Batman #37 (New Comics)

Batman Comic Books: Batman #37 On Youtube

Batman Comic Books: Batman #37 Recap

“Stare back at him.  Stare back and tell yourself you’re more than a man.  You’re better than this.  You’re not thirty-two and strapped to a chair.  Poisoned, Paralyzed… He’s just another criminal, and this is just another case.  You know it.  So see it.  See it with no optical screens, no cowl.  Stare.  You can feel the pupils constricting in hatred, but fight it.  Don’t let it show, even now.  Even as the grin spreads…”

In the Batcave, Bruce Wayne stands, tied to a chair and paralyzed.  He is aware and awake but can’t move.  With a roar, he manages to wake up and recover.  Alfred and his daughter have brought him to Wayne Manor, which is currently being used as the new Arkham Asylum.  They explain to Bruce that Gotham has been overrun by citizens infected by the Joker’s new toxin.  The police are losing ground, and the situation looks grim.

Batman says that nothing is un-killable.  Over the years, he has created hundreds of antidotes to the Joker’s various fear toxins.  But Alfred’s daughter explains that they’ve tried every single cure, and not one of them has come even close to destroying the toxin.  Some sort of secret element, something that appears almost unnatural, is giving the virus remarkable resilience to being destroyed.

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Batman then asks to see the first case of the infection.  Whoever it was walked into Gotham Presbyterian before the virus manifested itself, meaning they must have some kind of initial resistance to the virus.  Batman sets out to the hospital, hoping to be able to synthesize a cure from this patient.

On his way, he contacts Jim Gordon, and they tell each other what they know of the situation.  Gordon says the virus seems to leave something of the person it infects, turning affection into hatred.  Friends come after friends.  Given what people feel about Batman, Bruce is likely to become the most hunted man in all of Gotham.

batman comic books #37

Bruce Wayne

Batman arrives at the hospital and begins to search for patient zero.  Meanwhile, Jim Gordon begins to do some research on Gotham Presbyterian.  He scoffs at the urban legend that the hospital is haunted, but as he looks over pictures of a fire in 1910, he is disturbed to find an all too familiar face in one of the pictures.  Jim Gordon drops his cigarette.  In 1946, some medicines were switched out with rat poison.  Gordon is shocked to find the same familiar face.  Bewildered, Gordon begins rummaging around for an old picture of his children visiting the hospital.  He sees in the picture a white arm reaches in from a nearby door.

Batman Comic Books: Batman #37 CONT!

Gordon hears something from the closet.  He approaches with his gun drawn, but is knocked out by a trap.  On the floor, two eyes appear from under the bed.

At the hospital, Batman finds Patient Zero.  Bruce is shocked to find it is none other than Joe Chill, the man who murdered his parents.  He knows…

A boy and his parents call out for help, and Batman realizes the Joker is recreating the night that made him into Batman.  Under the influence of the fear toxin, Joe Chill is powerless, and though he begs someone to stop him, he approaches the couple with a gun.

Meanwhile, the Joker is pleased, and shows Gordon he has all sorts of new material to test out.  With the snap of his fingers, and a little bit of gasoline and flint in his shoes, the Joker lights the apartment on fire.

Simultaneously, Jim Gordon and Batman spring into action.  Batman bursts into the room, and dives into the way of the family, while the Joker charges at Gordon with an axe only to be shot in the chest by the commissioner.

With Joe Chill incapacitated, Batman is able to save the boy, though his parents are taken by the virus.  They begin to escape from the hospital, as Batman tries to ignore a ward full of infected infants.  The babies are on IV and will be fine for hours.  Jim contacts Batman and says he got the Joker.  He’s gone, and is flesh and blood.  There is no magic, there was no rebirth.

As Gordon begins to have some hope, the Joker rises among the flames.  Batman and the boy make it out of the hospital, but Bruce loses contact with Jim Gordon.  One the other side of the line, he hears only two words: “Hello, Bruce.

Batman Comic Books: Batman #37 Review

Hello and welcome to Comic Island, my name is Arden and THIS WAS AWESOME!

Oh man, so here I thought that this story was going to slow down a little.  I mean the Justice League got written out of the story pretty quickly here, and while I was hopeful about this Joker story, I did have some concerns which I mentioned in my review of issue 36.

But this comic was amazing.  My heart was racing after I read this one, and I haven’t felt like this after reading a comic in a good long time.

Where do I even begin?  Every page of this was great.  Scott Snyder has always been a good writer, but I feel like he’s gotten a really good sense of how to work with the entire creative team, including the penciller, inker, colourist, and letterers to deliver a nearly perfect comic.

Batman Comic Books: Batman #37 CONT!

It’s just so well done.  Let’s go over my favourite scene.  It starts as what should be just a little bit of a research moment, but instead, we start to see the Joker show up in these old pictures of the hospital, as if he’s been around for over a hundred years.  As the creepiness builds, we suddenly realize that Gordon is not alone and we think the Joker is in the closet.  But then there’s another misdirect and it turns out that the Joker is actually under the bed, which is revealed brilliantly after Gordon is knocked onto the ground.

You can tell that Snyder has really gotten used to working with the penciller Greg Capullo.  The artist does a great job conveying this scene perfectly, but it takes a nuanced writer like Snyder to give him good direction like he has done here.

batman comic books #37

the joker returns

Then there’s the climax of this story.  Look at how this one is drawn.  We have two action scenes happening in real time within the story and they match what’s happening in each panel.  That’s brilliant, brilliant writing.

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I’m just blown away by this comic book.  There are only two things that confused me a bit.  First, Batman was last left in a cell at the old Arkham at the Joker’s mercy, but this issue starts with him rescued and at the new Arkham in Alfred’s care – so the Joker apparently just left him there.  Also we’ve been told in other Joker stories that he doesn’t seem to care much about Batman’s identity, but in this comic he suddenly seems to care quite a bit.  If this were a story about pretty much any other villain, I’d call this inconsistent, but this is the Joker we’re talking about.  So this can actually all be pretty neatly explained by the Joker being his usual craziness.  Of course he’d leave Batman in the cell, because the game would be over if the Joker just killed him right there.


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