December 31, 2016
All Star Batman #5
“My Own Worst Enemy, Finale”
Written by: Scott Snyder
Artwork by: John Romita Jr.
The creation of All Star Batman was to be able to more closely examine the relationships between Batman and his more iconic villains. First up has been Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face since the launch of issue 1 and the “My Own Worst Enemy” story arc. Harvey Dent/Two-Face has been remade into one of Gotham’s most dangerous villains given that all the information he compiled while serving as its district attorney. That information is now being used by his villainous side to use as a tool for blackmail. Thus, the tale throws Batman and the captive Two-Face into a crazy road trip.
There’s been plenty of action along the way since issue 1. Batman has had to battle his way through a vast array of villains, both major and minor players and face a myriad of challenges to try and get Harvey/Two-Face to the place where a “cure” awaits. Oh yeah, lets not forget that Duke Thomas, aka Lark, is also along for much of the ride. For those of you not familiar with this character, he was an incarnation of Robin after the death of Damian Wayne in the previous DCU. Issues of this modern world are also dealt with, such as the efforts it takes to maintain privacy in this digital age and how that information can be used against us. All Star has also seen the return of many long forgotten and obscure characters, such as Extrano, KGBeast and who could forget Harold Allnut (Sorry, you’ll have to look that one up!). Up to now, it hasn’t been an easy journey. Batman has been blinded, stabbed and nearly drowned…and it doesn’t look like things are going to get any easier…
Part 5 of “My Own Worst Enemy” picks up from the end of issue 4 upon an embattled moored riverboat casino that Batman, Harvey and Lark are trapped on by a huge angry, armed mob intent on capturing Two-Face for themselves. To make matters worse, Penguin, KGBeast, Black Mask and Great White Shark are also aboard. To add to the already dangerous situation, the mooring lines are blown and the boat is cast adrift into the fast flowing river and from there, the only place to go is down…or should I say over. The boat is quickly floating towards a huge waterfall. Batman, Two-Face and Lark manage to get off the boat and onto dry land, leaving the villains to presumably go over the falls.
It’s no cake walk to get to their final destination for the cure, but finally the trio make it and behold their prize. But wait…something’s not right, which means some hard decisions must be made. Which side of Harvey Dent/ Two-Face has the cure been meant for? With that question left to ponder, there’s also a seeded cloud covering over Gotham threatening the populace with the same “cure”, put there by Two-Face. Call it an experiment if you will. The duality of man. Good and evil. Right and wrong. Who or what side will emerge after exposure? That’s another problem Batman must face with direct consequences based on his decision concerning Harvey. Administer the cure or not? The trouble unmercifully doesn’t end there. One of Batman’s foes made his way off the boat and almost perfectly timed with that angry mob. They don’t call Batman the world’s greatest detective for nothing!
The Verdict: You may be asking yourself, “Do we really need another Batman title?”, especially at the cost of almost $5 an issue. The answer, I’m afraid is YES! DC has really made this hard to pass up, especially with long-time writer of several Batman titles, Scott Snyder and iconic artist John Romita Jr. I have read and heard a lot of criticism about this title for its over the top action and visuals, but after all, it’s a comic book for crissakes! Its great! If you are a fan of Batman, you can’t pass this one by. A great story, great villains and great art. The reinvention of Two-Face makes him more than just the coin flipping, champion of chaos. Even so, the whole storyline deals with the duality of all things. No matter how things change, they seem to stay the same. I highly recommend this one!