Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: John Romita, Jr. & Declan Shalvey
Some Spoilers Ahead
The time has finally come. Scott Snyder has been absent from Gotham since May. This writer, who reviewed most of Snyder and teammate Greg Capullo’s incredible Batman run, has also been waiting for his return so he can get back to reviewing. Snyder’s highly-anticipated All-Star Batman is here, so let’s cut to the chase.
The first two pages set up an exciting 22 more: Batman comes flying into a diner, via two B-level villains. It seems Batman is a wanted man. However, it’s not just the villains who want him, civilians are out for blood too. We then take a time-traveling adventure (22 minutes, 2 hours, 2 weeks, 20 minutes), which lays the rest of the foundation for the episode, and sets us up for answers in issue #2.
If that last paragraph isn’t triggering something for you, then here’s a spoiler: Two-Face. Snyder hasn’t kept it a secret who the main villain is for this title (at least for now) and a few questions are answered once we get a glimpse of Two-Face riding shotgun in the Batwing. Then, we turn the page and are once again slightly confused, but in a fun way.
Snyder has been very vocal on Twitter about his enthusiasm for this issue, but also his nervousness. Sure, he took quite a risk in how he wrote this issue. He gives us pieces to a large puzzle and helps us put it together. In the process, he also starts handing us more pieces to a different puzzle, then says it’s time for bed. By the end of the issue, I’m happy with my progress but I want to finish the damn thing! If that sounds like a complaint, please refer to my two-word sentence near the top.
Of course, we can’t skip talking about the art. John Romita, Jr. simply nails every panel in this book. I’m still not a huge fan of the new Batsuit, but Romita can sketch a Dark Knight like no other. The designs for the villains are unique, yet also fitting. Perfectly complementing the pencils is the coloring by Dean White. The Dark Knight is in daylight for most of this issue, but the setting looks so damn good and that’s thanks to White. Oh, and Batman has a chainsaw.
After a long wait, Snyder returns to Gotham with a bang. All-Star Batman is an exciting, thought-provoking and gorgeous looking book. I’m looking forward 2 issue #2 (that’s not a COIN-cidence).
The backup story
With a $4.99 price tag, we knew this issue was going to be bigger. With that, comes a backup story written by Snyder and drawn by Declan Shalvey. The brief tale is a little disturbing, involving Batman, Duke and colors. These victims are cut in a very disturbing way, and though Batman suspects Victor Zsasz, I can’t help but think there may be a Crazy Quilt involved (just look at the colors and the rolls of fabric in the background, it has to be right?). Batman gives Duke a good speech, but I was getting a bit of a Grant Morrison vibe concerning the puzzle at the end, which can be good or bad depending on the day of the week. However, that last panel saved the story for me, as did the Batman: The Animated Series reference (the Batmobile). Overall, this was a decent story but has nothing on the main event.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment