David Kane ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
DC Comics has just revealed the generic cover image to Batman #35 as a preview to the series’ next big story arc, “Endgame,” written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo. The image shows Batman fighting his fellow members of the Justice League – clearly a dramatic moment for the DCU – and only hints at the larger impact Endgame will have. Snyder has just finished up his blast to the past with the finale to Batman: Zero Year, and he announced that the “Endgame” arc brings readers back to the “present,” taking place after Batman Eternal, a series that will end in time to begin Endgame.
The idea of one member of the Justice League becoming an outlier and doing battle with the others isn’t just a classic comics plotline; it has already been used in the New 52. The Justice League/Aquaman crossover arc, “Throne of Atlantic,” written by Geoff Johns and soon to be getting its own animated movie, put a spotlight on the Arthur Curry’s place on the team and as a hero in the DCU. The concept of Batman being the odd man out has also been used before, such as in the Mark Waid’s “JLA: Tower of Babel” story arc (that already has an animated feature), when the Dark Knight’s hidden records on all the League members’ weaknesses were stolen by a villain and used to neutralize them. Given that Batman’s modus operandi is exploiting his enemies’ weaknesses, it made a compelling story to have his own methods be used to brutally take down his allies. It brings up questions of trust (always an issue for Batman) and of the checks and balances required for a group of powerful individuals such as the League.
Now it seems Scott Snyder is bringing these questions up again with “Endgame,” which will take place in his regular Batman series, but will most likely crossover into the Geoff Johns’ Justice League like “Throne of Atlantis” did. Snyder himself describes it as having the “biggest case we’ve ever used” and the “biggest cataclysmic elements that we’ve ever used.” Readers can assume he is referring to the Justice League in terms of cast and that the battle will involve the cataclysmic events. The team has Tweeted multiple teaser images for “Endgame,” including one of Batman piloting some kind of suit or vehicle that stomps through the streets. Readers have seen the Thrasher suit used against the Talons in the “Court of Owls,” so they know Batman has got some heavy-duty armor lying around the Batcave, which can come in handy against many of his Justice League “allies.” A thick high-tech suit and several powerful gadgets came in handy during Batman’s battle with Superman in Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. But if New 52 fans will remember, Batman’s first encounter with Superman in Justice League #2 involved him using literally everything in his belt to stave off the Man of Steel’s attack – and it failed. Snyder’s take on an epic clash between the heroes is sure to be exciting, especially with his flair for sci-fi and exploration of character powers.
In Justice League #20, Batman showed Superman boxes he has for every member of the League, each containing an object that can expose their greatest weakness. A villain stole the kryptonite ring from his Superman box and used against the League later in the series, echoing some themes from “Tower of Babel.” It seems unoriginal for “Endgame” to involve more of these boxes being hijacked by villains, so some fans are hoping Snyder veers away from it, but seeing what Batman has for each weakness is an exciting prospect. There are two possibilities for the plot, which involve either the Justice League becoming corrupted and leaving Batman to save the world from them, or the League won’t take kindly to one of Batman’s plans. Many are more in favor of the latter; one of Batman’s methods could alienate him from the League and even inspire a need to take him down. This would create a rift in the team that could cause further problems that continue into DCU’s future. Snyder has said in interviews that the arc’s title doesn’t signify the end of his career on Batman, and he has more plans for the series. It will be interesting to see how “Endgame” changes things for Batman down the line.
Another image Tweeted in the teaser is a bracelet-wearing hand pulling Bruce Wayne from what looks like the Batcave. He’s wearing bandages and looks surprised to see a longhaired brunette figure looking down at him. Readers don’t see any more of his assailant, but can gather a pretty good idea of who it is. The idea of Wonder Woman attacking Bruce Wayne where he lives – and even pulling him through the walls – adds much more mystery and heightens the stakes to “Endgame.” Batman revealed that his box for Wonder Woman is empty; he admits she has no Achilles’ Heel. Seeing how he would fair in a battle with her would make for a seriously epic story.
Both “The Night of Owls” and “Death of the Family” crossover stories involved multiple Gotham-based characters confronting enemies spanning the city in one night. Each event ended in a climatic battle between Batman and the main villain. Because Snyder also dropped that Batman’s villains would come into play, the League could be tangled with them. With the size of the Justice League and the tactics required to take down any one of them, a massive crossover battle would tie nicely into the cataclysmic event Snyder hinted at. Perhaps fans will see a faceoff between the Justice League and the Bat-Family with his sidekicks helping him out. The possible reasons behind this mutiny are numerous and, knowing Snyder, will make for one hell of a story. He has shown time and again how original he can be while writing Batman’s adventures, using characters in new ways to change the mythos of Gotham and the greater DCU.