All-Star Batman #1 (DC Comics)
After months away from the Dark Knight, superstar writer Scott Snyder has returned with All-Star Batman. Teaming Snyder with a rotating superstar artist, this series has all of the makings for something truly special. I’m a huge fan of Snyder’s run on Batman, but that run really only scratched the surface of the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery. With All-Star, Snyder’s putting the focus on Two-Face, the man who was once Harvey Dent, and with John Romita Jr. on the art for this arc, All-Star is a great return for the writer that goes into some pretty interesting places you wouldn’t expect.
All-Star Batman is very different from Snyder’s previous Batman work. Whereas Snyder’s old volume of Batman focused a lot on Batman and his history with Gotham, All-Star finds him traversing the country in an attempt to get Two-Face to a mysterious “house”. After watching a video sent to him presumably showing Harvey Dent’s side in control and pleading with him, Batman is determined to help his former friend. But the Dark Knight is soon confronted by a host of mercenaries and criminals who are looking to collect on the reward that Two-Face himself has placed on Batman’s head in hopes of stopping him.
Snyder starts things off with a bang and doesn’t let up at all, even in the exposition scenes. Everything reads with a sense of urgency, and you feel the tension as Batman and Two-Face race their way across the country. There’s a great sense of mystery being built in All-Star as well, as Snyder bounces around the timeline of the issue and only gives us small nuggets of information that will most likely be fleshed out as the storyline goes on. As always, Snyder’s characterization of Batman’s characters is spot on, and there’s even a very surprising moment featuring Alfred that will make your jaw drop.
John Romita Jr’s art has always been a little hit or miss for me, but he definitely brought his “A” game for this issue. The tension and action that I mentioned in Snyder’s script is enhanced wonderfully here, and at times you start to wince during some of Batman’s fights. There’s some surprisingly brutal stuff here, and I’m not just talking about Romita’s awesome design for Two-Face.
As if you had any doubts, All-Star Batman is pretty damn cool. It’s great to see Snyder try something new with the Dark Knight, and all signs are pointing to this being another incredible run from the writer. There’s even a great back up with art from Declan Shalvey about Duke Thomas, the new sidekick to Batman (nope, he’s not Robin). If you’ve been desperate for Snyder to make his return to the Batman, then All-Star is just what you were hoping for and then some.