“Listen up, people! As of this moment, you have a new Captain…Captain Batman.”
Scott Snyder is a busy man. While his contributions to Batman have always been his forte, it’s exciting to finally see Snyder explore his imagination as it makes its way through multiple titles in the DC Universe. As the All-Star Batman series will be coming to an end in issue 14, Scott Snyder is clearly placing careful attention on his upcoming Dark Days/Dark Knights event. Though it’s exciting to think of what’s to come, it has become apparent that Snyder may be spreading himself too thin. All-Star Batman #12 features an exciting moment or two, but it ultimately falls flat due to a lackluster plot, subpar dialogue, and some mediocre art.
American Vampire co-conspirator Rafael Albuquerque has served as the main artist for this portion of the series, but like the script itself his work can feel rushed and bland. Overall the issue simply pales in comparison to what we’ve come to expect from such a normally consistent creative team.
All-Star Batman has been an incredibly unique title to read over its year of releases. As an anthology-like exploration of Snyder’s Batman, the caped crusader began the adventure on the road out of Gotham and is found here in the wreckage of a populated submersible. The subplot regarding Alfred’s past has been interesting to follow ever since his surprising action in All-Star Batman #1. Unfortunately, the story just isn’t as compelling as it should be. More time has been spent trying to justify Alfred’s action than on exploring what other means he could use to subvert Batman’s plan. The most interesting aspect of the storyline took place almost a year ago. It’s disappointing that rather than building on that surprise betrayal throughout the series Snyder merely explains it. By revealing Alfred’s motives we may be getting the full picture, but it lacks the attention grabbing moments of which Scott Snyder usually excels.
It’s no surprise that each of All-Star Batman’s artists, except John Romita Jr., are previous partners in crime with writer Scott Snyder. He has a plethora of amazing artists who are always willing to take his scripts, and Rafael Albuquerque is one of the best among them. Sadly, his work here doesn’t quite make the grade. As stellar as covers have been, the interiors in All-Star Batman #12 are almost as dull as the script itself. There’s no creative use of darkness; no haunting scowls or images that usually mark Albuquerque’s pages. His usual horror-themed approach is now a mix of bright colors and odd facial expressions. Even Jordie Bellaire, the greatest colorist working today, seems to make oddly pastel and bright choices that just don’t match with the tone of the work. Usually a top notch creative team, the disparate tones between art and script keep Snyder and company from reaching their usual heights.
All-Star Batman was always meant to differ from Scott Snyder’s Batman and Detective Comics runs. Initially billed as a cross-country race against mysterious forces, it’s grown more into a showcase of possible stories or subplots that Snyder had yet to explore. Rather than a masterful work worthy of joining the pantheon of legendary Batman Graphic Novels, All-Star feels more like a bland Elseworld story. Even Snyder’s dialogue seems to be lacking it’s usual weight and articulation. What could have been a tense and conflicting scene between Bruce and Alfred becomes an expository device meant to give us the details needed to make sense of the situation and nothing more. It seems Snyder has his attention elsewhere and is contented to simply finish the All-Star series in mediocre fashion.
All-Star Batman was one of the most anticipated titles of the Rebirth launch. Delayed to avoid taking attention away from Tom King’s debut, the new Batman title was to explore the many ideas Snyder found too unconventional for his time on the main Batman title. The explosive first act introduced us to a great premise and a great interpretation of Two Face. Even Romita’s art seemed to reach new heights with the visceral story it depicted. But as the series has progressed more and more ridiculous situations have grown out of what was the “Mad Max” of superhero stories. In All-Star Batman #12, the series begins its conclusion with more of a yawn than a roar. Alfred seeming out of character may be in context with the story, but Batman himself seems to be too naive to be his usual, remarkably suspicious self.
Unfortunately, the art seems to follow suit: a bland and uninteresting veil cast over what should be a masterwork of the veteran artists behind it. Hopefully, those artists will inevitably return to greatness soon enough, but it won’t be in the pages of All-Star Batman.
- Interesting Setting
- Loose Threads Coming Together
- Subpar Work from Both Writer and Artist
- Bland Visuals and Coloring
- Builds No Tensions to Series Ending