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Batman #40 Spoiler Review: What did that ending mean?

batman 40 review what happened the ending

This was it, the finale of Batman: Endgame, Batman #40 promised to make some big changes to Batman, and it sure did. Things are about to get really different for Bruce Wayne and Batman, that’s for sure. So let’s discuss Batman #40!

So Batman #40 and the entire Batman: Endgame arc was set up to be the Joker stories to end all Joker stories. The finale saw Batman and Joker in “one final” showdown (though will there ever be an end to Batman vs Joker?).

First thing’s first, the Joker is not immortal. I know many people were having a crisis on the internet because they thought bloody Scott Snyder turned the Joker into this immortal character, but don’t worry, immortal he is not! Turns out that after Death of the Family arc where Joker fell, he found the dionesium. This helped him heal himself, but by no means meant he was wandering Earth for hundreds of years.

Joker just wanted Batman to think he was immortal. It was supposed to be the ultimate joke. As I have mentioned many times, the Joker is an absurdist character. He believes that there is no meaning in life, and that life is crazy, chaotic and random. And instead of trying to find meaning in a chaotic world, it’s better to just be chaotic with it. You know if can’t beat it, join it instead? Batman on the other, wants to make sense of life. His life was formed by a random act of violence against his parents, and ever since then has tried to make sense of things.

batman 40 review joker batman fight

Making Batman believe the Joker was immortal, was Joker’s way of telling Batman how random, chaotic and pointless life was. The Joker was making fun of the meaning and sanctity of life by pretending to be this immortal guy.

In the previous issue I discussed how the Joker emphasising he was immortal, was to also emphasise to Batman that he was just a man. Not a god like his other Justice League members, just a man who had limits.

batman 40 review

And here is where everything starts to tie in. In the final battle between the Joker and Batman, the Joker says “fighting for meaningless but giving meaning by virtue of the fight”. Already Joker can see he is a hypocrite to his own worldview. We often think that because the Joker is such a chaotic character, he doesn’t care about dying. However at the end of the battle, the Joker had such a human moment.

He pleaded with Batman, to let him go, so that he could live. In that very moment, Batman was the monster holding him down, and the Joker was just a man who wanted to live. It was an interesting reverse role situation. Bruce did become Batman to become the fear, to be a monster for the monsters in Gotham. And Batman #40 showed us that he well and truly achieved that goal, he even made the Joker fearful. Who knew that was even possible!!!

batman 40 joker batman friend

But now let’s get to that ending. What exactly happened at the ending of Batman #40? For me to discuss this, I will be getting into spoilers for future issues so read at your own risk!

Okay so in the ending of Batman #40 we find out that Bruce left a death note. The note reading ‘HA’, and at the end of the issue we see a guy throwing a breastplate into the garbage. So what’s the significance? If you remember back to the beginning of the Endgame arc in issue #35, the issue opens up with Bruce talking about Gotham’s Royal Theatre. Bruce’s friend Wade built a special harness holding a breastplate for the play, for the part where Apollo comes down to save everyone,  “At the end of the play there was a deus ex machina. A moment where a god, Apollo, descends from the sky to save the characters from destruction”. Wade goes on to say, “I want everyone in the theatre to believe in that god coming down to help. I just want them to feel saved”.

batman 40 last panel ha

And it’s the very same breastplate that gets thrown into the bin at the end of Batman #40. So is Bruce this god figure? Deus ex Machina is often used to describe a convenient and unexpected event/object/power that saves a ‘seemingly hopeless situation’, usually some kind of weird plot device. So perhaps something weird and crazy happened, and saved Bruce. And maybe now Bruce is also this god figure like Apollo. 

Sounds like I’m talking shit, but a leaked page from the Divergence issue from Free Comic Book Day has come out, and shows us that Bruce Wayne Batman (not Jim Gordon, who will be the new Batman) is some kind of Bat-god now. Yes we all know the jokes about Batman being a Bat-god (BECAUSE I’M BATMANNNNN!) but apparently it’s becoming a thing now.

batman divergence leaked panel bat-god

As with most comic book stories, this will probably be very temporary and have some kind of understandable-ish explanation to it all. I’m just glad Bruce Wayne will still be around!

Maybe Batman will be some kind of god for a little while, and then go back to normal, re-emphasising to himself that he is just a man, revealing his limits to himself once again. Sometimes Bruce does need to be reminded he is just a man, so perhaps becoming a god, and then going back to being a normal human will do just that. 

Or maybe the breastplate in the bin is signifying the tragedy. That Bruce is dead. But we all know that isn’t true so who knows right now what it all means.

This is all speculation and we will find out what’s going on, on Free Comic Book day this weekend (yayy for not having to wait long).

So let us not freak out about this change until we find out the context of the situation.

