Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia
Lettering by Steve Wands
Published by DC Comics
Review by David Pepose
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
With the dozens of foes Batman has faced over the years, it's largely assumed that he's fighting a never-ending battle. So what kind of threat could possibly bring Batman to his Endgame? Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo start their new arc with a bang, as a Batman fights against the biggest, most indomitable foes he's ever seen...
The Justice League.
As you might expect given the story premise, this comic is all action, all the time. While the idea of Batman coming up with tricks and traps against his superhero pals isn't a new idea, Snyder really leverages Capullo's hard-hitting art style by making this a visceral battle. With the Dark Knight encased in a giant suit of technological Bat-armor, you get that sort of gleeful violence that Frank Miller once defined in The Dark Knight Returns. Capullo throws in some great beats, like Wonder Woman literally getting the tiara knocked off her head with a shattering punch, or the Flash getting tripped at such speed that he brings an entire building down in his wake. It's the sort of showdown that readers argue about and salivate over - calling it "fan service" might not be quite doing it justice.
The devil may be in the details, and that's also what makes Batman #35 a treat. Scott Snyder may open this issue with his usual method of discussing Gotham's history and architecture, but it's actually hardly necessary - you can tell he's thought about the Justice League a lot, and so he throws cool twists on the Lasso of Truth or Aquaman's absorbent qualities that'll make you want to high-five Bruce Wayne. Capullo also sells the hell out of these moments, particularly a sequence when the Flash begins ripping off pieces of Bruce's suit - with a single piece of Bat-machinery hanging in space, you really get the sense of slow motion, even as the armor triangulates the fastest man alive. (And while I know Aquaman is the butt of every joke, I personally found it hilarious how Snyder and Capullo dispatched him in the span of two panels. One day they'll respect you, Arthur. One day.)
If there's one thing that hampers this issue, it's the timing. Unless you're paying close attention to the editor's note, you might be surprised to discover this series takes place after Batman: Eternal, a series that's still running continuously for another five months. Not only does it flat-tire another series - a series that costs exponentially more for readers to follow - by showing the status quo is the same as it ever was, but we're in this weird sort of limbo because we have no idea where Batman or his family really stands right now. The other thing that trips up this issue a bit comes after you put it down - namely, the mastermind behind the League's ambush. Giving us the reveal on the last page, Snyder has given himself some breathing room to explain the logic behind this story, but at first blush, it's a bit of a stretch.
Besides the minor story hiccups, however, this is a great way to dive back into Batman, after months languishing in the past with "Zero Year." For the first time, Scott Snyder gets to bring in other elements of the DC Universe into his street-level, tough-as-nails Gotham, and the fireworks are about as big and fun as you'd expect. As far as first chapters go, "Endgame's" super-powered brawl shows this arc has the potential to be a knockout.