The ‘Ends of the Earth’ story arc comes to its explosive conclusion. Buckle up, kids. This one gets pretty weird (in a good way).
Writer: Scott Snyder
Publisher: DC Comics
- Real Talk Part 1: I thought the opening lines of this story (particularly the “This is not a Batman story” part) were a bit esoteric/obnoxious. They actually end up being something very different…and very cool.
- C’mon, Alfred! GPS has made you weak!
- Real Talk Part 2: I had to look up what ‘solipsism’ is.
- I can’t believe we’ve had all this talk about the Washington Monument without anyone making a penis joke.
- OF COURSE he’s behind this…
- …but to be fair, I totally did not see it coming.
- HA! I won’t spoil the moment, but Alfred and [character name redacted] have some pretty good banter chemistry.
- Eat your heart out, Watchmen.
- HOLY CRAP.
- Ah, so that’s it. Well played…
- *frantically checks phone to make sure it still works*
If you carve out the somewhat random/unfulfilling first coda from the issue, then All-Star Batman #9 is both a near perfect final act and a great story on its own.
In addition to some cool and genuinely surprising twists, Scott Snyder makes a villain I’ve always found to be painfully redundant into a force of nature that feels almost uncomfortably real and timely.
Layered within all the breath taking action sequences is some great dialogue that explores just how fragile our hold over the world truly is. Even if we did have superheroes protecting us (aside from David Brooke), there are plenty of demons (born of both our faults and better angels) that could bring everything down around our collective ears in a heartbeat.
I do wish that we’d gotten a bit more explanation—or at least a closer view—into some of the story arc’s threads, particularly the Blackhawks and Duke’s kidnapping. But the story’s chilling second (and final) coda more than makes up for it.
On the art side of things, Jock is great as usual. Maybe I just haven’t seen enough of his work, but this might be the largest amount of widescreen-type action I’ve ever seen him do in one issue. Also, I’m not sure anyone else can make a reverse headshot work as good as he can.
Next month, All-Star Batman introduces a new villain. I’ll miss getting spoiled with the classic rogues gallery we got in Ends of the Earth, but after two great arcs, it’s safe to say that this title can be counted on for good stories no matter who’s up to no good.