Tuesday, July 25, 2017

All-Star Batman #12 Review


Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Rafael Albuquerque, Jordie Bellaire and Steve Wands
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: July 26, 2017

I have really enjoyed the First Ally story and after last issue's double cliffhanger, I have especially been waiting for this issue.  Sure, I don't think either Batman or Alfred are dead, but I'm still excited to see how Scott Snyder gets them out of their predicaments.  So, do they escape and what does all this have to do with finding out who or what the First Ally is?  Let's find out...

The issues opens by showing us that both our heroes have indeed survived...for now.  In the present, Batman is trying to save everyone, including Tiger Shark, by using some ingenuity and pure luck.  It involves missiles, Alfred screaming at the top of his voice and some of Tiger Sharks mutated mermaids.  Yea, it's as crazy as it sounds!

In the past, we get Alfred and Briar and while things calm down a bit, it's still pretty crazy.  Briar describes how England always had a Dark Knight and squire (sound familiar?) that worked secretly for the Crown while being hated by everyone.  At this point, Alfred had heard enough, but as he turned to walk away for good, Briar got him where it hurts and Alfred didn't leave after all.  That's when Briar reveled that he indeed was the First Ally.

We then go to Alfred patching up Bruce and seriously, it's a miracle there was anything left to patch at this point.  When Bruce wakes up, he tells Alfred he has the Genesis Engine, but when Alfred demands to go back to Gotham, Bruce insists they find the killer that keeps alluding him.

That's when the shit hits the fan and Alfred reveals that he indeed stayed with Briar as part of the secret Nemesis Program.  Because of that, Alfred knows what that Knight is and wants to get the hell out of Miami pronto!  Of course, Bruce will have none of that...until things get even crazier than before.

I don't want to spoil the big twist, so I'll just tell you that Batman and Alfred were played by a couple of villains and it actually made me smile to see it.  The smile left my lips, though, when I realized that we got another cliffhanger with the idea that both Alfred and Batman were about to die.  It's not because we got that last issue, but because I have no idea how they can get out of this one.

While I like some parts of this issue, especially the ending, it was mostly filled with exposition and because of that, it felt like not enough happened.  I am not against a wordy issue per se, but the continued "pirate talk" is not doing enough for me to push the story forward.  Still, I am enjoying the idea of the First Ally, but want to see more of young Alfred.  In fact, I wish that the story was just dealing with Alfred's past because that is way more interesting than Batman and the Genesis Engine...at least for now.

I am a fan of Rafael Albuquerque and while I like the style he brings to the action scenes in this story, it doesn't translate as well in the quieter scenes.  There are a bit of those in this issue and because of that, the look of the book suffered a little.

Albuquerque's backup story picks up with Batman on the run and his actions causing the Myasniks to put their plan into overdrive and target Gotham even more.  There isn't a whole lot to it, but I loved the Metal Gear Solid feel of Batman taking out guards and sticking to the shadows.

Bits and Pieces:

The First Ally story continues with some twists and turns, but before a crazy cliffhanger there is a whole lot of exposition.  Scott Snyder wants to make sure the reader gets the pirate connections in his story and while it plays out pretty well, it also ruins the pace of the story a bit.  I'm still intrigued and excited to see how this story plays out, but this issue was a bit of a downer compared to the ones that came before it.


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