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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: October 12, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Let's join our hero Batman on his continuing quest to get Two-Face to some mysterious house that supposedly holds the cure to what ails old Harvey........ I didn't realize they made a cure for crazy, but hey, what do I know? In the previous issue we saw the Dark Knight face villain after villain now that the odds of this gambit have been set and every rogue in the gallery is out for Batman's blood so that they can become filthy rich and also so Two-Face doesn't release his information on everyone that he supposedly has. It's not a hard thing to imagine him having this either because in the last issue we had a peek into the future, where we saw the GCPD with information proving that Bruce Wayne was Batman. Let's jump into this issue of All-Star Batman and see how everything transpires in this back and forth story and if the KGBeast showing up at the end of the last issue has any drastic affect on Batman's road trip. Let's check it out.
Our issue begins with Batman and Two-Face just being fucked up beyond belief. Yeah, they had themselves some things that led to a lot of these cuts, bruises and general fucked up-ness from previous issues, but mostly it seems to be from the fact that the KGBeast just flipped over the police van that was holding them. Now, I know that Batman is one of the world's greatest superheroes and it would be stupid to think that he'd die anywhere in this issue, but from how messed up he is, I was generally concerned with him taking on KGBeast in the beginning of this issue because I've seen the Dark Knight go down against this foe when he was in tip top condition and if it wasn't for Duke Thomas (Who really needs a superhero name at this point) showing up and hitting KGBeast with a car, I'm saying that both our hero and his chance loving villain would have been carved up like Thanksgiving dinner.
After Duke's rescue, Batman leads him to the secret site of the man behind a lot of the bat gadgets and general mechanics, Harold Allnut, who we haven't seen in comics since his death at the hands of Hush, but that was in previous continuity, so we're getting his first appearance here and on top of being a hell an engineer, it seems that he's a hell of a surgeon as well because he saves Two-Face's life from when KGBeast tossed some ninja stars into his face. After the surgery, Duke gets Batman to let him in on why he's actually trying to save Two-Face, especially since Duke discovered in the last issue that the cure that's waiting for them is a component to a drug doctors use on joker-ized people that has been proven not to work after a period of time. This is when we get some backstory on a time in Bruce's life that's not all training and studying to be the hero he is today. Apparently during his "I'm going to kill the guy who killed my parents" angst, Alfred decided to send Bruce to a home for children, hoping that he'd get the help he needed. There young Bruce met a young Harvey, who was there for keeping his father tied up for days and days after he got tired of his old man beating on him and the two became fast friends. It was years later when the two would meet again and realize who the other was and once they realized, they decided to open that home for children again, but Harvey's sanity didn't last that long. It's at this house that the cure supposedly waits and it's because of what those two young boys shared that Bruce needs to do all he can to help Harvey. Too bad that when Duke and Batman get back on their way that the duo are ambushed by some ninjas that I have no recollection of ever seeing before and Harvey takes this chance to give Batman a present. He pours acid over Batman's face. Yeah, that's fucked up.
In the end, we head on over to our Cursed Wheel story, where previously, Duke was blindsided by Zsasz and slashed across his chest. Here, we see our hero in Wayne manor, all patched up and about to get some sleep, since apparently Zsasz escaped, when he says fuck sleep and goes out in the light of day to get the answers he needs since Batman told him that their victim survived because Zsasz thought that another woman was her. It's during his stakeout outside of the survivor's hospital room that Duke realizes that the woman who died was mistaken for the woman who lived because she switched shirts with her. It was all a setup, but before Duke can question the woman, she notices him across the way and runs out of her hospital room screaming for help. All of this and flashbacks to Duke's mother being terrifying as hell by waking him up in the middle of the night as a boy and telling him all about a boy who committed a bunch of brutal murders............. Yeah, it makes sense to the rest of the flashbacks, but it's eerie as hell.
That's it for this issue of All-Star Batman and while I've been pretty middle of the road with this series, I have to say that this main story and even our Cursed Wheel backup are probably my favorite chapters yet. Not only do we get to see how bad ass KGBeast is here, but we also get a ton of Duke just being the hero we all want him to be. Speaking of heroes, it's funny too, for as much as we've seen a ton of villains thrown into this story, I never thought we'd see any pseudo heroes added to the mix and I was pleasantly surprised to see Harold Allnut's introduction into this continuity. Snyder's doing a lot of things with this series, but overall it seems like he's just trying to have a bit of fun with the extensive list of characters that the Batman series has to offer and that's something that I'm just loving. With that though, I'm still not a big fan of John Romita's art in this series or the washed out colors either. It gets the job done though, I'm just not a fan. Overall, I'm really interested to see where this series goes because this was a hell of a cliffhanger to our main story and at this point I NEED to see more.
Bits and Pieces:
All-Star Batman is somehow still kicking things up a notch after throwing the kitchen sink at us last issue and I'm pleasantly surprised just how intrigued I am at where this story is going. Also, I found myself enjoying the Cursed Wheel backup more than I have here too because of how it's finally feeling like it's throwing Duke front and center and actually having things for him to do. Sadly, I'm still not a fan of the art in this series and even though I find myself enjoying the story more, I don't think I'll ever really get into the art for this arc.