Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Comic Book Review: All Star Batman #1

Review: All Star Batman #1
Submitted by: Kelly Aliano, PhD, Comics News Editor
10 August 2016

**Spoilers to Follow**

 All Star Batman #1 opens quite peacefully, with some local folks eating in a diner.  Their meal is rudely interrupted when Firefly and Killer Moth bust in, only to be followed by Batman, who is now, supposedly, “The Most Wanted Man in the State.”  Rather than being grateful for the save, the people are enraged to learn that Batman is here, because it means he has brought something with him that draws out their ire.  As always, Scott Snyder sets up a book that, within its first pages, is both jam-packed with action but is also literate and thought-provoking.

“My Own Worst Enemy: Part 1,” by Scott Snyder and artist John Romita Jr. not only features a powerhouse creative team but is a powerhouse creation in its own right.  It presents a Batman storyline at a bit of a remove from the central Rebirth titles, while still including many of our favorite Batman elements: his team of Bat-folks, his Rogues Gallery of villains, and the moral gray area inherent in vigilante narratives.  The story focuses on Batman’s attempt to capture Harvey Dent/Two-Face and Dent’s plot to get the people of Gotham to release him, offering a massive reward for anyone who assists him.

Perhaps what is most compelling about this story is its structure.  We join the action en media res, unsure why these citizens are so willing to go against the Bat, only to learn the exposition afterward.  When we return to the present tense, the situation is richer and more nuanced and throws into relief that important moral relativity at the heart of great Batman stories.  You even get a back-up story focusing on Batman’s relationship with his new Robin, Duke, which is as thematically rich in its discussion of what it takes to be a hero as the primary narrative is.  The Verdict: Snyder is the master of Batman storytelling and this book is no exception, especially with the masterful artwork of Romita Jr. enhancing the storytelling.  Not only a must-read, but an instant classic in the realm of DC.

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