Okay I’ll admit this right off the bat. I’m not a huge Scott Snyder fan. I respect him and I do think he is a very talented man and writer but I’m not really a fan of his style of writing. Grand big tales only work if there is a re-cap page to remind people of what’s going on. Writing a 13 issues epic looks good on paper, but you have to understand that it takes takes over a year to write, produce and read and so to be perfectly honest with so much other stuff happening in our lives, without a recap page it’s hard to remember the big points.
End Game, to it’s credit is only 6 issues long much like “Death in the family” also by Scott Snyder. It’s a tight story that, I guess work, except when it’s trying too hard to be edgy and scary. I’d tell you there are spoilers, but considering the low view count of my blog if you haven’t read Batman “End Game” by the time you stumble upon this you’re either not a comic book fan or you’re a person archiving the internet. Anyway the short of it is that the Joker has returned from his exile and enacts a plan to not only kill Batman but destroy all of Gotham. First Joker poisons the Justice Leauge and sends them after Batman who promptly defeats them because he’s the Batman. Then in a brilliant twist he reveals that he has been close to Batman the entire time under a disguise that would make Zartan jealous. So far, so standard Batman. But the problem to me comes from the escalation in this story which proves, to me at least to be a little over the top, as if DC are trying to make the Joker more shocking, more edgy and more dangerous despite the fact that this has been well established over the years..
Death in the Family had the Joker, sans face (comics every one) going after the Batman family after disappearing and was a fairly decent story line. End Game has Joker going after Gotham by releasing a version of the Joker Toxin into the air. There are scenes of babies affected by the Joker toxin, people going mad attacking each other in the streets, all well and good, except that Joker then cuts off Alfred’s right hand, because it’s not a DC comic without some one losing a limb. I get that the entire point of the Joker is he is crazy, but people losing limbs, babies being exposed to viruses is just some one (to me) screaming “Hey look at how edgy we are”. Even worse is the “We only have 24 hours to cure people or they die” line is eye roll worthy to me.
The Joker, like any wrestler only works when you’re not over exposing him. Death in the family was a brutal story to be sure, but worked because the Joker hadn’t shown up before, and disappeared without a trace. He enters, messes things up and leaves in a puff of smoke with the reader wondering if he’ll ever show up again. Scott Snyder has now salted the earth with the Joker, because once you have a character try to destroy Gotham, where do you go from there? Having the Joker try to poison the water supply will just seem lame after he cut off the hand of Alfred. What’s next? He tries to send all of Gotham into space via rockets spread out around the city? To be fair, it is called End Game for a reason, perhaps the last Joker Story, which this should fittingly be because, as I have said where do you take the character from here?
That said, if you’re a fan of Scott Snyder, Batman or the Joker then you wont have any problems with the story. Mr Snyder is a fantastic writer, but it’s the subject matter I take issue with, and the length of his stories. And besides, this is DC comics, we’ll just hang out until the next reboot and this Joker nonsense wouldn’t have happened and we can start all over again.