This week Endgame continues in Batman, and it’s time to meet the new Avengers Unity Team in Uncanny Avengers #1!
Batman #38 (DC Comics)
At this point it’s moot to point out how stellar Batman is. You know it. I know it. But the latest issue of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Endgame” certainly pulls out all of the stops, and leaves you breathless. It also changes the status quo of the Joker/Batman relationship in a huge way (that I won’t spoil here).
This issue deals with the fallout of Joker’s “jokerization” of the citizens of Gotham City, which gives this book a very creepy “last man on Earth” feel. As he desperately tries to find a way to save the city, Batman is lead to the laboratory of Paul Dekker, whom longtime Bat-fans may recognize is the alter ego of Crazy Quilt. While in Dekker’s lab, Batman learns some shocking information about the Clown Prince of Crime that rocks him to his very core, and possibly show that the man that Batman thought he knew is something else entirely. And in order to stop him, Batman will have to seek assistance from the most unlikely of places….
Scott Snyder’s script builds up the tension right away, and really never lets up. The things that Snyder brings up in this issue are pretty huge if they end up being true, and I have to say, if it was anyone else putting these ideas out on the table, I’d probably be a little too quick to say “no way”. But Snyder’s take on the Joker’s origins and reasons for being are all presented in a really concise and well-researched way. It’s impossible not to see the amount of time and effort that Snyder put into this part of the story, and it pays off.
The other side of the Batman coin is the mighty Greg Capullo, who once again delivers some career-defining work. Capullo’s art only adds to the dread and tension of the issue, and he delivers some pretty creepy panels here. No one can quite depict madness like Capullo can, and this issue is proof of it.
Batman is, without a doubt, the best superhero book on the stands. It’s an unstoppable creative juggernaut featuring a writer and artist that are on the top of their game. If “Endgame” truly is the final story from Snyder and Capullo that will feature the Joker, they’re certainly giving him a swan song for the ages.
Uncanny Avengers #1 (Marvel Comics)
The Uncanny Avengers are back from the ashes of AXIS, and they’ve got quite a few new faces in their roster. Okay, they have pretty much ALL new faces in their roster. But even with these new members, Rick Remender and Daniel Acuna’s Uncanny Avengers #1 can’t quite reach the highs of the previous volumes.
This issue finds this new incarnation of the “Avengers Unity Squad” (consisting of Vision, Falcon Captain America, Rogue, Sabertooh, and Doctor Voodoo) travelling to Counter-Earth in search of their teammates Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. After finding out that Magneto was never their father, the two Avengers have been searching for the truth about their heritage, which brings them to the Earth on the other side of the sun. Much of this issue focuses on the team’s efforts to find Pietro and Wanda, and that really causes the book to suffer. There’s no real set up for the team. Rick Remender throws us into the action quickly, but since we never receive any information on how some of these characters joined the team, it’s jarring; especially when the last time Remender used Sabertooh (in AXIS) he was locked up in prison.
On the positive side, Daniel Acuna’s art is pretty stellar. I’ve never been the biggest fan of his, but I have to say, it looks damn good here. Acuna does a fantastic job of presenting Quicksilver’s super speed in a fun way, and his design for the Vision is really awesome as well.
Maybe it’s the bad aftertaste of AXIS or the fact that this team doesn’t feature anyone I really like, but I found myself wanting more from this new #1 of Uncanny Avengers. While I commend Remender for not spending a whole issue setting up this new team, he also should’ve really done a better job of explaining how these characters all got together. Hopefully issue 2 will give us some answers.
NOTE: Sorry for the late reviews everybody. For those of you who don’t know, a massive blizzard dumped about 3 feet of snow in New England, which pretty much caused everything to grind to a screeching halt, including comic book deliveries.