The events of Batman Eternal saw Gotham change like never before. It was a widespread event that really shook the city down to its infamous foundations, along with every citizen in it. Batman himself was not left untouched, but as always, he and his allies found a way out of the harrowing year-long event. But what comes after that timeframe just might have been worse, as we see in the events that are Batman Endgame.
Batman Endgame is a storyline in the Batman mythos that ran for six issues under the DC imprint in 2014. It is set after the Batman Eternal events, and the storyline directly channels the events of the 2012 graphic novel; Death of the Family. It marks Joker’s return to Gotham, his first appearance since his string of crimes that left the Batfamily at odds with Batman.
Endgame also marks the 75th anniversary of Batman and Joker’s debut in the comics.
Both characters have always been in a sort of twisted relationship, but by the time Endgame starts, it has gotten even worse, and it is only a matter of time before things explode. Let’s take a look at what this epic encounter brought.
Batman Endgame History: Death of the Family Prelude
The events of Endgame take place in six issues, namely Batman issues #35 through 40. It begins where Death of the Family left off. In both, Joker had made plans to kill the bat family, just like he had done to Jason Todd.
He cited his reason as believing that Batman was now soft and that his allies made him so. His killing them was meant to wake Batman up again. He douses each family member in gasoline and holds them hostage within the caves leading up to the Batcave.
He also claims to have known the real identities of all Batman’s allies. Joker lures Batman into a trap and eventually proceeds to set his family on fire. However, the masked crusader saves his partners and chases after the clowned prince of crime. Their fight ends up at the top of a lodge, which eventually ends up with Joker throwing himself over the edge to his apparent death.
Endgame: The Beginning
Of course, the Joker never really dies. A year later, as he sleeps in his bed at Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne is attacked. His assailant turns out to be a crazed Wonder Woman. Surprised, Bruce manages to change into Batman and fend off his colleague before the rest of the Justice League arrive to attack him as well. They then break into malicious smiles and start laughing maniacally. It is then Batman realizes that the Joker is alive, and he is back in Gotham.
Batman tracks down the Joker to his old cell at Arkham Asylum but ends up trapped by the clown. The Joker explains his evil plan; to burn Gotham and the Caped Crusader altogether. Alfred and his daughter Julia save Batman, but they bring bad news. All of Gotham has been infected with Joker Toxin and Jim Gordon, leaving Batman with fewer resources as time passes on.
Batman Endgame: The Plan
Realizing his lack of options, Batman confronts a crazed scientist by the name of Dr. Dekker. Dekker is a mad scientist released from incarceration to the Joker under an alias. Batman believes Dekker can find a cure to the toxin, but Dekker turns out to be a joker fanatic, even calling Joker an immortal entity. Before Batman can stop him, he injects himself with a serum given to him by Joker, which causes him to rot instantly.
Batman has no other options now, and so he makes his way to the Court of Owls. Society refuses to help him, but Batman leaves, having already gotten all he needs by way of information. Joker holds a parade in town to taunt the caped crusader. On the other hand, Batman has a plan in motion and recruits members of the Batfamily to help him execute it and take down the Joker.
He enlists the help of Red Hood, Batgirl, Robin, and a handful of his rogues’ gallery containing criminals he has fought in the past. He tells them they need to put aside their past differences and join forces, or else they would lose Gotham forever and everyone in it.
It turns out that Batman’s plan to gather up allies and take down the Joker is actually just a decoy. His real plan is to distract the Joker long enough for him to find a cure underneath Gotham’s caves. For a while, this actually works until Joker figures out exactly what his nemesis has planned. He tracks Batman down to the caves, where the two get into the bloodiest of fights.
As they beat each other to respective pulps, a pool glows in a bright shade of green. This same pool that the Joker has used to keep himself strong and healthy, with its healing components saving his body even when he is severely injured.
It is the cure to the toxin that Batman needs if only he can defeat the Joker. The Joker explains his sudden desire to destroy everything all these years, describing his and Batman’s relationship destroyed. He considers them tainted and screams that the joke is finally over, and the laughter he once found in fighting him now dead.
As he makes to deliver the final blow, a stalactite falls and injures the Joker severely. He tries to make his way to the pool to get healed, but Batman stops him from doing so. He holds on to him and gras a sample of the pool to send above to his allies.
The rest of the cave begins to crumble, and as it buries both Batman and the Joker beneath its rubble. Batman dies content knowing that he has stopped the Joker and saved his city.
Batman Endgame: The Aftermath
Endgame is the final act in the long history of Batman and Joker. After years of them fighting each other, they end up supposedly dead by their respective hands, after seeing Him Gordon at the helm of a Bat Mech suit, the events patrolling the city and keeping it safe in Batman’s stead.
Surprisingly, Bruce Wayne makes it out of that rubble, but at a great cost. He has lost his memory and begins working at a youth center, not remembering his time as Gotham’s protector.
It turns out he actually was near death, but the pool’s contents seeped into him and healed his wounds. In a real sense, Batman did die that day, but also did the Joker, along with their decades-long feud and its destruction.