Writer: Scott Snyder / Artist: Tula Lotay / DC Comics
So, there’s this new sitcom on television starring Alan Tudyk and poor Ron “I Deserve Better Than Just About Everything I Appear In” Funches about the kooky goings on at a subsidary of Wayne Enterprises. I would be amazed if this show made it to the end of the month before facing network euthanasia. I brought this show up because there’s a difference between doing something experimental and throwing every ridiculous idea at the wall to see what sticks. Fortunately, we have Scott Snyder doing the former with All Star Batman. The series is exactly what the title suggests; Snyder teaming up with some of the biggest names in the business to take the Dark Knight outside of Gotham to pit him against his biggest bad guys for the highest stakes.
The “Ends of the Earth” storyline continues in issue #7 but shifts the book to a more standalone, episodic format as Batman makes a stop to see Poison Ivy. It’s good to see Ivy being portrayed as a woman of science and not just a victim of it. I mean, sure, science made her what she is but her personal relationship with botany makes for a very interesting character and a compelling, witty exchange with Batman. Meanwhile, when the action picks up, we see less of the cast iron, unforgiving man of action and more of a figure who, despite his demeanor, knows what it is to appeal to the better angels of his adversary’s nature instead of just treating her like the one dimensional evil we see in Joker or KGBeast.
Tula Lotay’s (Supreme: Blue Rose) artwork offers an appropriately warm feel to the Ivy’s settings the same way Jock’s creepy atmospheric style was perfectly suited for Freeze’s icy stronghold. The color palette is bold and innovative in a way that breathes life into Snyder’s already smart script. We also get a brilliant chapter of the Cursed Wheel that hearkens back to Zero Year and offers an intimate, emotional portrait of Duke starting to let the psychological strain of his training get to him. Francesco Francavilla’s artwork is second to none when it comes to invoking a lively sense of noirish tension in just about every panel. There’s something different on just about every page that feels visually fresh and unexplored about each of his characters.
Bottom Line: There’s not much more I can say about the sheer brilliance of All Star Batman without demanding a check from DC Comics and a W-2 for basically being a part of Scott Snyder’s street team. This book works within Snyder’s wheelhouse of storytelling while delivering a fresh feel and vibrant look with every adventure. The story demands every ounce of Batman’s skills just like it delivers every bit of Snyder’s A-game. Worth every penny.
9 Wax Decoy Lips out of 10
Reading All Star Batman? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.