Wednesday, August 10, 2016

SPOILERS: All-Star Batman #1

Scott Snyder returns and I bet you can't guess which close Bat-family member gets a twist this issue!

The Spoilers:

Yep, no one is going to guess there's something with Scott Snyder and Alfred! NO ONE! But we'll get to that.

Harvey Dent wants Batman to help him. Two Face is coming back and he's got dirt on everyone, it's going to be bad. So Harvey has pleaded with Batman to take him to "the house" so he can burn Two Face out once and for all. How does Two Face counter this? Well, he believe's everyone has a side to them similar to himself. So he makes an offer to all of Gotham, stop Batman from delivering him to wherever Harvey wants to go. Whoever stops Batman gets all the money Two-Face has stolen from the various crime families of Gotham. If Batman is successful, then every single dirty secret about every single person which Two-Face has amassed over time will be released into the dark-net for all to see. Naturally, no one wants their dirty laundry aired, and thus that's how we get Batman going off the grid (after someone shooting down the plane he was in, leading someone to believe someone close to him is also gunning for him) and on the road with Two-Face, chased by everybody. 

Also, surprise, Alfred shot the plane down, because he's probably got some secrets too.

In the back-up, Duke accompanies Batman on a case which seems to involve Zsasz. We also see some sort of mental exercise in the Batcave that is supposed to show where Duke skews in terms of the same path every one of Batman's partners has gone down, which helps determine the kind of hero or villain they will eventually become. Duke pauses at the villain line asking if Bruce meant Jason, nope... someone else. MYSTERY! Other than that, one of Zsasz's victims still seems to be alive and freaks the fuck out at the end.

The Opinion:

Let's get this out of the way: This seems like the 32nd time Snyder has done some big twist with Alfred, and I'm kind of over it by now. It's just not effective to me anymore. 

Moving on, I love what this book is, has all the flair of a big A-list title but is operating on a completely different style and spectrum than the flagship Batman title, with the whole on the road setting. The set up with Two-Face's proposition is also pretty great, and I get why Alfred was used to illustrate everyone's point, but like I said, I just feel it's a "of course Alfred is hiding something" sort of deal with me. Not surprising in the least, but that's just me. Back up story was not exactly what I was expecting. Thought it was going to be supplemental to the main story, as I usually am lead to believe, but it just seems to be Snyder's vehicle for developing Duke even more. Not a fan how he continues to bury the idea of Robin when he's openly talked about going out of his way to not write Damian, but whatever, I've gone on about that before. 

Art across the board was fantastic. I initially wasn't a fan of JRJR's work when I started reading comics, but I wasn't a fan of Frank Quietly either and turns out that was fucking dumb. I started to really enjoy JRJR during his run on Captain America with Rick Remender, which is also why I'm really pleased that Dean White and his almost trippy color spectrum is along from the ride, all the way from Dimension Z. And like David Finch, Danny Miki makes the pencils in this book sing, one of the best inkers in the game right now if I had to pick. The back-up looked just as good. I'm a big fan of Declan Shalvey and I've already praised Jordie Bellaire for her work on Batman, so her coloring more of the character is going to be great regardless. While I really like Shalvey's work, since he's been working with Warren Ellis a lot lately, whose work I just have never been able to get into, I haven't really had a lot of opportunities to read his work lately, so Batman is a treat.

This book is all it's cracked up to be, high octane action illustrated by some of the best artistic teams in the business today. Really great start, really interested to see how this transitions past the initial Two-Face story. 


  1. This issue was one of the most blatant examples of how Scott Snyder could stand to employ some more subtlety in the expression of his themes. I think he's a great writer overall, he gets the character's voices really well almost always and he mixes intriguing themes and character psychology with inventive action quite well, but I really think he could pull back a little from having the characters explain what their thematic or symbolic is. Not even stop doing that, just do it in a bit more of a natural way. I don't know if he's just worried people won't get it or what, but it's something I think he could definitely stand to work on a bit.

    1. I agree. It's why I stopped reading his interviews because he usually ends up reciting monologues from two issues in the future word for word. But I've just gotten used to it at this point.

  2. I wasn't a fan of JRJR's artwork either, until I read World War Hulk. That mini has some of his best works ever, and since then I have been a big fan and defender of his work. I feel like once you experience a piece from him in his top form, I think you would find appreciation in all his other artwork. For example it took you Captain America to realize how great JRJR can be, and hoping that this series would be successful enough for other fans to realize how great of an artist he really is.

  3. I love Snyder chucking the lesser-knowns at Batman while he's dealing with Harvey. I can't wait to see what else is in store from baddies we haven't had much of since the reboot.

    It would have been nice to see Two-Face's acid rain scheme, though. That sounds awesome. Maybe we'll get more flashbacks to it.

  4. Everything about this book was really great, EXCEPT for the idiotic comments about Duke being better than Robin. I'm hoping Snyder turns that around, but it's incredibly offensive to fans of the characters who wore the tights before Duke.

    1. Come on. He didn't say Duke was better than Robin. He's saying what he's trying with Duke might work better than the concept of Robin, though I don't see a lot of difference, personally.

      He never said, "Oh yeah, Duke is totally better than all the Robins I've ever had."

  5. Batman has way to many sidekicks. You have Robin, Cassandra Cain, Spoiler, and Red Robin. Enough already.