, I was certainly interested in checking this out! Colours on this issue were provided by Hi-Fi, with lettering by AndWorld Design, and cover art by Manapul.

Cover by Manapul

Following on from the Metal event, the Source Wall surrounding the universe has been destroyed. While the Green Lanterns have gone to investigate, one of the biggest villains in the DCU has wasted little time in attacking Earth – Brainiac. And he has come to warn of a far greater threat on the way, the Omega Titans, cosmic gods and world eaters that have been awoken or set in motion by the shattering of the Source Wall. And Brainiac has come to rally the heroes and villains of Earth to save his home planet of Colu and stop the Omega Titans.

No Justice kicks off pretty quickly, and while the first issue of many events like this are often full of set up and are a little bit of a slow burn, Snyder, Williamson and Tynion IV manage to set the scene while still moving the plot forward. The cast of characters is such that no one really gets much chance to shine, maybe Damian Wayne and the Martian Manhunter get a decent amount of time, and a few of the characters do feel a little out of place here, but its a nice spread overall and the set up of the plot should force some interesting team dynamics. The story itself with the Omega Titans has a lot of potential too. Think Galactus but if there was 4 of him.

Art by Manapul, Hi-Fi and AndWorld Design

Manapul’s art is very strong superhero fare in this issue. His experience in superhero comics is on full display here, juggling an array of varied characters easily with a real sense of scale to the world shaking events and some great splash panels. Hi-Fi’s colours are very vibrant, with the colourful costumes and a couple of green skinned characters so distinct it almost pops off the page.

The story is an interesting start, possibly a little impenetrable to new readers, but those familiar with the DCU, especially recent events, will get a lot out of this. The art from Manapul is very nice, and the potential for some great action sequences moving forward is very high. Check out Justice League: No Justice #1 at your local comic shop or online now!

Score: 8 Nodes out of 10

Comic Review – Dark Nights: Metal #1 (DC Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“It came from here. A dark multiverse.” – Kendra Saunders

Time for a brand-new DC event launch. With Rebirth ticking over DC are promoting this as a wild, extravagant adventure. Personally, much as I’ve seen plenty of promotion for this series, I’ve not engaged with any of the books laying the ground work for it. It is however, written by one of DC’s star writers, Scott Snyder. Snyder has written this to be read as a standalone series where so long as you have an understanding that Batman is Batman, Superman is Superman and Aquaman is underrated you can thoroughly enjoy this series.

This comic was bought to us by:

  • Writer – Scott “Doom Commander” Snyder
  • Pencils – Greg “Pain Bringer” Capullo
  • Inks – Jonathan “Guillotine” Glapion
  • Colourist – FCO “Killer” Plascencia
  • Letterer – Steve “The Slayer” Wands

Picking up a series named metal, with vague hints in the advertising to dark multiverses and so on I picked this up expecting DC going down the same route they have with their films and some of their comics with something a little too dark and gritty. This is nothing like what I expected. The Justice League from the get go are working together against DC classic villain Mongul, and things get both fun and ridiculous very fast. This issue has pretty much everything. Mystery and intrigue? Check. Awesome battle scenes? Check. Dinosaurs? Check. A Justice League themed transforming robot sequence? Check.

Snyder also brings in a DC character that’s been fairly neglected from the New 52 and subsequent Rebirth which is great to see. There is certainly an impression that Snyder has been let loose to do what he will with his creative talents, even treating us to a twist at the end bringing in a Neil Gaiman character to the mix (who according to articles on the series is very supportive of it).

Art by Capullo, Glapion & Plascencia

Capullo and Snyder have formed an outstanding team before, working on one of DCs flagship titles, the main Batman series for DC during the New 52 release. It’s great to see his take on each of the other Justice League characters.  Plascencia has their work cut out with such a variety of environments from gladiatorial arenas to spaceships and dinosaur islands. The dinosaur loving kid in me was very pleased to see the attention to detail with the dinosaurs drawn accurately with prehensile feathers. Additionally, the action scenes are drawn to just look fun, which makes such a difference in an issue.

