cover image The Joker: Endgame

The Joker: Endgame

Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, et al. DC, $29.99 ISBN 978-1-4012-5877-1

With most writers seemingly having run out of ways for the Joker to be more than a grinning foil for the resolutely unhappy Batman, this cornucopia of new Joker-related tales goes hell-bent for leather, leaving no cackle or fiendish plot off the table, making the Joker something of an ur-villain out of time for Gotham. The main plot tracks the apocalyptic-minded “clown prince of crime” as he busts out of Arkham Asylum yet again to plot another circus-themed mass-casualty assault on the city. Other stories track his disciples and some of the ugly backstory of Gotham itself. The pace is unrelentingly grim, with mayhem and mass murder dominating these richly illustrated, action-heavy pages. It’s something of a marathon, though, ultimately ascribing so much densely related mythology and diabolical brilliance to the Joker that there seems nowhere left to go—except perhaps back to the asylum, which really should invest in some stronger locks. (Sept.)