As we continue becoming a Batman news site on accident, I guess the confession is I wasn’t t all that excited for All-Star Batman. This may surprise you, but you may remember that the last time I read an All-Star Batman book he was banging Black Canary on a pier.
Still, I gave it a shot. I didn’t hate All-Star Batman #1. I think I enjoyed it, despite some minor issues. I wasn’t sure how I felt on the second page when Batman smiles and winks at patrons of a restaurant. And while Batman brandishing a chainsaw is a cool shot, it’s a little ridiculous. But All-Star has enough weird and interesting, such as Batman and Two-Face on a nightmarish road trip adventure, to hold my interest.
(Full disclosure: I was lucky enough to get a press copy after my pieces on Tim Drake’s current depiction and Tom King’s Batman run went live.)
So I went into All-Star #2 trying to keep an open mind. I’ve made it no secret that I don’t want to talk about bad comics on this website (though that doesn’t mean every comic I don’t talk about is bad!). The fact that I’m even writing this tells you I don’t think it’s a bad issue. I feel it’s an improvement over the first issue, and it feels more in line with what I have come to expect from Scott Snyder. All-Star #2 builds more mystery and intrigue as Batman’s closest friends seemingly betray him, be it to save their own skin or for a quick buck. We learn more of the relationship between Batman and Two-Face. And there’s at least one surprising 90s throwback character that turns up.
It’s the small character moments I think I enjoy the most. Villains trying to hire a bigger villain. Allies having to betray one another. The brief glimpses of Batman’s endless resolve in the face of overwhelming odds. And I think that’s why I wasn’t sold on All Star #1., which was largely a 38 page action set piece. As a result, character moments were vague and mysterious to build for the eventual big reveal that’ll come in a few issues or so. But there’s more character interaction in the second issue. More discussion between Batman and Two-Face. More allusions to what is actually happening between the two. More blurred alliances. And as a result this issue just feels more fleshed out to me the first one.
I also have to admit that between these two issues, I find myself enjoying John Romita Jr more than I usual. My comments on his Marvel work were that outside of Spider-Man, his work came across as blocky to me, like everyone built of bricks. And it still has that sense here, but much like his Spider-Man, it feels like it works here.
So, yes. I enjoyed All-Star Batman #2. I still don’t think it’s my favorite Batman title, but I feel like I’m going to enjoy this book more as it goes on. Still, it’s a great time for Batman fans. DC is still putting out high-quality books in their Batman line. If you weren’t keeping up before, this is the time to start.