With this pretty all star team working on the comic, how do the hands look? Actually there aren’t very many in this issue, where they are drawn they of course look great. In battle they look dynamic, or awesome and robotic and outside of battle they’re used well to communicate body language. Honestly though, with so few in the issue I feel I can only score this. 7.5/10 for hand drawing skills!

 

Final Verdict

This was a lot of fun and feels very different. There’s a bit of a Stranger Things or Neil Gaiman vibe about it. It also feels very welcoming for new readers, feeling very much like its own contained story. The middle of the issue does slow down a bit, but it’s well worth the read.

Score: 8.75 Fulcum Abominus out of 10

Comic Review – Dark Days: The Forge #1 (DC Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I checked out the ludicrously titled Dark Days: The Forge, the one-shot prelude to the upcoming equally ludicrously titled Dark Nights: Metal series from DC Comics. It has been oddly under-marketed it seems, and I was only made aware that it was coming and that it was being released this week because I follow Scott Snyder on Twitter. Dark Days: The Forge was written by Snyder and James Tynion IV, with the art by Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, John Romita, Jr., Scott Williams, Klaus Janson, Danny Miki, Alex Sinclair, Jeremiah Skipper, and Steve Wands.

Cover by Lee, DC Comics

Dark Days jumps between three main narratives. First is Carter Hall, or Hawkman, almost as a journal entry as he recaps his life (or lives) and his curse, the Nth metal that grants him rebirth and how he is tied to his love Shiera and the villainous Hath-Set. But there he also has impossible memories shimmering in the background, memories that look like a dystopic future in the grip of one he would call an ally.

The other two narratives, taking place in the current day, tie in a little more closely (for now). Batman rescues a scientist from a Wayne blacksite as a volcano erupts. He has been investigating metals, and something is wrong with the metal of the Earth. Batman’s investigation seems to not only go beneath the Earth’s crust, but to the surface of the Moon (well, a Batcave on the Moon), to another universe, and to a secret vault in the Fortress of Solitude as well. Meanwhile, the Guardians send Green Lantern Hal Jordan back to Earth, to investigate the Batcave itself. There, with current Bat-sidekick Duke Thomas, he finds a secret Batcave within the Batcave, indicating that Batman has been investigating something for a long time with a secret team, without letting the Justice League or the Bat-family know about it. Whether he can be trusted remains to be seen, but Hal doesn’t seem to be the only one troubled by all of this.

Dark Days: The Forge is a very strong opening to Metal, and with Scott Snyder re-teaming with his Batman collaborator Greg Capullo (oddly absent on this issue) for it, it is sure to be a blockbuster event. Snyder and Tynion IV have both written Batman in one form or another for a while now, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they have a firm handle on his character and dialogue. Its nice to see a similar care and approach taken to some of the other cast members here, including those seen less often such as Mister Terrific and Mister Miracle. At its core, this series appears to be shaping up as a Batman-centric Justice League event, rather than just a Batman story. And that is important, as there is a worry and a tendency to remove some of the appeal of Batman by making him almost godlike, or making his origins stretch back to the dawn of time (looking at you Morrison). I hope this series doesn’t dip too far towards that, but for this issue it doesn’t rear its head too much. The ongoing mystery of the metals takes cues and threads from throughout Snyder’s run on Batman in such an impressive fashion too, that I can’t help but be drawn in by what it all might mean.

Interior art by Romita Jr, Lee & Kubert

Considering the talent from the art team, the only real negative point I can make is that with Kubert, Lee and Romita Jr all putting in an appreciable number of pages into the book, the art does come off as inconsistent from a stylistic perspective. It is however, consistently very good. Hawkman’s memories by Kubert retain a classic feeling with clear, bold line work, while the lunar character interactions and the volcano escape from Romita Jr feel a little more loose, and the epic scale visions and dark cave scenes show off what makes Lee’s style so iconic for superhero work.

Dark Days: The Forge is a very strong prelude to an event that I know very little about, but the creative team behind it guarantees I’ll be checking it out. This taste has only made me all the more excited about it, especially with the return of Snyder and Capullo for the first time since the end of their run on Batman. Check it out at your LCS or digitally now!

