Batman 37 gave us a Batman who has come into crisis over his mortality, and gave us a Joker who’s immortal? In another fantastic chapter of Endgame, we finally see some real fear in Bruce, brought out by the one guy who knows how to bring out fear the best. So let’s discuss Batman 37 and what the heck is going on with the Joker. (Spoilers for Batman 37 follow)
“Stare back and tell yourself you’re more than a man…he’s just another criminal…You’re bigger than your feelings. Bigger than your body. Your heart, your eyes, you’re Batman”.
Batman to other people has always been more of a myth and legend. Is he human? Is he a vampire? Does he sleep? Eat? He’s always seemed more than human to those who hear about his story. But really, he’s just a man. But to fight the terror that raids through Gotham (on a daily basis) he needed to become more than a man. So he built himself up to become this amazing legend. But then the Joker rolls back into town, gives Bats a huge slap in the face and tells him, you’re nothing more than just a man who can and will die.
What has always been fascinating about the Joker/Batman story, is the parallels you draw from their characters. The parallels often come from ideas of order and chaos, but Batman 37 gave us another one, mortality and immortality.
In Batman 37, the continuation of the Endgame arc continues. Joker has released a seemingly incurable toxin out onto the streets, turning Gotham into complete chaos (but really when is that place not chaotic). Patient zero is being kept at a hospital, that is thought to be haunted because of all the weird tragedy that has occurred in it. As Gordon flips through old newspaper articles about the hospital and it’s tragedies, he sees a familiar face in the background of the images.
Well it’s none other than the Joker himself! But how can that be? These incidents happened decades ago. Joker being the creepy dude he is, comes out from underneath Gordon’s bed with a bloody axe (remind me to check under my bed before I go to sleep tonight), and of course tries to kill him. But Gordon kills him first! Well that was easy!
Well it’s not. As Gordon breathes a sigh of relief to Batman about what just happened, in the background we see the Joker rise up from the flames, even though we just saw him dead! What is happening??? Is the Joker immortal?
Throughout Batman 37, Bruce continues to reassure himself that he is more than a man, that he can solve this problem. But as the story progresses the Joker reminds Batman that he is just a mortal man, and he’s not going to be able to solve every problem the world chucks at him.
But let’s get back to this whole immortal Joker thing. Is the Joker immortal? No. I think this whole immortal thing is more of a metaphor. The Joker is creating this immortal illusion purely to piss of Batman. To show Batman that he’s so much more than him, that Batman’s whole crusade is meaningless because if you can never kill the Joker, that is the Joker effectively saying, you can never complete your life purpose. You can never keep people safe. Your actions are pointless.
The Joker is pure evil, and he’s definitely showing that in Batman 37. The Joker may not be immortal, but he does know how to put on a show, and completely turn Batman’s life upside down.
Interesting note at the end of Batman 37 Joker calls Batman ‘Bruce’. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Joker story where he has called him Bruce. This is just him reminding Bruce that he is just a man. At the beginning of the issue Batman reassures himself that he is more than just a man, he’s Batman. But then at the end of the issue, Joker calls him Bruce and gives him a stark reminder that he is just a man, he’s Bruce.
Batman 37 was another great issue from Snyder and Capullo, and showed us why the Joker will always be Batman’s greatest foe.
Categories: comic books