Wednesday, October 12, 2016

SPOILERS: All-Star Batman #3

The cover of this issue implies that Batman had a fighting chance against KGBeast... yeah, just barely. Actually, just no... not really.

The Spoilers:

Then: two boys look up at the sky and talk about the future as they become friends. Now: Two former friends are about to get murderlized by KGBeast. Bruce does what he can to dodge a killing blow, and uses KGBeast's bloodlust against him, striking as he gets distracted in murdering those cops. But it's not long until KGBeast turns his attention to Bruce and Harvey, and that's when Duke shows up and runs him the fuck over. 

Duke gets Bruce and Harvey into the car and eventually the trio finds their way to Harold Allnut's residence. Remember him? Harold takes care of Harvey's wounds as Duke speaks to Bruce. Turns out the last cure Harvey was working on was similar to the cure used for Jokerized people last time, which only took for a limited amount of time. Bruce knows and soldiers on, implying this cure is different. Duke wants to know why they continue on, bruce is cagey but eventually tells him:

Turns out Bruce and Harvey met as kids without even knowing it. Immediately following the death of the Waynes, Bruce wanted nothing more but revenge. Not knowing what to do with him, Alfred sent him to the old Arkham estate that had been opened for troubled youth following the Arkham family's displeasure with what happened to the main facility. Harvey was there, having done some messed up shit to his abusive father, so the two boys both had parent issues. No names were used, and when Bruce and Harvey met years later finally realizing they had met previously, they wanted to reopen the house, but then Harvey's "accident" happened. So naturally, let's assume they're headed to the old Arkham house now.

Harold sets up Bruce and Duke with a boat the travel the old aqueduct system, where they're immediately attacked by what look to be a group of Talons under Two-Face's employ. The Talons quickly overtake Bruce and Duke as Harvey gets up to taunt Bruce and make it clear that he had left out a darker part to the story of their childhood meeting. And with that, Harvey pours some acid in Bruce's face, because symbolism! 

In the back up, Duke recovers from Zsasz's attack after having a dream about his parents. Bruce wants him to rest but Duke is determined to find out why someone got away from Zsasz twice now. He observes the woman recovering in her hospital bed. Something about what she was wearing instead of the victim and Zsasz mistaking her for someone else. Duke seems to figure out something, but gets spotted, so we leave with him giving chase.

The Opinion:

This was definitely a slower issue than the rest, but for the sake of variety, compared to the first two that were just non stop, a break in the action was needed. Having read all the Batman stories Scott Snyder has written, it comes at no surprise that he wants to make them all personal to Batman, be it his relation to the city in Court of Owls or the love/hate stuff going on with the two Joker arcs. That said, if there is any villain with a deeper personal connection to Bruce than Harvey, by all means, let me know. There being this deeper connection between the two works because of all the history already established. If this was like "Mad Hatter and Bruce were friends as kids," it wouldn't really work because... who cares? But Harvey and Bruce have such established continuity prior to Gotham going full on crazy, this just deepens it... and there's more clearly to come. As for that more, full disclosure, I know at least a part of what that is so I can't really offer an opinion or speculate on the subject, without spoiling it. 

Moving on to the back up, while I still struggle just with the nature of back ups (given that there's a story with lots of detailed information and characters figuring out things before it's plainly stated for readers, all the while coming out at a slower clip than normal due to the short length) this was the first issue that really sort of highlighted clues and details that should really be reread over. A lot of what Shalvey and Bellaire portrayed in their art seemed super specific and planned, so I may have to reread the previous two back-ups to gather some info I could have missed.

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