Score: 8 METALS out of 10

 

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 80 – News Whale

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, our fortnightly pop culture news and reviews podcast!


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Big News

This week we chatted about the announcements for Nintendo Switch last week, including the trailers for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and 1,2 Switch Scalebound being cancelled and Woody Harrelson joining the Han Solo Star Wars Story film.

 

Main Talking Point

This week we talked about some of the stuff we are looking forward to most this year! Each of us went with three different pop culture things and why were so excited for them in 2017. What are you looking forward to? Let us know!

 

Now Playing – Reading/Watching/Playing

Adam – The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin/Gravity Falls/Final Fantasy XV on PS4
Ian – Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks/Silence by Martin Scorsese/No Man’s Sky on PS4

Check out any of those through those Amazon links and we get a kick back! Or you can go through here.

 

You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.Fancy supporting our site? Head on over to our Paypal donation page! It’s completely optional, set your own price! Even £1 helps us with hosting costs and we’d really appreciate it! Cheers!

Comic Review – All-Star Batman #1 (DC Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: Minor Spoilers

“I just wanted to say… I’m so sorry I had to do it.” – *******

Another new DC Rebirth Comic this week! It’s another Batman run DC are kicking off with All-Star Batman #1, written by Scott Snyder, with art by John Romita Jr., Danny Miki and Dean White for the main story, and Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire on the backup story, with Steve Wands lettering both parts. I wasn’t sure what to expect with All-Star Batman as opposed to more traditional Batman comics. The only version of this to come out before was All Star Batman and Robin in 2005-2008, and all I know about that is Dick Grayson gets abandoned in the Bat Cave and has to eat rats to stay alive. What I got here was a comic where Scott Snyder, who lead the outstanding New 52 Batman run, really strutting his stuff.

All star batman cover

Cover art by Romita Jr., Miki & White

Snyder has been let loose to do what he does best: character interaction. The plot of issue #1 focuses on the relationship between Batman and Two Face, interestingly quite a line is drawn between Two Face and Harvey Dent in this case. The two are off to ‘burn out’ Two Face once and for all. Two Face of course isn’t too keen of the idea and has put a huge bounty on the both of them. It isn’t all talking though, we get a wonderfully over-the-top fight scene as mercenaries try to bring the Bat down. Batman manages to switch things up and the whole thing takes on a cheesy horror movie-esque feel to it while Bats takes on his attackers.

There’s more to the relationships than only Batman and Two Face though, we get an additional story attached to the main one, from Duke Thomas’s perspective where he and Batman try to save victims of Zsasz. There’s again a focus on their relationship, emphasising that this is not Duke as Robin, it is not Batman and Robin (Damian still holds that title) but something ‘new’. It feels like the pair of them are finding their feet a little with this relationship. While I always like the idea of Batman having a side-kick or similar I’m not sure DC know quite where this one is going. I hope they do and it’s only the character’s uncertainty but I can’t quite tell what it’s meant to be yet.

All star interiors

Art by Romita Jr., Miki, White & Wands

As for the art, overall it was solid. Romita Jr. and Miki team up to create stunning moments, particularly in the fight scenes and a certain silhouette of Batman with a chainsaw looks awesome, though if I’m honest while the over the top imagery suits the big panel images it sometimes looked off in some of the smaller interactions. White’s colours for the main story are somewhat subdued and more of a desaturated palette, which works well to show the passing of the time of day throughout the start of the road trip, and makes the field scenes look particularly impressive. In the back up story, Shalvey’s art is a nice contrast to the brighter outdoor aesthetic in the main arc, with a more ominous feel that is simultaneously highly detailed, particularly with the contrast of the geometric shapes forming ‘The Cursed Wheel’ and the crime scene. Bellaire’s vibrant colours help to further distinguish the back up not only from the main story but from different scenes in the same short tale, with dim Batcave clashing nicely with the bright colours on the Batcomputer.

