Batman Review & Spoilers: Detective Comics: Endgame #1 By Brian Buccellato, Roge Antonio & Ronan Cliquet, Nick Filardi

Detective Comics - Engame review spoilers

untitled (20 pages)
Story by: Brian Buccellato
Art by: Roge Antonio & Ronan Cliquet
Colors by: Nick Filardi
Letters by: Dave Sharpe
Cover by: Marcus To & Gabe Eltaeb
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

It makes perfect sense that the Joker’s latest hare-brained/hell-raising scheme spreads across the Bat-Universe. Literally!! There are four one-shots that provide an extended view of the goings-down of the always targeted Gotham City. This is the first of the quartet.

A gratuitous shot of the Dark Knight zeroing in on the crowd of clowns graces the first page. It’s evident that Batman will not be the main star in this book. Instead, a group of young urban Gothamites are thrown into the spotlight. A teen named Lonnie is feverishly texting his mom. Four rapid-fire messages are sent. Given the permeance in pop culture, one cannot not mention the phrase ‘zombie apocalypse’. Accurate, sorta. This is DC and the Joker has made his mark.

Lonnie’s hiding place is no longer effective as two Jokerized cops draw guns on him. Hasn’t this guy watched Scream and been educated in the do’s and don’ts of horror movies? 1. Never poke your head out when trying to be invisible, no matter how tempting! 2. Never run into an alley. How brilliant is that? That dumb move gets you cornered. Lonnie avoids the bullets and stumbles. 3. Never look back when running. 4. Never face your killer. It looks like he’s done for when two hands whisk him away. His rescuer is another young man named Dax. The cops reload and continue to shoot. Dax and Lonnie make it to the other side of the building where the coast seems clear.

Lonnie must be a hardcore fan of The Walking Dead since he has a massive zombie fixation. All seems lost when he magically uses his phone to crack a code into a secure building. He modestly tells Dax that it’s an app of his own creation. Dax proceeds to correct him by asking if Lonnie has heard of a certain clown prince of crime aptly named The Joker. Surprisingly, Lonnie isn’t that well-versed on Batman’s rogues’ gallery. Dax informs him that a toxin cooked up by Mr. Looney Toon has driven most of the citizens to stark raving madness. Dax is on a mission to help out his friends Dre and Riko who are tussling with infected children and tweens.

Dax jumps right in, literally! The trio easily subdue the youth with zip ties. Lonnie spectates from above and utters a new slang term: “That was beast!” As an educator of adolescents, I will avow that this is my very first time that I come across this jargon. The Three Amigos are as close as you can get to real-life urban super-heroes. Riko flatly states “We’re just us.” As Lonnie officially introduces himself, Dax tells his buddies that Lonnie used an app to break in. When Riko looks at his cell, she recognizes his handiwork as Moneyspider. Who?!? The guy who hacked into Wayne Enterprises. Uh-oh!! It won’t be long before the Bat’s on his tail. Dre curbs their curiosity for the time being and reminds them of their mission: one more room to secure. Lonnie stays put. He continues to try sending those texts. Unfortunately, they’re all undelivered. He may not be able to use SMS but he spies some PCs. He accesses the security cams at the club where she is employed. Things look grim. She’s surrounded by some crazies.

Lonnie has bolted. Riko spots his activity on the PC. He’s gone in search of a woman named Greta who works at a strip club and who has the same last name as him. Being boys, they surmise it’s his girlfriend, possibly his wife. Riko snaps them out of their reverie and points out it’s his mother. Bad just got worse. It’s not the Joker’s ‘minions’ that are storming the club. They are mob hit men. Random!! They look like gnarling bald versions of Mr. J to me.

Lonnie hasn’t even made much headway. His attempts at parkour are extremely amateur. With a can of mace and more luck that he deserves, he is able to jump across. Wait. Someone scooped him up and carried him over. A long black cape is seen descending in the distance. It has to be the Bat!! The others catch up with Lonnie. Dre is gushing, asking his comrades if they are aware of the saviour’s identity. Turn the page and enter…Batwoman!!! Lonnie is determined to make his way through the mêlée. The others rain on his parade by mentioning the feat is pretty much impossible. Lonnie sure has pluck. He can’t accept defeat. He plunges and grabs a zipline. Unless it’s a typo, Riko screams out “What the neck?!” Another new phrase of which I’m unaware? Batwoman yells at Lonnie to release himself from the line. She has to lunge in the air to get him down.