Anyways, overall Batman #40 was an amazingly intense and suspenseful issue, which provided us with a very human moment for the Joker. It will definitely be interesting to see where Batman goes from now, and if he really is Bat-god now! 9/10.

Random thoughts:

  • So Alfred’s hand really got chopped off huh? Wow, that’s intense. Will he get his hand back? They said they still have it, but he doesn’t seem keen to get it back. Will we now be getting a one-handed Alfred!!
  • Dick Grayson was Batman!! Didn’t see that coming, it’s always good to see Grayson pop up, though won’t this mean Barbara and co. will find out that he isn’t actually dead?

Please share this post if you enjoyed xx 🙂 

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11 replies »

  1. Not sure why, but yeah, I haven’t seen nearly enough discussion about the final panel and the imagery of the Apollo armor in the trash. Such great symmetry to the story arc, and also ties together Death of the Family, which you may recall also ends with a note that says HA! juxtaposed against a fly, which has become a symbol of the Joker for Capullo. This time we have the same note, HA!, juxtaposed against a symbol for Batman. Both are leaving reminders. I’m not sure what to make of the armor being in the garbage. My first take is that it’s a tragedy, like Alfred says. When you start Endgame, you think Bruce’s speech about Apollo is foreshadowing. We think Batman is going to be the deus ex machina; he’s going to descend and save everyone. But he doesn’t. He dies, and the armor is a symbol of his failure. That’s what I *thought*

    HERE’S WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT: That final panel? It’s a flashback. In the foreground on one of the panels on that page we see the shadow of a father and son walking–it’s Bruce and his dad! We see the silhouette of the R symbol that Bruce wore as a kid in Zero Year. The theater? It’s destroyed, desolate, but we know from the beginning of Endgame that the theater was just restored (and went way over-budget in the process)

    The ending is actually hopeful–it ends on a shot of what Gotham was like before Batman, before he, Apollo, descended and saved the city.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow! Really interesting analysis, I forgot about that hat he wore. Hmm I like that take, I don’t like that everyone is assuming Batman has to be this tragic figure. He’s meant to be a symbol of fear to his criminals, but a symbol of hope to the rest of Gotham. I like the way you’ve interpreted the ending

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome arc! snyder and capullo nailed it once more. But i want to add something on the theories of that final panel. Its not a flashback, cause if you have read divergence special, youll see the exact same panel!!! in the batman story, this panel shows again. And i believe is referencied to bruce and his dad, but now, is bruce and his son! see the guy with the kid with the robin hat? he is really bad injuried, and has a mark in the same spot where joker hurt batman with his sharpened cards, next to his left eye. Sorry for possible mistakes in the writing, havent oficially learned english, just what i know from reading in english and other stuff. What i believe is that bruce is still alive, but does not want to return as the hero who won. cause he doesnt feel he’s won, he got by surprise against the joker, the ultimates of surprises we may say! and even tough he saved the city, he let himself believe for a moment that the joker could be more than what he looked. So now has to become more than what he is. A couple of years ago, snyder said in an interview that one of the thinsg he liked the most from morrison run washow he depicted batman larger thanlife in some way, with the nanda parbat and the thogal thing. That he wanted to show at how extent bruce wants to and actually is prepared for things to come, even his possible death someday. Dont you find convenient that instead of dying, he lefts, seaking (in this new contnuity) that wich he havent prepared for yet? the ultimate surprise, as was depicted in the most epic of fights, the fight with a joker that could have killed him because was more than batman at that time, not for his speed, or his strenght, but because bruce was still thinking if there was a way that he could be larger than life. Bruce doesnt wants to know how can someone, even him, become more than a mortal. He embracesthat part of himself, as snyder said at the end of endgame. But bruce does want to be prepared for every eventuallity, even the last one of them all: finding someone who cna know more about life and death than him. That was in the first place what made him goe to test himself with the thogal ritual, knowing what was death, and what lied beyond that point for a human. Sorry for the longest of commentaries. but i do see snyder and capullo going for this one, their version of the ultimate training test batman hast to pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha don’t be sorry, it’s a great comment and Interesting theory! I didn’t notice the injuries thing before. But yeah it really was a big test for Batman, and this ordeal with Joker really made him question himself and his limits because of what the Joker was doing to him. How he comes back from this arc will be interesting that’s for sure

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have but one problem regarding The Joker and Pale man.
    We ‘ve seen him appear in all those photos,years,decades,maybe even century ago.(Gordon figured that out)
    Could it be that he rigged newspaper articles ,photos just to mess with Batman?

    Like

  4. gosh, I’ve just started reading Batman and maybe picked the wrong issue to start out with xD I loved it so much though and I’m hella ready to strap down and read issue 1 through 39 🙂 awesomesauce post!

    Like

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