Thank Christ this issue doesn't drop the ball concerning the pacing from last issue: anything less than a breakneck narrative would've been DEVASTATING!
Snyder again starts off this issue hitting all the right notes, using Carter Hall’s journal as a narration vehicle. Of course, within two panels he’s throwing out the name of Abin Sur and Krona and just tickling our Green Lantern fancy. Contrast just these first few captions with the otherworldly view of an Earth from outer space by Greg Capullo, and you’ve got one hell of an opening.
Also, we have to give some props to the editorial department, whose notes are just absolutely delightful, lending a winking human element to a story that really captures the spirit of golden nostalgia.
The chase sequence, as the Justice League basically takes on the Bat Family in order to put Bruce into their custody, is a joy. Capullo and crew tackle the kinetic action as they all tear through the Amazon, trying to differentiate Bat…men. Damian is, per usual, a treat when he gets to mouth off, but the highlight is the reveal of why Batman chose this environment to snare the JL, and how they come to be tangled up.
And then, Superman.
One of the people who best articulate the relationship between Batman and Superman has always been Scott Snyder, having written really well thought out pieces for both heroes’ books. Theirs is a bond forged through circumstance and an isolating feeling that they are the two most important figures in the DC Universe. Clark’s concern for Bruce here is palpable, as he cuts right through the bullshit and gets the Dark Knight to open up. Here the reader goes on a trip through Snyder & Capullo’s exquisite Batman run, summoning up memories of the metals described in various story arcs.
That’s the strength of this issue; the expositional dialogue that occurs so naturally in its settings does so much to relay the gravity of the situation to the readers: the Immortals discussion of how to stop this Dark Event lets you know that shit is going south QUICKLY. The aforementioned talk between Superman and “Batman” illuminates Batman’s thinking of the scenario, as does his conversations in the tomb of Khufu. This is a Batman at the end of his rope, displayed perfectly with that gorgeous minimalist cowl by Capullo.
I’ll stop things here, for fear of betraying the storyteller’s confidence: the rush to the climax of this issue begins with a gasp of familiarity, and ends with you on the edge of your seat. This is a great follow-up to an impossibly good first issue.
10 out of 10 Ominous Bat Creatures