“I’m trying something new, Jim. Something… better, I hope.”
Arguably the most anticipated title of DC’s Rebirth event hits the shelves this week in the form of All-Star Batman #1. Written by DC heavyweight Scott Snyder, the title is a new monthly release that seeks to put Batman’s underutilized rogues back on the map beginning with “My Own Worst Enemy: Part 1.”
First up is fan-favorite Two-Face, wonderfully interpreted by series artist John Romita Jr. The high octane, non-stop action of Snyder’s legendary New 52 run continues as Batman and Two Face begin a roadtrip to redemption. Filled with Snyder’s usual suspects, as well as a couple of surprise cameos, this title is showing an incredible amount of promise. It’s unclear how this story will affect or connect to the timeline of the other Batman titles, but as a standalone it succeeds on all fronts.
Harvey Dent is in trouble. Reaching out to Bruce Wayne, the lawyer turned ganglord seeks to finally remove his alter ego before his terrible plans can come to fruition. The only obstacle? Every mobster and citizen in Gotham. The three largest fortunes of Gotham’s gangsters are offered by Two Face to anyone capable of freeing him from the Bat’s grasp. A simple premise that makes for an explosive 1st issue.
Snyder knows just how to structure his stories, utilizing short but effective flashbacks to properly set up the plot. It makes for a great way to disperse and pepper the action and exposition throughout the pages. Not to mention every one of those pages are filled with great characters and captivating images. Seeing Batman at his worst is seeing him at his best; resourceful and backed against a corner is when he’s most dangerous. As he outsmarts and outruns the surprising amount of foes in this issue we start to get a feel for the exciting escapade Scott Snyder is crafting for us.
Two Face makes a marvelous debut as he faces off against Batman and his partner-in-crime, Harvey Dent. Snyder teases his appearance up until the final pages of All-Star Batman #1. Romita’s design is both grotesque and exquisite, an intense update of one of Gotham’s most infamous criminals. Though not the only villain in the issue, his presence and promises shape the story and introduce him as a completely ruthless crime boss. The odd-couple premise of Batman and Two Face creates plenty of laughs as well as tension. It’s a wonder why Two Face never made much of an impression during the New 52. It’s a testament to Snyder’s talents that he can turn a straightforward chase story featuring our titular hero and an old school nemesis into such a well-rounded comic book.
John Romita Jr. has been spending quite some time over in the DC camp lately. After a successful run with Geoff Johns and Gene Luen Yang on Superman he continued with an amazing turn on The Dark Knight: The Last Crusade. He continues his success here thanks in part to inker, and Batman vet Danny Miki as well as colorist Dean White. Greg Capullo may have been Snyder’s dream companion but Romita is running on all cylinders and creating some truly iconic Batman images. One in particular, featuring a chainsaw no-less, makes for an action-figure worthy pose. Surprisingly colorful, these panels of the Dark Knight have never been brighter.
The over-sized issue comes with a bonus story by Snyder entitled “The Cursed Wheel: Part 1.” It features art by Declan Shalvey and colors by the ever-popular Jordie Bellaire. The goal of the story is clear: to help solidify Duke’s place in Gotham. As far back as Zero Year, Snyder has been setting up Duke as a new player in the Bat family. Whether we like it or not he’s here to stay, and this short is a step in the right direction.
Proving Duke to be a worthy sidekick is the goal. In that way it succeeds, but it also sets up him to be an interesting hero in his own right. Though the costume could use a little work, Shalvey makes for a great companion artist to John Romita Jr. Thanks to great art and another interesting Snyder story, Duke and Batman are proving to be a team worthy in All-Star Batman.
Though Tom King may have inherited the main title, Scott Snyder triumphantly returns to Batman this week with All-Star Batman #1. Twists and turns set us on a harrowing adventure starring Bruce and one of his most famous villains, Two Face. Utilizing the dual-personalities of Dent and his Ego, Snyder is crafting a fast-paced and memorable story that makes the most of every page and character. Along for the ride are artists John Romita Jr. and Declan Shalvey, who make Gotham and its outskirts into beautiful and captivating landscapes in both night and day. When so many of his stories are brooding and dark, Snyder is excelling at changing the status quo with an entertaining action-romp. Great characters, clever writing, and beautiful art, these elements make for comic perfection. Thanks to the careful attention of the creative team, All-Star Batman #1 is just that, perfect.
- Scott Snyder returns to Batman with an enthralling story
- Great art with Iconic imagery
- Excellent use of cast