*SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ALL-STAR BATMAN #1*
Although he handed the Batman reigns to Tom King, Scott Snyder still has Dark Knight stories left to tell. He’s teamed up with comics rockstar John Romita Jr. to start All-Star Batman and explore villains that he didn’t get around to in his previous run.
Issue one is out this week, and it’s everything that fans hoped it would be, further cementing Snyder’s place among the greatest Bat-scribes in Bat-history. The whole book is outstanding, but let’s do the impossible and try to break down the five best moments.
Batman Swats Some Bugs
The series opens up with a bang as Firefly and Killer Moth (“Hired Gun” and “Other Hired Gun,” respectively) have the Caped Crusader on the ropes. Except they really don’t, obviously, because he’s Batman. Bats uses his patented quick thinking to lay the smackdown on this pair of non-threats, both physically and verbally.
This scene sets the tone for the series, showing that Snyder intends to thrill the reader and have some fun along the way.
Two Faced Philosophy
There’s a lot of great action packed into this issue, but it’s matched by sharp, dramatic dialogue scenes. Case in point, Snyder writes in a conversation between the World’s Greatest Detective and Two Face where our hero expresses his belief in people’s good nature. Harvey counters, claiming that people “all have a side of their face they hide.”
What follows is a poignant and disturbing monologue that dissects the true nature of man, and adds yet another layer to the rogue’s twisted psychology.
Batman makes quick work of Firefly and Killer Moth, but barely gets to catch his breath before Black Spider joins the fray. He chucks Batsy through the side of a building and unloads a fury of ammunition into what he thinks is the hero’s body. Only after realizing his error does Spider look up to see the scariest thing a person can see – Batman holding a running chainsaw.
This moment is actually a twofer, because it leads directly into the Dark Knight scaring off Firefly with merely a look.
E tu, Alfred?
This first issue ends with the revelation that Alfred – Batman’s #1 confidant – shot down the Batplane earlier in the story, stranding Bruce and Harvey in the middle of nowhere. This cliffhanger raises so many questions, starting with “what the *$@!?” Was it of his own volition? I don’t know, and I can’t wait to find out, but the tears on Mr. Pennyworth’s face are heartbreaking regardless. If you say you had to do it Al, I believe you.
Declan Shalvey (pencils) and Jordie Bellaire (colors) make one of today’s best art teams. Their visuals alone make the backup story in All-Star Batman worth checking out, and the script by Snyder puts it over the top.
It has nothing to do with the main story, revolving instead around Bruce training Duke Thomas. It’s brief, but in just eight short pages it pulls in the audience and leaves them wanting more. From the looks of it, we’ll be getting a much different look into the psychology of being Batman’s protégé that we’ve ever gotten before.
All-Star Batman issue one is in comic shops today.