Comic Review – Batman #39

  • Batman 39 CoverWriters: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV
  • Pencils: Greg Capullo, Dustin Nguyen
  • Inks: Danny Miki, Derek Fridolfs
  • Colors: FCO Plascencia, Dave McCaig
  • Letters: Steve Wands
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Release Date: 2/25/15

“Endgame”‘s penultimate chapter arrives this week, with a feeling of dread hovering over Gotham City, and the upside down Bat-Signal isn’t helping. Snyder and Capullo bring us another spinechilling chapter in Joker’s rampage, while Tynion is joined by Dustin Nguyen to continue the possible tales of Joker’s true origin.

Continuing from last week’s issue, Batman seeks the advice of the Court of Owls, who use the metal that might be at the root of Joker’s supposed immortality for their electrum coins. They, of course, are perfectly willing to see Gotham burn so they can take control of the remnants. As Batman battles them and the Jokerized citizens, Joker decides to visit some important characters. What he does to them is nothing short of terrifying (if you want spoilers, go here).

As Batman calls upon his allies, Joker puts his plans into motion in the most garish way, a parade of death! Snyder holds no punches as he ratchets up the creep factor and intensity for this issue. He is not joking that the status quo will shift. Joker’s scenes are incredibly intense, and are as morbidly funny as they are bloody. It’s also nice to see Snyder give a nod to the 1989 Batman film in this issue. One can debate the merits of the status quo change, but it certainly sends shivers up your spine, and makes you worry for the characters.

Capullo, as usual, brings his A-game. When Joker appears, he has been scarred by defense systems, but you can see the injuries starting to heal. The Joker’s rage and brutality is on full display with Capullo’s pencils, especially when things get bloody. The scenes with the Court, as well as numerous action sequences involving the Jokerized Gothamites, are also wonderfully executed. An incredibly fun highlight is the parade Joker creates through the chaos he has caused. Another striking image is the first page, with the upside down Bat Signal. It’s a simple image, but it sends a shiver of fear down your spine, as if Batman might not win this time. Capullo’s pencils are wonderfully complimented by Miki’s inks, especially when it comes to the dark shadows of the Court’s lair, and Plascencia’s colors.


Tynion’s backup continues the tales of the Joker’s possible origins and this time, it’s the captive doctor’s turn as she and the inmates come upon an interesting discovery. While her story might fall under the “banal of evil” category, it is the fallout, and sick punchline, that drives this terrifying back up to a conclusion. Tynion has had a fun time with the various possible origins, and while the doctor’s origin might be the most logical (based on evidence that includes information from “Zero Year”), it doesn’t mean it’s right. He truly likes to play with Joker’s credo that “if I had a past, I’d rather it be multiple choice!” However, he has found a new way to consider the competing tales of Joker’s origin, and makes us question our own opinions on it. Nguyen’s art is well done, with the characters being wonderfully expressive, as well as increasing the tension and horror. And when a certain character makes his appearance, the creepy factor intensifies. While this back up has ended, questions will remain.

“Endgame” has proven to be a chilling thrill ride. Will Batman and Co save the day? Will Joker be triumphant? And what will we see on the other side of Convergence. One thing is for sure, Joker is playing for keeps.

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About the author

Daniel Kalban

Daniel is the writer of The Eagle webcomic and aspires to one day join his favorite writers at the Big 2. Until then, he keeps plugging away at various projects, as well as serving as a reporter for Word of the Nerd on various subjects, especially the DC Comics "beat".

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