“Ends of the Earth,” Part 2
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Tula Lotay
(Minor spoiler ahead)
All Star Batman #7 requires multiple readings. I don’t know what I was expecting, but wasn’t satisfied after finishing the final page. Batman heads to the desert to track down Poison Ivy. The villain is taking her annual retreat to Nevada to further her research on the green, more specifically the tree of life (so to speak). Enter the Dark Knight, in a new suit, who needs her to develop a cure to a virus Mr. Freeze released last issue. Unbeknownst to him, he has also lead a cavalry right to Ivy, and the tree of life crosses over to the other side.
That’s a rough rundown of All Star Batman #7, and basically all I got out of it after the first reading. I immediately returned to page 1 and started over. By rereading, I was able to see how the issue serves as a character study, zoning in on Ivy’s passion for her work, appreciation for Batman, overall good she really is after, and Batman’s bending of the truth for the greater good. Gee, that sounds like a better issue doesn’t it?
I didn’t love All Star Batman #7, but I liked it. Scott Snyder’s first arc of the series was incredible, which may be the reason the following two issues have been “good, not great”. I’m happy we’re getting these “one-offs” that have a continuing story and a thread that’s connecting them. We need more books that don’t rely on a 6-8 month buildup for a big payoff. However, he’s creating a story that’s individual parts will add up to something special.
Moving from writing to art…ing…we have a new artist on the book this month with Tula Lotay. It appears we’ll be getting a variety of artists to go with these “one-off” stories, which also makes for an exciting run. However, Lotay’s work didn’t blow me away. Again, this may be due to our stellar art we’ve had thus far from John Romita, Jr. and Jock. How do you follow that? Lotay’s pictures suit the story well, but I find weren’t as detailed as I usually prefer. Still, not a bad looking book.
Of course, “The Cursed Wheel” continues in the backup pages. The story has moved along somewhat nicely, but hasn’t done much for me. Last month’s cliffhanger had us (for a second) fearing for the survival of Duke Thomas and Batman. Alas, no one was killed, or really injured too bad. This has a lingering effect on Thomas, as he beats himself up for not rescuing his parents. The takeaway from this chapter is definitely the art of Francesco Francavilla. His pages fit whatever mood the panel is striving for, yet always hints at darkness just around the corner. Excellent stuff.
Overall, All Star Batman has cruised from awesome to good. I like the direction Snyder is taking the book with a “different villain every month”, yet starting to tie together something much bigger. I hope it’s a great payoff.