Review: All-Star Batman #2

all-star-bm-2_575efa4d029f07-73784946Writer: Scott Snyder

Penciler: John, Romita, Jr.

Some Spoilers Ahead

What a ride!

In only two issues of Scott Snyder’s newly-launched title All-Star Batman, he has established such a dense, exciting, and colorful world. Not to mention, it’s much different than anything we’ve seen before with its premise (Batman on a highway to hell), setting (Batman in daylight), and its use of time in storytelling (Tarantino-style).

We pick up with an interesting lead into what seems like Commissioner Gordon investigating Wayne Manor. Gee, why would he need to look into Bruce Wayne’s life? Mix that in with Batman’s worst road trip of all time (with Two-Face nonetheless), where he is taking on Killer Croc, Killer Shark, and Amygdala (seriously, Amygdala!). The issue wraps up with fights, a bullet to the head, a fall, and Anatoli Knyazev in Beast-mode.

That’s a pretty generic summary of this issue. It’s clearly shown that this team is having a blast with this book. Not since Hush have I seen so many villains appear in a story. I’d count but I don’t have enough fingers to keep track. I mean, they used Amygdala! While that’s fun, Snyder and company are telling a cool story in a unique way. While that’s a strength, it could ALMOST be a weakness, considering it gets a little confusing and makes you take a break to process what you’re reading. However, I went back and read the first issue after reading this one (then read this one again) and it has great replay (reread?) value.

The art: kudos to all involved. Much like the story, the look is unlike any comic I’ve seen before. Props to John Romita, Jr. for his perfect pencils. Applause for Danny Miki for his detailed inking. High praise to Dean White for his beautiful colors. If this book doesn’t get an Absolute Edition in the future, it’ll be a sad day for DC.

Just two issues in and All-Star Batman is cruising to uncharted territories. The book is smart, thrilling, and has everything a Batman fan should want in a story. That includes Amygdala (seriously, Amygdala!).

10outof10

The backup story: “The Cursed Wheel”

In a courageous move, the backup story opens with an incredible page. I’m sure you’ve seen this style done before (hundreds of pictures coming together to create one big picture, or a photo mosaic), but for a comic that’s pretty awesome. The story then continues from last month, putting Duke Thomas front and center as he’s adjusting to the sidekick lifestyle, even though he said last issue “Robin doesn’t need a Batman”. By the final page, he just might.

Much like last month’s backup, this story is just fine at this point. The whole wheel conversation is confusing to me, and I hope it’s just Snyder planting the seeds for an “Ah-ha!” moment down the line. The best part of the story clearly comes from artist Declan Shalvey. His opening page is flat out awesome. Jordie Bellaire is the coloring artist and does a commendable job.

Nothing wrong with this backup tale. It’s providing a clearer picture of the still fresh character of Duke Thomas, and is doing a good job of winning me over. I’m enjoying it thus far, even with my little bouts of confusion, and am hoping it all comes together in the future.

7outof10

Images courtesy of DC Entertainment

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Ryan Lower

A lifelong fan of the Dark Knight, Ryan Lower grew up far from Gotham in Indiana but has planted roots in Chicago. A writer for a T.V. station, he also enjoys brooding at home in his own batcave, devouring Batman comics, shows and movies.