Of all the New 52 titles, Batman was least in need of a makeover in DC’s Rebirth. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo did such an amazing job with the Dark Knight mythos during that time that it was hard to conceive anyone else at the helm of the Batman Rebirth title. Luckily, Tom King and David Finch are killing it, and now Scott Snyder has moved on to All Star Batman. The art duties will rotate between such names as John Romita Jr., Declan Shalvey, Jock, Sean Gordon Murphy, and Tula Lotay, so that “All Star” label applies as much to the creative team as it does the villains in this series. Greg Capullo fans can look forward to a mysterious collaboration he has promised with Snyder after he finishes his current project with Mark Millar.
Scott Snyder got the idea for a new take on Batman from a southwest road trip he took with his nine-year-old. While he had the whole trip planned out, the most fun and craziest moments they had were when the plan failed and they ended up off road. Essentially, Snyder decided to pitch a road trip where Batman would end up facing all the villains he wished he had written during his New 52 tenure.
All Star Batman #1 cleanly establishes the plot of this new series: Batman has promised to take Harvey Dent out of Gotham and deliver him to a house where Dent believes he can rid himself of his villainous alter ego. Two-Face doesn’t want to be eliminated, so he offers a bounty equal to the fortunes of the three richest crime lords in Gotham on Batman’s head. As added incentive, Two-Face promises that if Batman is not brought down, he will reveal all of the illicit information that he has collected during his time as DA.
Two-Face’s split personality, alternately helping and hindering Batman’s progress, makes him simultaneously interesting as a sidekick and a foil. The rotating cadre of artists keeps the individual chapters looking fresh. Batman even has a few moments of levity in the script. Wait. Batman has jokes?
Stephen King once said, “There’s one thing I’m sure about. An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know more about this.”
As an opening line, All Star Batman does its job in spades. I definitely want to know more about this.
All Star Batman #1, DC Comics, released 10 August 2016, written by Scott Snyder, art by John Romita Jr. and Declan Shalvey, inks by Danny Miki and Declan Shalvey, colors by Dean White and Jordie Bellaire, letters by Steve Wands, cover by John Romita, Danny Miki and Dean White, variant covers by Jock, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, $4.49
Review by Brendan Allen