Look out DC, because in the month of February, 2015, your comic book covers are going to be attacked by Harley Quinn. So go on. Get Scott Snyder to mount the barricades. Or ask Greg Capullo to call in the troops. It won't matter. Nothing will ever matter. Ever, ever again.

To QUOTE WH Auden: 'We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know'.

Out of the following three factions who do you think says to Batman, 'No. We won't help you save Gotham City. We'd rather the Joker kill everyone living there with his deadly virus. You know. The said-same virus he's somehow siphoned from his own poisoned spine'.  Well, could it have been...

  1. The Court of Owls: The age old secret society chock full of assassins and thieves that wants to save Gotham from itself.
  2. The Bat-Family: Including the likes of Red-Robin, Bluebird, Red Hood, and Batgirl.
  3. A group of Arkham Inmates: Such as Killer Croc, Bane, Scarecrow, Mister Freeze, Clayface, Penguin, plus another character who will soon appear in the Suicide Squad.
Now if you want to know the answer to this question, then please, for the love of Queen and Country, don't ask Alfred Pennyworth! Because at the moment he has his hand's full with a certain someone that's good at laughing, appearing in backup features, and throwing street parties.

CHOP!!!! Ouch!

Or should that be, 'hand full'? Singular.

Now there are many words I could use to define this penultimate part of End Game. 'Gruesome', would be one of them -- especially when you look at those gruesome scenes involving Alfred Pennyworth's hand, or the Joker's ear. 'Evolving', would be another -- mainly because the basic arc of this chapter involved Batman asking a number of people to help him out with his quest, one at a time. Yet for me, personally speaking, the best word I could use to define this tale with, would have to be 'What the F*ck?'.

Yes. I do know that's more than one word. And yes. I also know that I could have used such word's as 'Pardon?' or 'Ops!'. But hey! Let's face facts. 'F*ck' is a word that has many inflections and meanings. And to me, this is the type of word you need for an issue that's full of surprises, intrigue, and adventure.

Admittedly, I can't actually tell you what I mean by this without spoiling the story. Yet what I can say is that in it you will see the Bat-Family reunited and kicking ass with some additional help, an amazing scene between Alfred and the Joker, plus what I presume to be a homage of sorts to Tim Burtons first Batman movie (i.e. party-party-party).

If you've read the last couple of issues of Batman and Robin -- most notably issues 35 to 37 -- you'll see a number of sequences denoting the reunion of the Batman family after all this time apart. So, when I saw them coming together again in this very issue without a single one of them even mentioning these occurrences -- minus the super-powered Damien Wayne no less -- I was kind of confused where this story-line actually took place within continuity.

Not that this is a major gripe mind you. It's just that I would have liked some sort of 'flag pole' stating where these events transpired within the scheme of things.

Also, something else about this adventure I wasn't too keen on was Alfred's hard-core manicure. I mean, hasn't Alfie-boy been through enough already, without having to prepare himself for a Luke Skywalker type appendage? Poor git.

In essence this escapade was about one person, or person's, helping someone else out with a problem they're having. So, when I put it in those terms, how can I not musically match it up with the Beatles classic, 'With A Little Help From My Friends'.

Still sticking with my help-themed comparison, and I'd say a good one for this comic book would be a teacher. Well, let's face it. Who else do you turn to at a time of need? A policeman, perhaps? A doctor? A parental figure? Or what about a... a... a... errr? I'm not helping very much here, am I? Let's just say anyone who's helpful, and leave it at that.

In closing my review -- well, I think it's a review -- I'd just like to mention how much I loved reading this issues back-up feature. Again, without giving too much away, even though in essence nothing much was concluded throughout it's telling, in the same breath it did manage to titivate me about the Jokers own origins.

You see, being a bit of a crime buff myself, I did find it fairly fascinating that 'Mahreen' tried to encapsulate Mister J's 'path of madness' in a somewhat conventional manner. Almost as if to show that he was a normal sap that lost his lunch when he was a kid, before starting his own one man crime wave for no particular reason what-so-ever.

Now from my point of view, yeah, this could be an entirely plausible sequence of events, although completely unlikely at the same time. Well, all you've to do is to look at the lives of people such as Ted Bundy, BTK, Ed Gein, Charles Manson, and Aileen Wuornos -- to name but a few -- and you can see for yourself that most murders, killers, and psychopaths have a root, a stem, a reason for killing that derives from someplace, somewhere, that seems to fester both physically and naturally within their own being.

So yeah. The Joker could easily be a guy who one day went a bit nutty in the head. However, to get to that day, something needed to happen to him to trigger off his nutty-ness.  Something observational perhaps. Or maybe something biological. But something had to have happened nonetheless.

Nuff said.