As shown on the cover, writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo throw the Justice League at Batman. Following the epic scope and defining events of “Zero Year,” Snyder’s continues to layer on specific details that describe the minutiae and particulars of Gotham, past and present in the opening pages of this issue before completely plunging Gotham City, once more, into its as-expected state of chaos.
Snyder and Capullo begin “Batman” #35 with a brief history of the Gotham Royal Theater as told by Bruce Wayne. A page turn brings on an apparent chemical attack, chased by a leap into a dystopian battlefield where Batman, Bluebird and Lark fight a seemingly losing battle, and then back to the present. The dystopian vision is quickly explained, sorted and put on track so the Justice League can make good on the mÃªlee promised on the cover. That doesn’t mean that Snyder and Capullo have abandoned that scuffle — it just means that the rest of this issue turns the spotlight onto the League.
Batman has had a history of fighting the League or providing blueprints to bring down his allies, but Snyder manages to freshen it, setting up a battle royale certain to keep fans on the edge of their seats. Certainly no match for a coordinated attack from the League, Batman faces his allies one at a time, giving Snyder and Capullo room to showcase Batman’s most recent plans. The dynamic creative duo, with pinpoint inking from Danny Miki (who must either be Capullo’s greatest fan or most bitter foe given the extreme amount of detail set into every panel), show off some new tricks and gimmicks, giving Batman the fight of his life. Again.
Snyder gives Capullo ample room to make his imprint on the story, underscoring the true collaboration between these two. Despite the astonishing amount of detail that Capullo puts into the artwork, Miki’s inks keep the whole comic clean and crisp for FCO Plascencia’s colors, which are of a more traditional palette, as opposed to the spectacularly bold choices used in “Zero Year.” Beyond the stunning detail work and smart coloring, Capullo really shines in his storytelling, another indicator of the trust he has formed with Snyder. The most dynamic instance of this is on fine display when Flash shows up and everything else slows down, all of it underscored by the path of a batarang. Letterer Steve Wands shines the lead story up with masterful work on lettering, including the scene with Flash, but throughout “Batman” #35, right to the final page reveal that is every bit a collaboration between all members of this creative team.
Snyder’s detail weaves back in to the fight and links into the last-page reveal that amazingly remained relatively unspoiled. That reveal puts the fight with the League in a completely different and shocking perspective and sharply punctuates “Batman” #35 after twenty-two pages of lead story before the eight-page backup. No line is a throwaway, and Snyder uses that earlier scene to remind readers that Bruce Wayne is as strident a supporter of Gotham as Batman is its defender.
James Tynion handles the backup that is graced with inky, dark, cold Kelley Jones art. A longtime contributor to the adventures of Batman, Jones reminds readers just how horrific the world around the Dark Knight can get. Tynion, confident in the abilities of his collaborator, plays up the trepidation, mixes in some insanity and then turns out the lights. Colorist Michelle Madsen keeps the palette tight, letting Jones, Tynion and letterer Dezi Sienty set the tone for this scene while she lights the set and adjusts the temperature.
After all the tooth-gnashing and grumbling about the price on the cover for this issue, “Batman” #35 proves to be worth every penny. As the Dark Knight detective continues to revel in his seventy-fifth anniversary, the creators working on his adventures weave new stories that add even more facets to the character. I’m sure there will be additional moaning about the fact that Batman fights the League, but Cyborg and Green Lantern are absent; or that Aquaman gets taken down like a punk; but there is simply no denying the passion and excitement this creative team brings to every panel of “Batman” #35. Part one of “Endgame” hits the ground with a dynamic explosion, letting readers know right away that this saga is going to be every bit as dynamic as “Court of Owls,” “Death of the Family” or “Zero Year.” I’m all in, regardless of price point, especially since every single contributor on this book brings their absolute best.