See all reviews of All-Star Batman (15)

What the hell do you mean this is the last issue?

First Read Reactions

  • After dealing with Batman for a few years, jumping onto a moving plane must seem like a piece of cake.
  • As good as this story is, Briar (aka Diet Ra’s al Ghul) is getting downright tiresome.
  • Best. Alfred. Moment. Ever.
  • I know there’s more to this flashback, but that is a really odd helmet.
  • Of course Batman can still do that after a plane crash. OF COURSE!
  • Holy crap. My cynicism just got knocked flat on its ass by a twist I definitely did not see coming.
  • Definitely saw that one, though *smug grin returns*
  • Just when you think you can’t love Alfred anymore…

The Verdict

It’s good every once in a while to get a reminder of what a badass Alfred is. “The First Ally” story arc has provided that in spades, particularly with this conclusive issue.

The story itself certainly isn’t perfect. There are a couple of story beats/twists that you can see coming a mile away. And as a main villain, Briar is about as generic and dull as they come. But underneath all of that is an inspiring and genuinely touching story about what makes Alfred tick…along with a pretty badass pirate tale.

And if I’m going to do my usual “those twists were so obvious” spiel, then I also need to give Scott Snyder credit for knocking my socks off with the revelation about how Briar’s one is.

On the art side of things, I’m not sure I could think of a better artist to team up with Snyder for this final issue than Rafael Albuquerque. Much like Alfred’s life, his work is both beautiful and brutal.

I know that a lot of you have probably read your fair share of Batman stories recycle the same old plot lines as they attempted prove Alfred’s worth in the Dark Knight’s mythos. But take it from a grumpy cynic like me–“The First Ally” is one of the tales that really does get it right…and makes sure you also have plenty of swashbuckling fun along the way.

All-Star Batman #14
Is it good?
A heartfelt tribute to Alfred's awesomeness wrapped inside a badass swashbuckling tale.
Much like Alfred's life, Rafael Albuquerque's artwork is both beautiful and brutal.
Scott Snyder's script provides a genuinely shocking twist along with some genuinely badass and touching moments for Alfred.
Briar is about as dull and generic a villain as you could ask for.
Two of the issue's big reveals are so obvious you can feel them coming from a few pages away.
8
Good