Speaking of smaller interactions, can Romita Jr. draw hands? There were less examples of actual hands than I was expecting as so many of them are covered by chunky gloves or armour. While gloved or armoured they do look good, though naturally a lot of the detail in the fingers and joints is simplified somewhat. There is one trucker with very stubby fingers, but they are used well in gesture when they are in panel, covered or not. Romita can, though didn’t get to show off properly in this issue, which is why they’ll get a 7.5/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

I like how different this feels to the main Batman run. I am a huge fan of Snyder’s past work on Batman so I have high hopes for this. It looses a point for some of the art and the uncertainty over Batman and Duke, but those are issues I’m sure many will disagree on. If you like them this would be a 9.5, though in my opinion it drops to:

Score: 8.5 Stilling Cuts out of 10

Comic Review – Batman: Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: Minor spoilers.

“Like I said, I’m trying something new.” Batman

Rebirth – DCs attempt to fix some of the perceived flaws in the New 52 and start a fresh. Geoff Johns, who is spearheading it, has said he wants to bring back two things that have been missing from DC – hope and optimism. Batman tends to be associated with the dark and gritty. It was also one of the best, consistently fantastic series in the New 52. Will Rebirth keep up the high standard? Time to find out.

Bats rebirthBatman: Rebirth was co-written by Scott Snyder and Tom King, with art by Mikel Janin, colours by June Chung and letters from Deron Bennett. Tom King will be taking over writing duties entirely once the new series properly relaunches with Batman #1 in a few weeks, while Scott Snyder drove the writing of Batman throughout the New 52, and isn’t exactly moving away from the character as he returns with All-Star Batman later this year. Anyway, Batman: Rebirth kicks off with Duke Thomas turning up at Wayne Manor about the ‘offer’. He’ll be working with Batman in this new take on DC. Not only does Batman have another partner, but he’s back in charge of Wayne Enterprises (thanks to Lucius Fox).

Their first opponent will be Calendar Man. The seasons have been sped up dramatically and they’re cycling through an entire year’s worth in a single week (we have to assume this is local to Gotham, would hate to think what it would do if the planet’s orbit of the sun was sped up 52 times over!). He’s seemingly a single issue villain, although the comic reveals he lives in a cycle of rebirth which he comes back smarter and stronger from each time. Which of course is very thematic with DCs ‘Rebirth’ series. Duke and Bruce agree they’ll be ready and waiting for him and will hit him back stronger and smarter as well.

There are some key differences to the old status quo though. Despite being a ‘Robin’ Duke will not become Robin. He’ll be something new. We don’t know exactly what yet, another Batman? Batboy? So far all we have is his suit,  yellow with the Bat symbol on it. Their exact relationship will be confirmed in the coming issues, although Bruce does seem to be mentoring Duke.

As for the art, the level of detail is fantastic, everything from Bruce’s nearly entirely naked body to the background in the Batcave feels alive and action packed.

 

Final Verdict

Batman: Rebirth proves to be exactly that, a new beginning. It may have been a little heavy handed in the metaphors throughout the issue but it does the job well. I also like this take on Calendar Man. He isn’t a villain I’m too familiar with, but I don’t believe he was reborn with the seasons before. It’s a cool new power. I’m interested in seeing where they go with the Bruce/Duke relationship as well as apparently it’ll be something new we haven’t seen before.

Comic Review – Batman and Robin Eternal (DC Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those times.

Warning: Spoilers!

Me again people! I’ll be doing the review again this week as one of the weekly series I’ve been reading has come to an end. So, this will be a review of Batman and Robin Eternal #1-26, written by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, with a variety of writers throughout the run on scripting duties. Similarly across the 26 issue series various pencillers, inkers and colourists were on art duties. For the finale, Scot Eaton, Carlo Pagulayan and Igor Vitorino pencilled the issue; Wayne Faucher, Michael Jason Paz and Marc Deering inked it; Allen Passalaqua and Gabe Eltaeb coloured it and it was lettered by Marilyn Patrizio. I won’t be able to do each issue in detail but I can definitely let you know how the whole thing stacks up!

