Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: John Romita Jr., & Danny Miki
Scott Snyder worked wonders throughout the majority of his New 52 run with the Dark Knight, according to most readers. If you were a fan of his before, you’re probably — and hopefully — already reading All-Star Batman too. We’re now three issues into the run and it’s certain, at least to me, that this is the best of all ongoing Batman series right now.
Such a distinction was predicted by me and plenty of others, no doubt, but that just means it’s rewarding to see it come to fruition. The tone of A-SB thus far is much different from either the Tom King series or even Snyder’s past work and it works really well. The colors ooze with more tans and golds, strange for a supposed “dark” hero, but it gives the whole story a pulpy feel so far. Of course, the murderer’s row of, well, murderers coming for Batman along his trip with Harvey Dent adds that extra bit of Tarantino-esque atmosphere.
This issue could reasonably be called slower than the two before, but it’s by no means a filler. The Harvey and Bruce dynamic is explored more to great effect, and plenty of motivated rogues appear, some in humorous fashion, to try their hand at winning Two-Face’s wager. To top that off, issue #3 uses the best cliffhanger of any Batman since Rebirth began months ago. So often, comic book spoilers are phony lead-ins to the next issue. Misdirection’s or unreliable narrators show one thing, then clarify another just an issue later as readers learn the situation wasn’t as dire as it appeared. It’s seemingly not the case this time, and though I don’t believe the consequences surrounding the cliffhanger are irreversible, they do seem no less than very problematic for our hero in the next issue.
If there’s a gripe so far, it’s in the lack of attention playing up on Two-Face’s motives. We understand he wants to prove to Batman that everyone has a darker side, even Batman, and even if they don’t all wear their darkness on the left side of their body. The metaphors have always been heavy-handed with Two-Face, and Snyder seems comfy to reiterate a lot of those same themes, but he has, in interviews, teased a deeper dive into that symbolism, too, and so far we haven’t seen it. I guess that’s simply because the odd couple of Bats and Harvey have had barely a moment to catch their breath along their fast-approaching 200 mile journey.