Alfred may be singing the same old song, but rarely has it ever sounded this good.
Okay, I’m going to be honest here — I totally can’t remember what the Genesis Engine is. But that’s because this deep dive into Alfred’s past (combined with Batman fighting pirates and a couple of his big name villains) is so good. Who has time for a MacGuffin when there’s a good story to tell?
First Read Reactions
- Ever had one of those nightmares where you’re falling? Well imagine that, only you falling is actually how you wake up, and you’ll know what Alfred’s going through right now.
- Speaking of nightmares, Alfred’s old mentor Briar makes Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket seem downright cuddly.
- You know things are serious when Batman has to steal a motorcycle.
- Still don’t remember what the Genesis Engine is, but this Nemesis character is pretty damn cool.
- Remember what I said about Briar a few seconds ago? Yeah…he’s even worse than I thought.
- Alfred = Total Badass.
As Game of Thrones recently reminded us, a story’s penultimate chapter is often weakened by its necessary set building for the final act.
All-Star Batman #13 is probably the weakest of the First Ally story arc so far, but it’s far from being a bad issue. In addition to Rafael Albuquerque going to town on some incredible action sequences, Scott Snyder graces us with some gut wrenching moments from Alfred’s past that dovetail perfectly into his badass actions/decisions by the issue’s end.
So what makes this one suffer a bit from penultimate-itis? In my opinion, the main issue is the rhythm of Alfred’s past narration. Although the overall story is still fantastic, then constant “but then…” back and forth between his perception and what ends up actually happening has started to feel redundant. Combine that with Alfred’s usual “I wish he would stop being Batman” hand wringing, and even a great creative team like this one can’t help but sound like a cover band of worn out song.
Thankfully, the main story (if not the theme) paralleling Alfred’s past with his current predicament is still superb–and set up beautifully for what promises to be a hell of a finish.