B&R1The story really kicks off when Dick Grayson, returned to Gotham to team up with Tim and Jason. While following up on a lead that a dirty bomb will go off at a the grand opening of The State University ‘Tower of Enlightenment’ Dick is attacked by the other party goers and the mysterious Orphan. On making his escape Dick picks up a name, Mother. On returning to the Batcave and checking the archives he locates a recording from Batman. Mother was the one villain he was never able to best, and the source of his greatest sin. We get a shot years ago, of Batman, with a gun, standing over two dead parents and a child.

And things kick off from there! We get visits from a huge cast, ones we’re familiar with like the ex – Robins, some new like Orphan and Mother, some returning like Harper Row and Midnighter, and some seen for the first time in the New 52! Cassandra Cain and Azrael!

For those of you who know what’s been going on with Bats recently you’ll rightly not be expecting him to be making much of an appearance in this, he does star through flashbacks to an era so far unexplored – Dick Grayson’s innings as Robin. Dick is the lead in this story and one of my favourite characters, I loved getting to see more detail of his backstory and getting to see how his relationship with Batman developed. As he’s the first Robin we get to see how Bats’ relationship with his sidekicks started out, his doubt, uncertainty and trust issues. We also get to see how his encounter with Mother went and why she’s his biggest sin. If you’ve been missing the Batman and Robin pairing these flashbacks alone will give you your fix, for now at least.

As you’d imagine the team begin investigating what’s going on. They meet a huge cast, including Cassandra Cain’s first stint in the New 52. She’s very different to how I remember her, a broken child soldier trying to find her way. I enjoyed this version of her, and they’ve given her a uniqueness beyond Batgirl as that role is currently filled. We also get lots more of Harper Row as Blue Bird, who I have always liked and personally would have loved to see in a full Robin role.

The art is very good throughout, although the faces in this last issue kinda bugged me. Otherwise the action scenes are fluid and detailed and the colours fantastic. Obviously the art changed over the course of the run due to the number of different artists on the book but the level of quality remained consistently high.

B&RSo, in all what does this story do well? It gives us some real depth to the Batman and Robin relationship, which is great. It calls into question Batman’s motives for raising the Robins and gives us a villain who mirrors Batman so very well, to the point where in an alternate universe I could very much see Bats being written just like Mother. Seeing Dick’s past was also great, as was developing Cassandra, Spoiler and Harper.

What the story didn’t do so well? Some of the individual issues dragged a little. I was reading this week by week and I think it’d hold up better in a single volume. The cast was very packed, maybe a little too much, especially towards the end. As well as this I felt there were some really amazing ideas, that could have fundamentally changed who certain characters were, and add a very dark streak to things that were shied away from as the story developed. I was a little disappointed not to see many big changes for some of the cast in this story. I can understand why though. Those changes to the characters probably wouldn’t have gone down well with everyone. Also, although the start was great, the middle solid, I felt the build up to the end a little lacking.

Things became a little predictable and some of the final issues became nothing more than build up/holding space while people got ready for the final battle. I think some of this would be avoided reading this in volumes though. However, a twist or two more towards the end would certainly add a point to this review for me.

Final Verdict

A very interesting addition to the current Batman run. It’s great if you want more Batman and Robin or Dick Grayson. It doesn’t shake things up quite enough for me though, which I think will lessen it’s appeal to a more neutral reader. Tynion and Snyder have done a great job with a lot of the characters they’ve been given (as you’d expect) to work with. Overall, I’d recommend this if you wanted something new to read and are up to date on the other Bat family stuff.

Final score – 8 Orphans out of 10

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 56 – Starscream the Python

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chat about Destiny 2, the live action Jungle Book film and Kanye West’s video game (that Adam was aggressively harsh about, let’s say because he’s ill and not because he’s a dick). We also talked about the new Daredevil Season 2 trailer, but Skype messed up and the audio was so bad we cut it. Check the trailer if you haven’t seen it already. Shockingly we loved it. Meanwhile, Adam was slowly dying and Gary just stood back and watched as he fell into some sort of delirium at the end of the episode.

