Monday, 11 April 2016

Batman #38 [The New 52] - DC Comics

BATMAN No. 38, March 2015
Whilst there can be no doubt that Issue Thirty Eight of “Batman” starts out dynamically enough with its opening splash depicting the Dark Knight and Duke Thomas gliding past a frighteningly maniacal-looking mob of citizens who have congregated within “the centre of the oldest section of Gotham” City, Scott Snyder’s narrative for Part Four of “Endgame” disappointingly swiftly degenerates into an irrational mess within which a badly wounded Jim Gordon miraculously removes an axe transfixed in his sternum in order to chop up an unwary Caped Crusader, and Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego makes a mad dash through streets choked full of the Joker’s infected victims so as to endure a tediously nonsensical seven-page long confrontation with the utterly obscure Forties Jack Kirby villain, Crazy Quilt. As the book’s American author himself pens Paul Dekkar saying “Heh. Doesn’t feel like a Batman story anymore does it?”

This shambolic storytelling genuinely makes it hard to believe that the comic was “DC Comics” best-selling publication in January 2015 by over forty thousand copies. Although many of these 110,232 readers must have subsequently turned ashen with the realisation that they were witnessing the demise of “the World’s Greatest Detective” courtesy of a script which depicts “B-Man” aimlessly running through the collapsing remains of his burning metropolis without any plan because he doesn’t “know what to do.”

Sadly Snyder’s actual main plot premise is just as demoralizingly choppy as his anaemic portrayal of the titular character, and at times he genuinely appears to incorporate the most contrived of situations, such as the Dark Knight finding himself face-to-face with a heavily-armed tank complete with insane commander, simply to pad out the story a little bit more. Why else would the Goodreads Choice Awards-nominee require this book’s regular artist to draw a five-panel sequence inexplicably showing the Clown prince of Crime irrelevantly swimming underwater? Or later have Dekkar so gratingly 'wax lyrical' about his quest to identify “people who encountered the chemical [Dionesium] long ago and still walk among us”?

Perhaps entirely baffled and bewildered by such a seemingly random piece of wearisome writing, Greg Capullo’s pencilling is astonishingly poor in places considering the quality of the Schenectady-born illustrator’s previous strong work on the series. Albeit even his substandard renderings of homicidal Mohican-haired citizens and the half-naked Crazy Quilt aren’t anywhere near as unimpressive as Sam Kieth’s amateurish-looking sketching for this comic’s secondary feature “Heart”.
The "Flash 75th Anniversary" variant cover art of "BATMAN" No. 38 by Tony Daniel and Tomeu Morey


  1. I think your view of the trajectory of Endgame is similar to mine after what I felt was a pretty solid start. I am very interested to see your thoughts on the remainder of the story.

    Are you going to try Batman Eternal? I recently re-read the story and quite enjoyed it. It has its flaws as a mammoth story will (even the original '52' had some narrative misses IMHO), but overall I thought it was a good piece of work, and probably conditioned Snyder and Tynion how to better structure things with Batman and Robin Eternal, which I have just finished the first tpb for and rather like.

    OPne more recommendation: We Are Robin - loving it! (again via tpb).

    1. Thanks PulpCitizen. This was a complete mess imho, and so disappointing compared to this story-arc's first couple of issues.

      I have a few "Batman" titles I hope to review once this current run finishes, such as "Batman '66" and "Batman: Dark Knight". I don't read either "Batman Eternal" or "We Are Robin". But I'll have a look out for them and see whether I can find some back issues.

    2. Still working my way through Volume 1 of Batman '66. I enjoy it, and love the style, but cannot seem to read a lot in one sitting.

    3. I must admit "Batman '66" never actually appealed until I was sent the "Batman/Green Hornet" mini-series, and since then have been trying to catch-up with some back issues. It also sounds like the TV series - I love that but cant watch many in one sitting ;-)