DC Comics All-Star Batman #2 on sale Wednesday, Sept. 14 $4.99
First story "My Own Worst Enemy" Part 2:
Writer: Scott Snyder Pencils: John Romita Jr. Ink: Danny Miki Colors: Dean White
Second story "The Cursed Wheel" Part 2:
Writer: Scott Snyder Art: Declan Shalvey Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Man, when Scott Snyder said All-Star Batman was going to be unlike anything he ever did, the man was not joking. It has this noir-esque feeling mixed with a bit of Mad Max: Fury Road. Snyder said it was going to feel like a taste of Mad Max with a hint of The Defiant Ones while promoting the release of this series, and he hit the nail right on the head.
Listen, this book is $4.99, but it is so worth it from start to finish.
The first story -- "My Own Worst Enemy" -- basically features Batman running through a gauntlet of some of his toughest adversaries. Bats and Two-Face are battling on their way through the crew featuring enemies ranging from King Shark, Killer Croc and Chesire, among others, as they try and make it to what Batman believes is Harvey Dent's cure.
We've got some time-teasing, cliffhangers featuring a Jim Gordon that just wants to go home and shave, and some overall swift, fluid and deliberate storytelling. This Scott Snyder guy, it's like he's done a Batman book before.
While Snyder sets the tone with a defiant Batman up against a literally militia of his enemies, John Romita Jr. lays out some superior artist balance in "My Own First Enemy." Like anyone should expect anything less than that, but Romita is able to mix in the dark violence, humor and a variety of villains in a manner that is sure to please fans.
The way he captures movement between fight scenes is just masterfully captured.
I wanted to make a note, because this is one of those things that when done right, often gets overlooked, about Snyder and Romita's brief bio boxes that jump up whenever a new villain comes into the picture to crap on Batman's day.
It's done in a way that flow with the story and doesn't clot anything up. Some are funny, some are quick and informative, but they all serve a valuable purpose. It's kind of like, "Hey, we know there is a literal buttload of villains but here's a quick catch-me-up!"
I really dug that, and I think you guys will, too.
As for the second story -- "The Cursed Wheel" --, it is much quicker and simpler than the first one, but goodness gracious Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire should come attached at the hip.
Seriously, there are scenes in a basement where these two absolutely wow me.
No one makes a dark room and a flashlight pop off the page like Jordie Bellaire; there is a reason this insanely talented woman is attached to everything worth reading right now. There is a silhouette of Batman standing at the top of the staircase that I want mounted on my wall.
He's not saying much, he's just standing there. In the dark, with just a hit of light hitting his chest. The only thing we see is Bruce Wayne's outline and the outline of Batman's new chest plate.
This is world-class stuff, folks.
It's a Duke story, which feels like a breath of fresh air as we learn just who Batman's newest sidekick really is. Snyder poises the question of "Is this another empty sidekick or not?" with his dialogue, and it's a question not many before him have looked dead in the eye.
Rating: 9.5/10 All-around fantastic read that justifies the names attached and the $4.99 cover price. This series and this issue, specifically, an absolute must grab.