Batman #38 (New Comics)

Batman #38 On Youtube

Batman #38 Recap

Above the Foundry Square in Gotham, Batman flies above with a boy he just rescued named Drew.  The city has been infected by The Joker’s fear toxin and has fallen to chaos.  The Foundry Square sits at the centre of Gotham, and in spite of the rest of the city being remodelled and updated, the Square’s buildings have been preserved for two hundred years.  Jim Gordon lives here, as he likes the untouched history in this part of the city.

[Related: Batman Comic Book Reading Order Checklist]

Batman reflects that this has all changed as he arrives at Jim’s apartment building to find it on fire.  The Dark Knight bursts into the building and hears Jim Gordon, only to find his long time friend with an axe in his chest.  Batman asks Drew for help, but the boy begins to panic at the dire situation.  As Bruce tries to calm the boy down, Jim Gordon rises from behind Batman.  The Joker toxin has begun to affect the police commissioner, and though Jim tries to attack Batman with the axe, the commissioner is knocked out by Alfred’s military trained daughter Julia.

Julia informs Batman that further testing on the Joker’s new virus has revealed that it causes cellular decay in its victims.  Those infected will only have a limited time before they die.  Julia asks if things are usually like this in Gotham, but Batman says this is a particularly ugly situation.  Drew finds a first aid kit, and, now significantly more calm, gives it to Batman and expresses full confidence that Gotham’s greatest hero will fix this mess.  Duke and Julia leave to return to base, while Batman secures Jim Gordon and begins to investigate the source of the virus.

The Joker must have had help to do all of this through his time disguised as a doctor in Arkham Asylum.  Dick Grayson calls Batman, and has returned to town to help the Dark Knight.  As Batman is attacked by infected citizens of Gotham, the former Robin informs Batman that only one suspect was released by The Joker that could help with all this.  The man’s name is Peter Dekker, an old villain who is also known as Crazy Quilt.  During this conversation, Batman is attacked by an infected soldier in a tank.  Though he is nearly buried in rubble as a result, the Dark Knight manages to take the tank for himself and escape the citizens.

Over the phone, Bruce tells Dick that the Joker knows his identity.  Grayson grimly says that the Joker may have won.  He can’t be stopped, the virus has taken the city, and he knows Batman’s identity.  But Batman refuses to acknowledge it’s over.  Dick says that he and his allies are here to help, but Batman says to stand down.  In response, Grayson reminds Bruce that last time he shunned his allies when the Joker was around, they were all nearly killed.  But Batman explains that he just doesn’t have a plan right now and he needs everyone to just be safe and ready to act.

[Related: Batman Comic Book Reading Order Checklist]

Elsewhere, the Joker swims in unknown waters, smiling.

Dr. Paul Dekker spent a long time researching a process known as biological immortality.  With a medical thread the doctor developed used in conjunction with gene therapy, Dekker found a way to use these threads to preserve cells and keep them alive.  Batman finds Dekker’s lab, but is attacked by the mad scientist.  Crazy Quilt explains that the Joker came to him with the final piece of the formula the scientist has been looking for his entire life.

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Dekker insists that something exists on Earth that can keep people alive forever.  Adam Savage has been alive since the dawn of mankind thanks to being exposed to this substance in it’s raw form.  There’s also a man like a demon, who uses pits around the world to keep him alive, though this appears to be a corrupted form of immortality.  And finally him.  The link back to Gotham.  The pale one who laughs.  Who encountered this substance long before Gotham was even founded.

Batman manages to surprise Crazy Quilt and knock him out a window, pinning his quilt to the window sill and demanding to know where the Joker got this substance.  But Quilt says the substance is extinct and has been for centuries.  All that is left is what is in the Joker’s blood.

Over the radio, Julia contacts Batman.  The virus will kill everyone it has infected in 24 hours, maybe less.  She also ran a facial recognition on the Joker throughout Gotham’s history.  The villain is everywhere in Gotham that there’s been a major tragedy over the last two hundred years.  It’s possibly a trick, but if true it has to be the best photo doctoring Julia has ever seen.

