All-Star Batman Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy Review

By
Comic Books:
Eric Joseph

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4.5
On April 25, 2017
Last modified:April 24, 2017

Summary:

Although it features a veritable smorgasbord of villains, All-Star Batman Vol. 1 is one of the best Two-Face stories you'll ever read.

All-Star Batman Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy Review

This review is based off a volume that collects All-Star Batman #1-5.

Unless you’re a casual reader scoping out this review, odds are that you’re at least somewhat aware of the many contributions Scott Snyder has made to the Batman mythos during this decade. To say that he and Greg Capullo have made their mark is an understatement. Whether it be creating the Court of Owls, redefining the Joker or even putting Jim Gordon under the cowl, that dynamic duo may very well one day find themselves mentioned in the same breath as legendary creative teams such as Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams.

But after wrapping a definitive 51-issue run, where does one go from there? For Snyder, at least, the solution for All-Star Batman was simple: Beyond the borders of Gotham City. I must admit that taking the Dark Knight out of his comfort zone opens up some interesting possibilities, especially when he’s not just scrambling over the rooftops of another comparable city like, say, Metropolis.

As opposed to having a constant when it comes to a contributing artist like Capullo, All-Star Batman welcomes a revolving door of some of the industry’s top talent, with veteran John Romita Jr. lending his pencils to the main narrative in this volume. Personally, I think his art is best suited to specific characters; Spider-Man and Kick-Ass, yes, Superman and the Suicide Squad, not so much. But I do find his Batman to be pretty badass, especially with Dean White’s colors making his panels evermore robust.

Like I said moments ago, the Caped Crusader ventures outside of comfort zone, embarking on a road trips of sorts. You see, he’s absconded with Two-Face, hoping to cure his old friend at the cost of his own reputation and safety. But, there’s a bit of a twist: The sinister side of Harvey Dent’s scarred psyche has leveraged Gotham’s underworld into preventing him from ever coming into a cure. As such, the likes of Firefly, Killer Moth, Killer Croc, King Shark and, most of all, KGBeast prove to be thorns in the Batman’s side.

One aspect about this book that I especially liked was how it intertwined Bruce and Harvey’s history like never before. Yes, we’re all aware of how they were allies in the early days when the latter was still district attorney, but seeing flashbacks to them first meeting in a program for troubled youth makes for a welcome, logical addition to the mythos. Furthermore, we learn how great of an impact Harvey had on Bruce, with one panel showing the ruthless Batman he could have become. All this allows you to better understand Bruce’s motivation and really strengthens the idea that this is their story no matter how inflated the cast of guests may be.

Also included are the backups illustrated by Declan Shalvey that show Duke Thomas learning the tricks of the trade. Truth be told, I’m fine with this character (who still needs a codename) and it’s obvious that Snyder enjoys writing for him, but I don’t like how Damian has been muscled out of Bruce’s life in this and the other flagship Bat-books because of Duke being there. Sure, you can still find Robin over in Teen Titans and Super Sons – or even in Nightwing – but he’s the son of Batman, for crying out loud. No matter your level of familiarity with him, does that really sound like someone who should be left out in the cold?

While All-Star Batman Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy may not quite reach the bar set by The Court of Owls, Death of the Family or Endgame, it’s undoubtedly one of the greatest Two-Face stories I’ve ever read in addition to being one of Snyder’s most intelligent, cleverest contributions to this corner of the DC Universe. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

All-Star Batman Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy Review
Fantastic

Although it features a veritable smorgasbord of villains, All-Star Batman Vol. 1 is one of the best Two-Face stories you'll ever read.


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