Batwoman is a bit stunned since she took the brunt of the impact against a brick wall. Red Robin enters the fray. He jokingly criticizes her landing and uses the epithet ‘ginger’. He also brags of his 10-point entrance. The trio gracefully come down the zipline. Riko is ga-ga over Batwoman’s beauty. Lonnie has to make it to the East Side of town. Red Robin and Batwoman have a rendezvous with Batman, thus they can’t stay to help. Presumably, Robin makes a call and now Spoiler becomes the bodyguard. Riko is completely starstruck. She’s having the time of her life encountering three members of the Bat-Squad. She’s definitely crossed off her bucket list. Lonnie is astounded by the kindness of strangers. Spoiler thinks it’s a no-brainer. They take an abandoned subway route to get to the other side.

The quintet have arrived at the club without incident. Lonnie sends an assuring message to his mom. Spoiler provides the teens with tranq guns. There are only four shots in each of them so every single one has to count. Just before they storm into battle, Lonnie has an epiphany. He ruffles through some crates and pulls out blank-faced masks. With red spray can in hand, he tells the others that the joke will be on the hit men. Begin pseudo-Joker transformation. The plan works. They clear a path to the centre of the club. Greta has been reached. Not a hair on her head has been harmed. All’s well that ends well. Dax exclaims “That’s beast.” This is also Lonnie’s new code-name I would expect unless he ends up using Moneyspider.

It is with utmost certainty that this one-shot is a launching pad for one of DC’s newer titles coming in June. I deduce that it’ll be WE ARE ROBIN. Even though I already read a blurb on who’ll be headlining that book, I’m sure these four newfound friends will (re)appear there. Don’t be fooled by the absence of red, yellow, and green. Ish…You all know what I mean 😉

Brian Buccellato created such magic with Francis Manapul on THE FLASH. The two gents are the current creative team of DETECTIVE COMICS. Mr. Buccellato has more than enough experience to occasionally go solo. He captures the juvenescence well enough employing the proper vocabulary and highlighting the mannerisms befitting of the group. The story is told in straightforward fashion with a linear progression. However, there is one gaping plot hole that leaves a giant question mark over my head. If Lonnie hasn’t really heard of the Joker, how the heck does he know to paint the masks with the exact smile indicative of the homicidal maniac? Also, how does he know where to find masks in an assortment of crates? I’ve heard of inspiration but this is a bit far-fetched. By the same token, how does Dre distinguish bad-ass hit men from the newly-minted psychos? They pretty much resemble one another!!

Two individuals are needed to illustrate a twenty-page story. I’m not cutting this since I’m not in the industry. I will theorize this: perhaps it’s to equally expose each artist’s abilities. Once again, I’ve not heard of these men. Roge Antonio sketches a grittier and grimmer atmosphere. His hard lines really focus on Dax’s life on the street and accentuate Lonnie’s anguish. Ronan Cliquet takes a cleaner approach. The characters are easily identifiable and more distinguishable.

Nick Filardi has more than enough bright colours at his disposal but he mutes them rather than make them outlandish. This is in line with the dark, despairing city that is Gotham. He maintains consistency throughout, providing a palpable realism to a metropolis of villains and vigilantes. In a deliberate nod (by the writer? the artists?) to the Robin motif, he subtly paints the colours. One would actually have to be a brand-new reader to not realize it. For those in the dark, I’m referring to Riko on page 15, panel 2.

Dave Sharpe easily stuffs sentences into bigger balloons. He also expertly crafts the digital font commonly found on cell phones for messaging purposes.

***I like to be well-informed and do the same for you, dear readers. After pausing to proofread and research, I leave you with this: Roge Antonio and Nick Filardi recently worked on BATMAN ANNUAL #3, an “Endgame” tie-in. I own this book and read it. Apologies for not noticing :$ ***

***Ronan Cliquet has mostly made his bread and butter on MARVEL ADVENTURES, the all-ages line of titles geared towards children. Once again, my bad :/ ***

As a sidenote, this story gives a down-to-earth P.O.V. from average joes who are far removed from the capes and cowls. There is a set-up established. Nonetheless, there isn’t enough to pique one’s curiosity or whet one’s appetite as things are easily resolved despite the blatant “the beginning…” at the end.

I give this book a 6 out of 10 for its street-level performance.

6, graffiti style

Tags: , , , ,