Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and others
Pencillers: Greg Capullo and others
Collects Arkham Manor: Endgame #1, Batgirl: Endgame #1, Batman #35-40, Batman Annual #3, Detective Comics: Endgame #1, Gotham Academy: Endgame #1
“I’m afraid it’s his masterpiece, sir.” – Alfred Pennyworth
I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering how this book relates to the recently released Batman Vol. 7: Endgame and what is the difference. Usually when a book like this is released, it contains tie-in stories and the like; content designed to enrich the experience of the main story. The Joker: Endgame certainly has that in spades. What it also has is the “Endgame” story proper – in its entirety, mind you – that was just released in the latest Batman hardcover a week prior. Yes, that perplexed me as well.
This is going to be quite different from reviews that you’re used to reading that are written by me. Here’s what I’m going to do: I shall list what The Joker: Endgame contains that Batman Vol. 7: Endgame doesn’t so you as the consumer can make an informed decision as to which version you would like to purchase. I’m not going to reiterate my feelings regarding Batman Vol. 7: Endgame at length. If you want to read my review of that book, please click here. Here we go:
- Batman Annual #3: This tale sees the Joker torment a journalist over the course of several years. Just what happens when someone thinks Joker is a garden variety criminal dressed like a clown and not to be taken seriously? Find out here. It also makes one wonder if the Clown Prince of Crime is capable of having a friend – in his own special way, of course. Various dots are connected throughout The New 52 timeline, somewhat chronicling Joker’s history in this continuity. This has actually become one of my favorite Joker stories and is almost worth the price of admission by itself.
- Backup Stories: These were originally printed in Batman #35-39 but were missing from Batman Vol. 7. They show Arkham inmates sharing stories about who they think Joker really is. It plays into the immortality bit and also serves as a ghastly contest. One part Joker manipulating others and one part “If I have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice,” this yarn is not to be missed.
- Endgame One-Shots: These special issues of Arkham Manor, Detective Comics, Gotham Academy, and Batgirl are peppered throughout the tome, putting everything in a sort of chronological order. Some stories are better than others and broaden the “Endgame” experience in interesting ways, especially Gotham Academy. Batgirl is a silent issue. While it’s not Batman and Robin #18, it is still rather enjoyable.
My honest opinion is that you should pay the extra money to get the full experience provided by The Joker: Endgame. If you want to save money and read only the main story by way of Batman Vol. 7: Endgame, that’s fine. Both are wonderful books. I’m just saying why not have your meat and potatoes with some cake to go along with it?