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To QUOTE John Philpot Curran: 'My dear doctor, I am surprised to hear you say that I am coughing very badly, as I have been practising all night'.
Running against the clock Batman and his group of allies try to track down the elusive 'Patient Zero', with the intent of finding a cure to prevent the Jokers dastardly airborne virus.
So far their plan has only been... cough-cough... partly successful. Even though Batman and Gordon has figured out who... cough-cough... 'Patient Zero' actually... cough-cough... is, Ha! That doesn't necessarily mean... Ha! Cough-cough... they'll be... Hahahaha! Ha! Hehehe! Cough! Joker. Chill. Bang-Bang! Death. Blah-blah-blah!
Oh! Sorry. I'm so sorry about that. I don't know what's coming over me. Anyway, meanwhile in the back up feature, some big fat man talks to a woman with glasses about... hahahahahahaaha! Hahahahahahahahahaahhahahaha! Hahahahahahaah! Hha! Hhahahahaahahahahahahahahahahaahhahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahaah! Cough!
OK. So this is the third part of 'End Game'. And as we all know, part three of a book can do either one of two things. It can either step up its game where the overall narrative is concerned. Or it can dawdle around slightly and prolong the premise for another month.
In this case, though, well, it's both of these things I suppose. The first section of the story involved Batman and his gang figuring out what he had to do next. Where as the second section was about him and Jim trying to stay alive and help save the day.
Admittedly. I can't go into too much detail or else I might spoil the surprises in store. Although what I can say is that I'm loving Julia's inclusion, especially how she interacts with those around her. Plus I also liked the fact that Jim showed up after his fairly long absence, as it gave this yarn one hell of an intriguing revelation.
Now what this revelation is -- and if it's true or not -- once again I cannot say. This time though not for spoiling the surprise, but because it isn't very clear if this is true or not. Such as....
Now there was a scene depicted in this issue where Batman came face to face with the Jokerized 'Patient Zero'. However, as soon as this transpired, immediately thereafter it was overlaid with two other scenes -- with one of them involving Batman elsewhere no less -- thus giving this segment a rather confusing tone.
Granted, I understood that this nuance did give this multi-layered scene a very suspenseful and fast paced edge. Yet in the same breath, as I said before, it was very confusing too. Making me unsure what was real and what was not, at every given turn of the page.
Also, if you read this story back to back with the story-line currently running in the Justice League book -- part two of 'The Amazo Virus' -- you can't help but notice how similar they both are on a conceptual level (i.e. A hero has to find a patient so he can discover a cure, blah-blah-blah).
For a change I thought I'd musically match up this comic book with a song that's nothing like it at all. 'And why would I want to do such a thing?', you might ask yourself. Well, blame Jim Gordon's ring tone. Because it played the Bobby Fuller classic, 'I Fought The Law, And The Law Won'.
Without giving too much away there was a segment amidst this adventure where Batman compared the process of coughing to the process of laughing. Stating that basically they're both the same thing yet on different levels. So, if he can do it, why cant' I?
On the whole I'd say this issue was like a cough. Even though it is distracting in places, at the same time there's a sense of release about it as well.
Ops! I almost forgot to mention the back-up feature, didn't I? Well, worry not, dear reader. As I thought this would be a pretty good space to say what I thought about it, as well as the many others I almost overlooked.
You see, overall I felt the concept behind this supplementary story-line was a pretty good idea on paper. Essentially it allowed a hand full of old school Bat-artists to return to this book, whilst relaying a tale about what each Arkham inmate thought about the Joker. Admittedly, by in large this piece was constantly being overpowered by the main tale. Plus on occasion they did feel a bit tagged on -- or wedged in -- as if to give Scott an excuse to say something he couldn't fit into his 'End Game' narrative.
Having said that, though, that's not to say these stories weren't enjoyable to read, because they did come across with a unified flavour where it's Jokerised tone is concerned.
Hey! Let's face it. Who is the Joker? And what is he all about? I mean, is there any truth to their being a previous incarnation of old pale face? And if there is, why is it only now that this fact is being revealed? Also, if you think about it, this question does roll on over to Mr J knowing Bruce's origins too.
Truth or Lie? Nuff said. For now.