All Star Batman #1
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by John Romita Jr. and Declan Shalvey
Inks by Danny Miki and Declan Shalvey
I think most fans would agree that DC’s New 52 titles had a lot of problems. But one of the highlights of the New 52 was Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. The two did an amazing job with the Dark Knight, so good it became hard to imagine anyone else at the helm of the Batman monthly.
But Bat-fans didn’t have to worry for long. With the ongoing DC Rebirth, Scott Snyder has moved on to brand new All Star Batman title, with art duties rotating between such names as John Romita Jr., Declan Shalvey, Jock, Sean Gordon Murphy, and Tula Lotay. With talent like that, I think this is going to be a fun ride.
Anyways, In All Star Batman #1 Batman has promised to take Harvey Dent out of Gotham and deliver him to a house where Dent believes he can rid himself of his villainous alter ego. Of course Two-Face doesn’t want to be eliminated, so he offers a huge bounty on Batman’s head.
As an added bonus, Two-Face promises that if Batman is not brought down soon, he will release all of the illicit information that he collected during his time as District Attorney. In other words: everyone’s dirty little secrets are coming out.
All the while, Two-Face’s split personality is helping and hindering Batman’s progress, making Harvey both an interesting sidekick and a brilliant foil. The art kept the story and the action moving quickly, even though the story is being told backwards. And speaking of the art…
I used to be a huge John Romita Jr. fan when he was drawing The Punisher and Uncanny X-Men. But his style started changing, and over the last decade or so his art changed to much I tried to avoid it whenever possible. However, I’m happy to say that Romita’s work in All Star Batman #1 is the best stuff he’s done in a long time. This is the JRJR I remember.
His rendition of Two-Face has some genuinely intimidating moments, like when you only see Harvey Dent’s deformed eye underneath his hood. Or when he shows up in the field behind Batman. Great stuff, made even better by the unique script from Scott Snyder.
Rounding out this first issue is the first chapter of a backup story that teams Scott Snyder with artist Declan Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire. The tone of this backup story is more intimate than the main one, but it still carries some of the craziness of the feature story.
From what I’ve read, Scott Snyder got the idea for this story from a road trip he took with his nine-year-old to the southwest. Well, whatever gave him the idea, I’m glad DC agreed to let him do it because I can’t wait for All Star Batman #2.