Batman #35: Endgame
Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, FCO Placencia
October 8th, 2014
After a well deserved break and the conclusion of their phenomenal Zero Year run, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are back with Batman #35: Endgame. This issue represents the beginning of a new arc for the creative team with a storyline that makes the jump from Batman’s past to his future. Snyder makes this transition a bold and kinetic affair with an opening that seems to begin thoughtfully, but soon segues into the full blown battle against the Justice League forecast by the issue’s cover art. Capullo, for his part, follows suit transitioning from a very static series of panels to the dynamic, but clean and enjoyable, action sequences he’s been so rightfully lauded for. In fact, on that note, let me say that Capullo’s return is very welcome after last month’s filler issue. Unfounded as it may be, I live in utter fear that he will leave the title and be replaced by Rob Liefield or something.
This issue, which could have been a disaster given the harsh transition, holds up extremely well and does something to represent what I think is so central to the success of the Batman. Just as Zero Year gave us a Riddler who employed riddles, something that is surprisingly missing from many of Batman’s encounters with this punctuation laden foe, it seems like Endgame will be giving us a Dark Knight who is a master tactician. In fact, this is what makes the first installment of Endgame so enjoyable. Snyder and Capullo treat Batman’s encounters with each member of the Justice League in completely reasonable ways, given the context. Each “take down” is rooted in a Tower of Babel-like stratagem that makes us believe this one man may have what it takes to go toe to toe with these modern day gods (and let’s be clear, that is precisely what they are). Snyder’s writing continues to be some of the very best I’ve seen from a DC title to date. The interactions between his characters remain organic and witty without needing to devolve into an overbearing emulation of Bendis or Whedon’s hippest-kids-in-the-room quipfest style (call it sacrilege if you’d like, but it needs to be said more often). In my opinion, his treatment of the Justice League here, brief as it may be, seems like it could end up outshining much of what I’ve encountered in Geoff John’s on-going JL series to date. This accolade also extends to the art as, again, I am much enamored of Capullo’s work.
Without giving too much away, the first issue of Endgame culminates in a seeming defeat for our beloved hero and also features a big villain reveal that should make most of you grin like fools (this is a hint, detectives). This closing is followed by a very off-putting, but possibly related, side story penned by Batman Eternal’s very own James the Fourth. I suppose we’ll see how it develops as the main story progresses. That said, it seems like Snyder and Capullo are going to be giving Bat-fans a lot to be happy about with this title and adding to an already stellar body of work.