Review: DC Rebirth: All Star Batman #2 “My Own Worst Enemy Part Two”
Submitted: Ken Trickey, Comic News Writer
14 September 16
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Batman continues his caped-crusade to rid his former best friend, Harvey Dent, of his insidious alter ego, Two-Face. In retaliation, Two-Face has threatened to expose the dirt on every citizen of the infamously corrupt city of Gotham. What ensues is a trek across hundreds of miles of open country in which Batman must drag his captive while fending off not only the incredible rogue’s gallery of the Batman universe, but normal everyday citizens, and even those closest to him. There is no one to trust. No one to turn to. Bruce Wayne stands as the lone voice of justice in an increasingly dark noir that is as enticing as it is unsettling. After consuming nearly everything Batman for two decades, I did not expect to read a new Batman story that would shock or thrill me as much as Scott Snyder’s All Star Batman.
Often the most successful character reimaginings appear obvious in hindsight. Perhaps it is simplicity that is the mark of genius. Snyder’s Two-Face is less of a reimagining of the character than a realization of that character’s potential. Instead of robbing banks and becoming a dime-a-dozen mobster, this former district attorney lashes out in the most efficacious way he can. He knows your secrets, he has done favors for you, and if his wishes aren't fulfilled, the salacious details of your exploits will be spilled into the public domain. In an era of NSA spying and Wikileaks, I think Snyder has his finger firmly on the pulse of our time.
This is Batman at his best—as a butt-kicking Sherlock Holmes, equipped with new gadgets and an iron will. However, Batman is taken out of his comfort zone and thrust into unfamiliar surroundings. He's not in Gotham, and as the issue takes place in broad daylight, the Dark Knight doesn't even have his hallowed shadows for protection. This allows for the rare instance of genuine growth of a character over 75 years in the making. If by some odd chance you aren't familiar with Batman and his extensive history, don't be discouraged from picking this issue up. Characters are often named as they appear by a short, punchy, dossier in an aside panel.
Although the noir genre is rarely associated with daylight, the pastoral style of John Romita Jr.’sartwork is perfectly suited to illustrate Batman’s world through the glossy camera obscura of distinctive smoke and shadows. The best panels for my money are the two-shots of Detective Harvey and Commissioner Gordon smoking cigarettes in a police cruiser. The flashing red and blue lights overhead gently bouncing off of their faces as they consider the ramifications of their next move.
The Verdict: Snyder’s All Star Batman is incredible. As if everything previously discussed wasn't enough to satiate any Batfan, Part Two of The Cursed Wheel is appended onto this issue as well. Two great issues for the price of one. Don't let this one pass you by!