The Road To........ The House
Art By: John Romita Jr., Danny Miki, Dean White, Steve Wands, Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: August 10, 2016
Now that Scott Snyder has told us all about what Gotham Is, I guess he's done with all of that and sending us on a road trip story along the lines of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby's Road To movies. Yeah, it probably won't be full of singing or dancing........ or probably not a lot of comedy, but I'm fairly certain a road and a trip will be going on here so technically I'm not wrong in my comparison........... just really terrible at comparing things. Let's jump into this issue and see what Two-Face is up to since the last time we saw him in the Batman & Robin series, where it looked like he blew his brains out. Let's check it out.
Our issue begins at one of those classic trucker's diners we see in all the movies, but don't actually experience because if we were to leave the house we might actually end up at a trucker's diner and when I saw one in Superman 2, it didn't exactly work out well for Clark Kent. Anyway, this issue does little to deter me from believing that nothing good can come from leaving the house because during a little gross flirting between a trucker and a way too old waitress, Firefly and Killer Moth come busting through the window with Batman in tow and I have to say that I'm initially interested as hell in what's going on here because we've got Firefly and Killer Moth out of nowhere and how often does that happen?........... Well, about as often as we get a Two-Face story actually and since that's what we're dealing with I might as well get to it.......... Well, as best as I can because for whatever reason...... probably a writing decision about how best to tell a story, Scott Snyder decides that nobody ever told a story as good as Quentin Tarantino, so with that in mind, Scotty boy sends us back in time throughout this issue as a way to try and fill us in on what's going on and since it's a Two-Face story, the increments of time we go back are all about the number two.
The problem with this way of telling the story is we don't really know how in continuity this story is because Scott Snyder did say he wanted to re-imagine the character, but since we've already had Two-Face in continuity, with him looking like he shot himself, I would have liked to know how far removed that is from this story or if that ever truly happened......... Really, it's just everything with the whole idea of re-imagining because then I'm stuck wondering what is canon or not, like Harvey knowing that Bruce is Batman, or if when Harvey Dent asked Bruce for help in this issue to get him to some mysterious house before Two-Face came back..... was he was actually asking Batman for help?........ Really though, I guess we can go with this is a Two-Face we haven't seen before, who comes in split personality spurts to take over Harvey Dent and when he does it means terrible things for everyone in Gotham because somehow Two-Face knows all your darkest secrets and apparently is all about threatening to expose them. This leads the mob families of Gotham looking to take Two-Face out, but since Harvey was once Bruce's friend and because our Dark Knight apparently never gave up on him, Batman takes Two-Face to some mysterious house after the villain somehow made acid rain storm down on the people of Gotham........ Yeah, it doesn't make much sense to me about how he accomplished that little number, but I guess we'll go with it. Anyway, the point of this story is Harvey Dent wanted Batman to take him to this mysterious house, but Two-Face has other plans and sends out an open challenge to anyone interested. The name of the game is stop Batman from getting Two-Face to his destination because if Batman succeeds, Two-Face will release all his information he has on people, but if they stop Batman and free him, he'll reward the person handsomely. Hence Firefly and Killer Moth at the beginning of the book, which also led into Black Spider trying to get into the mix. All in all, Batman takes care of his villains and even has to escape the wrath of the truckers, waitresses and short order cooks from the diner at the beginning of the issue as well and eventually gets back on his way with Two-Face........... as our hearts break when we find out that Alfred is the one who sent the Batwing down in the first place to get our hero in that situation.
In the end, after Scott Snyder finished up the first issue of his Midnight Run Batman story, we switch gears a bit and get into strange territory with the Cursed Wheel story about how Duke will have to be tested to see what kind of hero or villain he'll eventually make. It's really weird because Duke's presented with a computer program that is apparently everything that Bruce learned on his travels to become Batman and loaded up with everything that Alfred taught him as well. The thing that makes this weird is that this computer program is apparently the Bat Sorting Hat because all we see of it is a bunch of colors and Batman telling us that Dick was a blue, Barbara was a purple and Damian was a green.......... and somehow I'm guessing Duke will be a yellow. All in all this section of the book is really odd as it presents us with this idea that all the heroes we know and love had to go through this color coding system and it also revolves around Zsasz killing folks again.
That's it for this first issue of All-Star Batman and while I dig seeing Two-Face again and how much Bruce is willing to go through if it means helping his friend, the biggest problem that I have with it is we really have no idea who this Two-Face is because this is Scott Snyder's re-imagining of the character and because of that he's really a wild card..... but in a bad way because while I want to care about Harvey Dent crying out for help or worry about what Two-Face's scheme is, I can't because I have no connection to this version of the character. The last time we saw Two-Face he shot himself in the head and since it's been a dog's age since we saw him, I was really starting to think that he just might be dead, but I guess that's another thing I can put on the wall of things I've gotten wrong over the years. Anyway, for a first issue this is at least interesting, I just would have liked a more cohesive story that would have allowed me to become fully invested in what's going on, but since Two-Face is somehow just throwing acid rain about like he's a twisted Weather Wizard and a whole bunch of other stuff is going on in a couple of panels, where the time increments have to be in multiples of two, I just couldn't get the full grasp of what was really getting Batman on this road trip quest........ and that goes double for the backup story. As for the art, I have to say that I really loved John Romita Jr's art in this issue way more than I ever enjoyed his style in the Superman series, but even with that the colors of this book just came off muddy and because of that this book wasn't really that great to look at........ that is until the backup, where I had no idea what the story was about, but goddamn did it look good confusing the hell out of me. Overall, I'm interested in where this book will go, I just would like to have a more straight forward story that didn't feel like it needed to throw us back and forth in time as a way to make it seem bigger than it actually is and I would have liked a little bit more of Two-Face simply because I have no idea about this re-imagined version of the character.
Bits and Pieces:
If you're like me, you've really been missing Two-Face in the many titles featuring Batman, but because this is a re-imagined version of the character, you won't find continuity continuing where we left off with Harvey Dent shooting himself in the head...... which may be a good thing because it's hard to come back from that, but I'm a fan of continuity. Anyway, with that we have our Two-Face story and a backup featuring Duke, which while it looks great, left me confused as hell. This is a weird book that I hope rounds itself out as the series progresses.