Last month’s issue of Snyder and Romita’s All-Star Batman was darn near perfect. This week, the “My Own Worst Enemy” story arc picks up with Batman finding himself in quite a b(l)ind.
Is it good?
All-Star Batman #4 (DC Comics)
- Not sure who the random person trapped in that basement is, but it sounds they’re being forced to watch The Killing Joke animated movie on a loop.
- You have to admire Scott Snyder’s restraint at not making any “blind as a bat” jokes right here.
- Huh. It’s usually Daredevil who rips off Batman instead of the other way around.
- Harvey Dent has clearly never seen any of the Austin Powers movies.
- “LOAD BATMAN’S #$% NOW!”
- Duke should probably know by now that if a biplane is nearby, then Batman is going to find a way to fly it.
- Harvey Dent’s revamped back-story is all types of tragic ☹
- I guess KG Beast doesn’t like Austin Powers, either.
- You know things have gotten weird when Harvey Dent seems a bit scarier than Two-Face.
- Okay, so maybe the Austin Powers movies just don’t exist in this universe—although it looks like everyone’s a big fan of The Purge franchise.
Is It Good?
Last issue was going to be hard to top no matter what. All-Star Batman #4 is still a fun read, but it suffers from some narrative missteps that keep it from being as good as I was hoping/expecting.
For starters, I thought we had finally moved past the whole “Set an overly complicated trap, then leave and assume everything went perfectly according to plan” method of villainy. Along those same lines, why would a villain go from doing everything they could to kill Batman to capturing and holding him hostage WHEN HE COULD HAVE KILLED HIM RIGHT THERE?
Ahem. Sorry. As I was saying…I realize that this is a big franchise superhero book, but I still expect a lot more out of Snyder than to rely such tired tropes. We also have some dangling plot threads from the opening issues that almost feel like they’ve been abandoned. I trust Snyder to tied them up by the end, but it would be nice to see some connective tissue there, particularly for the single-issue readers.
That being said, the book once again provides us with some wonderful moments of dialogue, particularly between Duke and Batman. I also love the way Snyder has made this version of Batman able to joke around a bit without ever seeming to silly.
Another mark is Snyder’s favor is the additional layers of backstory he’s added to Harvey Dent. I wouldn’t have thought it could be done without feeling shoehorned, but this is actually really good (and heartbreaking) stuff.
On the art side of things, I’m not sure what I can say about John Romita Jr.’s work that I haven’t already. He continues to be one of the best in the business at using his pictures to tell a story rather than simply sitting there and looking pretty. He also does a hell of a job rendering physical trauma and injury. All-Star Batman hasn’t reached Kick-Ass levels of gore yet, but we’ve occasionally gotten close.
Once again, the Duke-centered backup tale (written by Snyder and drawn by Declan Shavley) is superb. This time, unfortunately, it also manages to outshine the main story.
If you’ve been enjoying All-Star Batman so far (like I have), then this issue is definitely still worth picking up. Let’s just hope that next month sees it return to its previous exemplary form.