Well that was creepy.
So today I am going to be taking a look at Batman Annual #3 which also happens to be a tie-in to the current story arc, End Game. And man, does this story get really dark. We have plenty of themes here with friendship, obsession and haunting on a massive scale. But like the title implies, what is the end game to it all? Are we going to get any closer to understanding the Joker in this universe of Batman. A character who is very much close to the concepts of chaos and disorder, we see here is haunting a reporter consistently through out his life, crime after crime, the Joker pays his "friend" a visit. I am curious to see how this will all play out in the big story at the end, but I have the feeling it might just be a cool dark side story that takes place here. And as any one off story should, this one holds up really well on it's own. The Joker has been crafted and transformed into a sick and twisted monster, a monster that can't be explained, which for us is probably the scariest thing in the world. We are a culture of questions and answers, when we can't find or explain the question, well, we panic. So much for The Riddler though, Joker is truly the question without an answer.
A great tie in story is able to fall seamlessly with the main story, even with different heads at the creative steering wheel of each book. The writer and artist on this issue I am unfamiliar with their past works, but I would be inclined to look around and see what upcoming projects they have, because they do a damn good job on this book. And while being a Batman book, it feels more like a psychological horror film, with our main character being unable to escape this beast. The writer, James Tynion IV, does an excellent job here with introducing the safety and confidence of the journalist and takes us along the fall of his own sanity and reality, one could almost call it a Stockholm syndrome kind of ending. Helps with the overall creepy tone. And the artist, Roge Antonio complements the story as well along the way with some very amazing art, I loved the way he used the shadows to make the Joker look more and more like some kind of demon from the depths of hell. The pages with the "faceless" Joker are absolutely incredible looking, although I am huge fan of the look and concept of the deranged faceless freak. I almost wish he kept that look sometimes. Although not with the art itself, I would have liked to have seen more evolution with the different outfits and styles for the Joker, this is a story that takes place through different years and months, it would have been really cool to have seen that play out in the art as well. I also found it weird he never had the red lips in any of his looks. That aside though, these guys do some great work here.
Seeing as I am not sure how much impact this story will have overall, I am curious about a few things here. The journalist, Thomas Blackcrow, gets haunted for a few years in this book and I have to wonder, could he have signed up for witness protection or something? Why did he never try to get in touch with Batman? How come Batman never contacted this guy or even knew about him? Seems a bit strange, but this is me looking to deep into it, trying to find answers to all my questions. This still doesn't stop the issue from being a great and solid read, if you like your Batman books really dark with a side of horror, this is your cup of tea. I got to say, I highly recommend this one for everyone following the End Game story right now and if you get into it later, be sure to give it a read. It will also likely be included with the collection when it comes out later in the year. A haunting good time.
I wasn't sure if I was going to review this book first or issue 37, and by this time issue 38 should be out as well. It's been a blast reading this story so far, and I can't wait to see where Scott Snyder will takes us. As far as DC Comics go, this is the story to be reading right now. What do you guys think? Did you get a chance to read Annual #3 and if so, what did you think? Leave a comment below, tell you friends and be sure to follow this page for more and more comic book reviews and even little updates on my own projects. Thanks again as always, until then, keep chasing the storm!
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