Batman and Alfred head down to Miami, where a deadly new villain (and a brand new story arc) awaits.
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Raphael Albuquerque
Publisher: DC Comics
First Read Reactions
- Kind of weird seeing a young Bruce Wayne get chased by London policeman from the 1960’s.
- That’s cute. Hush actually thinks that flying over a stadium will stop Batman from chasing him.
- When you can’t scare a man with death, threaten him with a facelift, instead.
- No one remembers how big traffic lights are until it’s too late.
- “I’m not naked. I have a painting.”
- Gotta hate when you try to be halfway honest and a group of pirates won’t believe you.
- And THAT is why we shouldn’t cut the National Endowment for the Arts!
- Remember the kalima scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? It is so, so much worse/horrifying as a medically accurate procedure.
- Oh snap. I completely called that one wrong.
It’s hard to go wrong when Snyder teams up with his artist from American Vampire, Raphael Albuquerque. Just like in that title, All-Star Batman #10 is packed full of gorgeously rendered settings, kinetically charged action sequences, and some of the most expressive faces you see in any comic on the stands. Add in colorist Jordie Bellaire’s rich palettes, and this might be an early front-runner for the most beautiful looking single issue of 2017.
Story-wise, Scott Snyder takes a typical Batman retrospective tale and completely turns it on its head. By the issue’s end, it’s clear that the usual money laundering and drug smuggling shenanigans are merely the beginning of a threat that’s much bigger and shockingly personal.
Snyder also does an incredible job telling the story from Alfred’s point of view. Not only does it afford us a completely different perspective of Batman’s work, but it also serves to spin the narrative at the last possible moment into something you won’t be expecting…
…or maybe you totally will be expecting it and I was just too stupid to catch on. But I happen to take a lot of pride in my predictive cynicism and Snyder still managed to pull one over on me. Either way, the script perfectly balances Alfred’s narration with plenty of dialogue from Batman. Instead of falling into the trap most Alfred-centric stories do (an old man whining incessantly about how Bruce is going to get himself killed one day), All-Star Batman #10 humanizes Alfred in a way that somehow makes him seem both more relatable and a bit more badass—all while still feeling like a real Batman story.
There’s also a nice backup story at the end of the issue, but the main story was more than enough to make this one of my favorite issues of All-Star Batman so far. If this issue is an indication of things to come, then The First Ally might be a lot more than the introduction of a new Batman villain—it could also turn out to be a classic.