After reading Batman #39 last month, I eagerly awaited this issue. In my personal comic book world, Batman is currently the one title that I am actually caught up on. My house is, figuratively speaking, filled with stacks of current runs that I have no idea when I’m going to get to. That being said, Batman has been more or less a treat for me every month, and I stayed up late (that would be 10:00PM for me) to read the conclusion of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Endgame” story line. Before I get into this, I must amend my statement about ‘eagerly awaiting’ the conclusion, because I cannot, in good conscience, say that I awaited the conclusion to “Endgame” as much as I had anticipated the ending of Snyder’s “Death of the Family” story line.
The ending to “Death and the Family” seemed anti-climatic, and not as satisfying to read as the rest of that story. With “Endgame,” I felt indifferent during each issue. The Joker did not seem as menacing as he was in “Death of the Family,” but the ending to “Endgame” was as satisfactory as endings go.
I won’t get into the problem of comic book deaths, since nothing more needs to be said other than there isn’t really such a thing as death anymore. In my opinion as a long-time Batman reader (we’re talkin’ pre-Knightfall), if Snyder needed to make sure Bruce Wayne was out of costume so that Batman #41 could begin with a new status quo, there would have been a number of interesting ways this could have been accomplished. However, we wouldn’t have had “Endgame,” and we wouldn’t have had the ending to “Endgame” that we did.
The battle between Batman and the Joker in Batman #40, in which both combatants seemingly die, could not have been more appropriate in light of the story that Snyder was trying to tell. The ending was fitting, there were no gaping holes to fill at the end.
The point Snyder was trying to make, a point that every Batman fan knows, is that the dance, the endless battles and games in which the Joker and Batman engage, will never end. So how very poignant and fitting that the battle ended in a draw. There was no winner, except Gotham City. Both Bruce Wayne and Joker are declared dead, but when the music starts again the dance will continue, and when the whistle blows for the players to take the field, both Bruce Wayne as Batman and the Joker as, well, the Joker will be there ready to strike.
And we will be there too, as readers, as fans, as participants in the same game as Batman and the Joker are playing. We love the game too, and that’s why we keep playing. We hope the clock never runs out.