Comic Book Review: All Star Batman #13

The Night Is Dark And Full Of… Father Figures.

“That’s what I tell myself late at night. In a couple years, he’d come to his senses. Stop all of this….He’d give it up. Of course he would. I know it.”

Alternate cover for All-Star Batman #13!

Scott Snyder has been no friend to Damian Wayne. The Batman writer has made no secret of his aversion writing for the character. That’s not to say that he’s opposed to telling stories about Fathers. His penchant for horror and action was clear from the beginning, but his relationship-building is his true strength and he does that expertly in All Star Batman #13 with Alfred and Bruce. Alfred has been a great deal of things to Bruce Wayne. He’s been a protector, a teacher, a chef, a friend, and a father.

All Star Batman #13 is the penultimate chapter in Scott Snyder’s latest entry into the Batman mythology. Thus far, it’s been an exhilarating and diverse anthology of tales told by some of comics’ best artists. As we traveled throughout the world with our caped comrade and his many foes, Snyder continued to build on his own Batman legend. In the latest chapter he builds to the next issue’s exciting conclusion with the ease of a master. Finally, the “Briar” storyline is paying off with a tense showdown for Alfred and Son.

I loved You At Your Darkest

Snyder’s Father and Son have always been Alfred and Bruce. The care with which this butler has fathered his boy is obvious. He indulges his worst desires. He offers a helping hand when he takes a tumble. These are the traits that make someone a Father. Thanks to Scott Snyder and his equally talented art-team, this Bruce Wayne has that in spades.

Batman and Alfred descend a purplish kaleidoscope, awash in debris and a peach sunrise. The imagery is breathtaking, thanks to masterful pencils and inks from Rafael Albuquerque and colors from Cris Peter. While previous issues have felt rushed the work here is almost flawless. Mixing Snyder’s sense of humor with his epic sense of grandeur is difficult, but Albuquerque and Peter accomplish that and more with ease.

Failure Isn’t Falling, Failure Is Not Getting Up

Now that the story is falling into place, All Star Batman is beginning to feel like a worthy successor to Snyder’s Batman run. It may not have his particular touch of evil surrounding its’ dark edges, but that’s not the goal. The goal was to create a Batman story that entrances the reader with action and humility. That reminds us why Bruce Wayne is Batman and just who are the villains and family that define those names. To those ends, All Star Batman #13 is a complete success.

The Verdict

Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque have a long history together. From the haunted pages of American Vampire to various Batman stories the two have successfully made comic history together. As All-Star Batman comes to its final chapter, we benefit greatly from these two masters. Theirs is a Batman with a humorous family that can both make or break a story. Here it is a remarkable success.

Beneath the bleeding skyline a falling Bat catches its’ target. Tonight the target wasn’t prey. Instead he caught an Englishman falling to his very doom, like the Englishman did for him. It’s clear in the words of Scott Snyder that Bruce Wayne made Batman, but Alfred Pennyworth made Bruce Wayne.

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