REVIEW: All Star Batman #1

When a term such as “all star” precedes any given name, one could routinely expect a nearly untouchable level of quality and respectability to be associated with that type of designation. Add the words “all star” in front of a well-known name, like Batman for instance, and then whisper it to your Bat-fanatic friends, and you’re chances of seeing them drool non-stop will increase dramatically. Fortunately, for fans of the Dark Knight, yet another Bat-book in All Star Batman now exists alongside the Detective Comics and Batman titles during the Rebirth era of DC Comics.

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One noticeable distinction with this new publication versus the other previously released DC Rebirth books, would be the price point. Regular cover issue pricing begins at $4.99, which could cause fans to lend a more critical eye when reading and viewing this book than they normally would compared to other DC Rebirth titles, which start off at $2.99. But, if money isn’t too much of a concern for when you put together your weekly pull list, then you’re left with the “why”…why would you invest your money on All Star Batman? Is purchasing this book justified simply because one of the most recognizable Batman writers of the last few years in Scott Snyder is writing this series and/or because a Romita is handling the drawing duties? Or, are you saying to yourself, “it’s Batman, what can possibly go wrong with a Batman book”…right?

Well, I’d hate to disappoint you, but this book was far from perfect despite the commanding presence of the Dark Knight and his primary antagonist in this tale, Two-Face. Two-Face may not be Batman’s number one nemesis, but we certainly know that he’s far from last on Batman’s list of baddies! Speaking of Bat-villains, this issue kicks-off what seems to be a Who’s Who of adversaries that’s coming straight from the bottom of Batman’s Rogue Gallery…even citizens living on the outskirts of Gotham, will rise up to oppose Batman during this story arc thanks to the machinations of Gotham’s former District Attorney.

Snyder’s use of flashbacks during the inaugural issue of All Star Batman, makes the story a bit difficult to follow, particularly during the opening sequences. The confusion doesn’t end there. This book contains a main story and a backup story. Duke Thomas appears in both; however, his appearance during the core story is brief and it still isn’t clear whether or not he’ll be something like a Robin, more than a Robin, or less than Robin. The backup feature focuses mainly on the training of Duke Thomas, with Batman offering his newest pupil intensified lessons in how to be a world-class detective. Snyder’s script showed subtle hints of humor, which was ok, but it stood in contrast to several panels of dialogue where Batman’s god complex reached new heights. John Romita Jr’s art wasn’t poor at all, although the best work he’s done recently could be found in The Dark Knight: The Last Crusade, in my opinion.

It seems like we just can’t get enough of the Caped Crusader in our comic book diet these days. But, just because a book showcases the Dark Knight, doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to be good. Despite the Snyder and Romita Jr. collaboration in All Star Batman #1, I feel that there is definitely ample room for improvement in ensuring that this book truly lives up to an All Star standard.

Being among the best is one thing; being the one that stands out from the best of the best, makes you legendary. Batman is a legendary character. No one on this Earth could ever dispute that. Period and the end. Now, the only unanswered questions that are left in regards to this latest DC Rebirth title is this: Will the collaborative efforts of the creative team be enough to make the All Star Batman title, a legendary one? Will it be a book that comic fans will gravitate to and talk about until their last breath is drawn? The answer is simply this – that depends on the creative team, but most importantly, that’s totally up to you on whether or not you decide to support this book after reading the story!

Until next time Crusaders!

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All Star Batman #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Danny Miki
Colors: Dean White
Published by DC Comics

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