Still hanging from the window, Dekker reveals that he has a copy of the immortality serum, but Batman assumes this is a trick the Joker has played on the doctor and warns Crazy Quilt not to take the formula.  But Dekker refuses to listen and injects himself with the serum, only for his body to instantly decay and fall to the ground, dead.

[Related: Batman Comic Book Reading Order Checklist]

Batman has had it.  This can’t be real.  Things can’t and won’t end this way.  Julia asks where Bruce is going, and Batman says he has to do something he’d never thought he would have to do.

Only one other group has been around since the very beginning of Gotham City.  This faction is the only one with potential answers as to just how long the Joker has been around.  Batman arrives at the Court of the Owls, and wants to have a little talk about history.

Batman #38 Recap

Hello and welcome to Comic Island.  My name is Arden, and this is my recap, and review, of Batman #38!

So for those of you who saw my last review of Batman #37 will know that I really liked that last comic.  The images and ideas that came out of #37 are bound to stick in my memory and imagination for some time.  End Game on the whole as a story and comic series has had a pretty solid start with the Justice League, but it was the surprise reveal of the Joker that’s really brought this story to maximum levels of intensity and awesomeness.

And I’m pleased to say issue number 38 lives up to the same standards.  This comic isn’t packed with the same crazy awesome moments as in the previous issue, but it does a really good job at living up to all the events and promises made so far in Endgame.

There’s so much good to talk about here.  The art is once again spot on and just gorgeous.  Honestly the art is reason enough to buy this comic all on it’s own.  But on top of that is a seriously well done story with so many cool parts.  I love Batman taking over a tank to get around Gotham to his next destination, or the potential for the Joker having been around since the day Gotham City was born.  If indeed the Joker is immortal, this would be a seriously cool twist on the villain and a very unexpected change in how we view Batman’s greatest enemy.  If, on the other hand, this is an elaborate trick, I still feel that’s consistent with the Joker’s character and it has to be one of the greatest and most elaborate schemes the villain has ever pulled off.

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In either case, that’s impressive.  There are even little things that I really like and stick out in this comic.  Batman has an awesome little moment with the boy Drew where they share a little fist bump and the hero even cracks a smile.  Bruce also shared a laugh with Alfred at the beginning of Endgame, and it feels like Batman is starting to return to form a bit to me back at a time when this character wasn’t driven entirely by grit and angst.  Yes, Batman is a serious hero who likes to maintain a hard edge and use fear against his enemies, but he’s still a person.  Human beings like to laugh with their friends, encourage and smile at children, and generally be more layered than the typical one dimensional brooding nature of Batman that I see all too often in Batman comics these days.

[Related: Batman Comic Book Reading Order Checklist]

A good comic is one where the hero is somebody the reader can relate to, and I feel like the writer Scott Snyder does a good job with ensuring this by investing little moments in showing Batman is a flawed, imperfect human just like everyone else.  It makes the stakes seem higher and the potential danger ever greater, and this serves to actively bring me better into the story.  This helps create the illusion that I’m seeing a story unfold and really makes things much more engrossing than the average comic book.

The only flaw that bugged me about the comic book was finding an axe in Jim Gordon’s chest like that.  I’m no expert, but it seems pretty obvious that wound like that should be fatal, but it’s pretty easy to ignore that and chalk this up to the effects of the Joker toxin.  It’s a nit-picky, minor point, but one that I feel is quite silly.  We all know Jim Gordon isn’t going to be permanently killed off or anything, so that threat doesn’t seem very real to me.  But like I said, this is a very minor point in what I view as an otherwise perfect Batman comic, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

Whatever the Joker has planned, things are bound to become more interesting, and I can’t wait to see how Batman’s meeting with his old enemies in the Owl Court goes next issue.  Without a doubt this has to be my favourite comic I’m reviewing at the moment, and Endgame is shaping up to be an awesome Batman story.  It’s hard to tell at this point, but though I don’t think this story will rank with the all time greatest Batman comics, it is memorable and good enough that I’m very glad I’m reading and reviewing this one.

Overall, this is a good solid comic book.  Do I recommend Batman #38?  Oh yes.   If you like Batman, you really should see Endgame for yourself.  You can buy this comic and Endgame through the Amazon links in the video description.


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