By: Andrew Fontana
Tom King and Joelle Jones’ “Rules of Engagement” has been great from the start. King has been telling original and innovative Batman stories since the beginning of his run, pushing the Dark Knight into places and conflicts that shed new light on the character and the world he inhabits. King from the outset had brought positive change to Bruce Wayne, and “Rules of Engagement Part Three” is an exciting next step in that experiment.
Batman #35 is, at heart, a superhero romance. King uses the conflict between Talia and Selina to explore the different types of romantic love that Bruce Wayne has indulged in over the years. That King uses these conventions of the romance genre so well is a testament to the strength of the script that he wrote for this issue. His characterization of these two women is spot on, and the dialogue written for them pop right off the panel. This issue takes Batman to a new place that’s both fresh and mindful of the character’s long history.
Joelle Jones’ sleek pencils are an excellent addition to a title that already has a great roster of artists. Her work does a great job portraying fight scenes and characters talking to each other. She is paired with colorist Jordie Bellaire, whose various shades of dark hues keep the artwork from looking too monochromatic. Their combined effort on Batman #35 makes one hope that they will make a return to the title at some point.