Wednesday, September 14, 2016

All-Star Batman #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

There's A Chance For Showers and A Shit Load of Villains

Written By: Scott Snyder
Art By: John Romita Jr., Danny Miki, Dean White, Steve Wands, Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: September 14, 2016

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

It's time to get back to our Midnight Run style story, where Batman is doing the best he can to get Two-Face to some mysterious destination, so he can finally cure Harvey Dent of all his Two-Facey-ness.  As we saw though in the first issue, it isn't going to be that easy because Two-Face has informed the world that he has dirt on everyone and if the fine people...... and villains of Gotham don't get off their duffs and stop Batman, he's going to release what he's got and it's going to hit the world like some sort of new Fappening.  So yeah, Batman has his hands full as he tries to get Two-Face to their destination as villain after villain come after his ass.  Let's jump into this issue and see if our hero makes it any further to where he wants to go or if any villain comes through to accept the reward from Two-Face for actually taking down The Bat.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Our issue begins with me being confused as hell because we start out jumping around throughout time as we see Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock making their way to Wayne Manor, where it appears they have the knowledge that Bruce Wayne is indeed Batman, but since we saw Jim and Batman working together in the last issue after acid rain poured down on the populace of Gotham....... and the fact that I'm not about to go back to the first issue and analyze timelines....... I'm not quite sure about what's going on here or why Jim Gordon seems hell bent on bringing Bruce to justice.  Anyway, back to our current time, Batman is taking on some of my favorite villains like Killer Croc, King Shark and Amygdala...... and it's funny because I was just thinking to myself last week about why doesn't anyone use Amygdala anymore and now I'm starting to think that I have psychic powers....... which is cool, but so far it hasn't worked on the Power Ball.  Getting back to our story, while I can't say that Batman took these villains out that easily due to the fact that he looks like he's had the hell beaten out of him, he does make short work out of them here........ I'm just upset that while Snyder and Romita Jr. added King Shark to the mix of villains here that they did it out of continuity, even though Snyder went out of his way to have a callback to a great joke in the New 52, where King Shark is in fact "Trixie" and he's come to party.  The reason it's out of continuity is because this King Shark is his classic look instead of the New 52's hammerhead shark one, which I found myself loving during his time in the Suicide Squad.  It's just a weird inclusion that seemed to go out of its way to be a callback, while not making the character look like the iteration that they're calling back to.    Anyway, Batman is confronted by two more awesome underused villains in the form of Cheshire and Copperhead before bailing on the train that Two-Face and him were riding on the roof of and falling possibly to their deaths........... even though we know our Batman would never go out that easily.

Even though Batman wouldn't go out like that, he does scares the hell out of me when after he's walking with Two-Face to get back to the road, he's shot in the goddamn head.  That's right, our hero is shot in the head and that will be the least of his worries coming up because since most of the crime families in Gotham don't want their sensitive information put out on the web for the whole world to read, the terrifying trio pull all their cash together to hire the KGBeast to take down Batman.  The terrifying trio happen to be the Black and White gang that are made up of Penguin, Black Mask and Great White Shark...... never just Great White because that will lead you to think of the band and that's more terrifying than Warren White any day.  So after our hero comes to, he finds himself in the company of some dirty cops taking him and Two-Face god knows where, but since KGBeast is on the case, they don't get very far.  All this, plus whatever Harvey Dent told Bruce before the action in this story started about the cure he had, Duke Thomas takes one look at it and somehow figures out that it's all a ruse.  I guess we'll have to wait for the next issue to get that info though.

In the end, we head into our Cursed Wheel backup, where Duke and Batman are investigating why Zsasz targeted the victims they found in the previous issue and as it turns out, it's because this woman had previously escaped Zsasz in the past, but Zsasz's next victim might come sooner than anyone thought because while Duke was investigating the woman's basement, he's slashed across the chest by the blade happy freak.

That's it for this issue of All-Star Batman and I initially found myself loving this issue just because of all the villains that Snyder was throwing at us right out of the gate.  I kind of felt that he was making up for all the villains that he didn't use during his Batman run, which was a pet peeve of mine during said run, but boy did I appreciate the hell out of this....... just wish King Shark would have been his hammerhead iteration.  It was also during this initial scene though that the dialog felt weird with Batman having snarky banter to the villains that just didn't seem to work in my mind, but besides for that, I found myself really getting into this story and becoming intrigued about this so called cure for Two-Face and why his two-headed coin keeps returning to him as if it had a some sorta supernatural flare.  Also, I found myself really liking the fact that Two-Face's attempt at suicide from the last time we saw the character was referenced very briefly because at least now we know that it was something in continuity coming into this, but it's also something that doesn't matter going forward so it doesn't need to be brought up again....... It was subtle, but worked better than any kind of explanation would have.  As for the art....... Well, I've never been a huge fan of Romita Jr.'s style, but more than that, I don't really like how washed out all the color is....... I know it's a style and a choice, I just enjoy looking at bright vibrant books more than dull ones.  Even with that though, I found plenty to look at here and still enjoy and can't wait for the next issue........ I just hope that the jumping around in time becomes a little easier to follow because unless you have the previous issue out, you're not going to remember when such and such thing happened compared to something else....... Unless you're some sort of Rain Man.  Ultimately, this already feels like it will be better to read in trade.

Bits and Pieces:
While I found myself a bit frustrated at trying to remember when each event happened from this issue to the previous one because of all the jumping around in time we've done so far, I found myself enjoying this issue as Snyder doles out a bit more information about what our story is all about, while pitting Batman against some of his best, yet seldom seen rogues.

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  1. I personaly loved the issue but little let down the cliffhangers were not addressed from last issue with Alfred and Gentlemen Ghost (he was in the last panel on the truck right?). I don't have much interest in the Duke backups at this moment either it feels tacked on and random with no idea when it's happening. 8ish for me out of ten

  2. I definitely should have read issue #1 again before reading issue #2. There are a ton of moving parts that don't seem connected, but you know they will intersect eventually. I'm not a member of the Cult of Snyder, but I do really like this book and what he's doing. There were a few parts of this book that didn't work for me. I didn't like the King Shark homage to Batman '66. I understand why people might not like the backups, but we're not getting anything about Duke in the regular Batman book, so having this book be in continuity is really helping to flesh out Duke and I like that a lot. I'm a little nervous that Snyder is going to do some crazy stuff to characters like Alfred and Gordon that Tom King is going to have to ignore or embrace and either way, they won't fit into what's going on in Batman proper. And at $5 an issue, this story better move a lot faster than the regular Rebirth books. Overall, I like this book and I'm really excited to see where this story goes.

  3. Two issues in, and I'm still not sure I like this book. Ditch the back-up and strip this from continuity. Go wild and have fun! Use these characters, dammit! No Gentalmen Ghost and Bats just looks at Copperhead? I was not a big fan of the new 52 Batman book and I am a little nervous with Snyder making decisions that could take the wind out of King's sails, much like the neutering of N52 Detective. I enjoyed #1 much more and would rate this one around a 6/10. At $4.99 I'm putting this title on a short leash. I feel no sense of urgency for #3, and if this continues next month I'm done with it.


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