Short episode this week! After postponing last week because Gary was ill, Adam was struck down this week with something too. We managed to record an episode anyway. You be the judge of whether we should have just taken another week off!

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You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

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Comic Review – Batman #40

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

Contains some spoilers from earlier issues of the ‘Endgame’ arc

DC’s Convergence event is fairly huge, and being in a bit of a ropey financial situation right now, I decided to effectively bow out of DC Comics for the month… mostly. I’ve picked up the odd Convergence tie-in if a writer or artist is involved that I’m fond of, but with the main titles largely on pause until the move to Burbank is finished, I decided it was best to just save a bit of money and reduce my stack each Wednesday. However, this week saw the release of both Batman and Justice League #40, and as the former was then end of the current arc I’ve picked that to review this week (not the first time I’ve reviewed the conclusion of a Batman arc). As for the previous 39 issues, Batman #40 was written by Scott Snyder and pencilled by Greg Capullo, with inks by Danny Miki, colours from FCO Plascencia, letters by Steve Wands.

This issue was the finale of Endgame, the story arc that saw the Joker return to utterly destroy Batman and the world around him. Starting with corrupting the Justice League with Joker Venom, to mutilating those closest to Bruce, he also threaded a narrative that led to the potential conclusion that he was in fact immortal, that Batman could never stop him and that Gotham would fall. By this last issue, barely any citizens remain untouched by the latest Joker Venom, a strain that Batman couldn’t cure, that has turned them into crazed zombies fighting themselves and anyone uninfected. Having already enlisted the help of his rogues gallery who, despite their own criminal intentions and dubious sanity, don’t want to see Gotham torn apart any more than he does, Batman and the Bat family attempt to fight their way through the throng of victims with their contorted smiles and creepy laughter to try to get to the Joker, to find a cure and to find out once and for all if he really is ‘The Pale Man’, an immortal spectre as old as Gotham itself. The truth about both men, and how they face down the possibility of death, leads to the inevitable show down between Bruce and his possibly eternal foe, as the city quakes and tears itself apart above them.

I’ve said innumerable times how much I enjoy Scott Snyder’s writing, and he has continued to be very strong on Batman since the start of the New 52. Endgame has been a bombastic, hugely entertaining thrill ride from start to finish. As with the previous arcs, Snyder has continued to peel back why Bruce is so important, and we continue to be interested in him. This issue could have easily been overwrought or weighed down by the culmination of the story and the moving elements, like the inclusion of the villains on Batman’s side, but they were kept to the background without being sidelined, to allow for the final confrontation to breathe and to focus in on Batman and the Joker’s relationship as they brought each other to the brink of annihilation.

And this annihilation was, as always, beautifully realised by Capullo. The first half of the issue was strong as always, but the fight in the cavern is brutal, gory and truly visceral in a way that feels like if this was the last time Batman and the Joker ever faced each other (obviously it won’t be, because superhero comics) then this would be a fitting end. Miki’s inks bring a savage oppression to the fight, and a darkness to the rest of the issue that adds weight to the tone. Plascencia’s colours bring this all to life, with the stark and unnaturally bright shades of the sunset melee at the start, to the flame-lit show down. All together, the art team continues to shine even so far into the creative team’s run.

Though some elements of the fallout of Endgame have already been spoiled online (you’ve all seen the mechanised Batsuit), they lack the context and lead up that explains how we get there, or where we will go after. Regardless of what is coming next, this was another great end to what has been a really strong arc. Once again, Snyder and Capullo played with our expectations and threw in potential retcons that enraged or discomforted anyone with a particularly jerky knee. But comfort zones are for lesser storytellers, and things are at their best when they’re not as they seem. When this team does finally leave the book (and apparently they were originally planning to at the end of this arc), I don’t at all envy who has to pick up the reigns after them.

Pick up Batman #40 (if for some reason you haven’t already) on your digital comics platform of your choice or at your local comic shop. Even better, go and head down to Free Comic Book Day this Saturday 2nd May at your LCS and buy it when you get your free comics!

Score: 9 Lipstick Wearing T-Rexs out of 10