Scott Snyder Redefines Two Face in All-Star Batman #1

Thursday, 11 August 2016 - 8:41PM
DC Comics
Batman
Thursday, 11 August 2016 - 8:41PM
Scott Snyder Redefines Two Face in All-Star Batman #1
It was sad to see the Snyder and Capullo era of Batman come to an end with the New 52 when artist Greg Capullo decided it was time for a break and went off to work on Mark Millar's latest project, Reborn. The duo had been on the main Bat title for five years, and every arc they completed - from the Court of Owls, to Death of the Family, to Zero Year, to Endgame, to Superheavy - turned out to be a truly phenomenal Batman experience, and each of them will likely sit on essential Batman reading lists for decades to come.

Without Capullo by his side, however, Snyder has decided to continue his work with the character with his very own brand new title, All-Star Batman, and the first issue of the series just hit shelves yesterday. Renowned artist John Romita Jr. of Kick-Ass and TDK III fame has joined him on this first issue, and throughout the course of the series, other superstar comic creators will be hopping on to bring Snyder's stories to life.

The first issue set the stakes for the arc by showing that Batman is on a mission to take Two Face 500 miles outside of Gotham. Snyder's Two Face is more of a Jekyll and Hyde than a constantly warring split-personality, and the Hyde in this scenario has been gaining strength and taking over for longer periods of time. He's also been upping his game and staging attacks on Gotham in some pretty brutal ways. When Dent had his last turn at the drivers seat, he sent Bruce a message, telling him to take him to some mysterious house 500 miles away and burn the Two Face out of him.

The catch? Two Face has somehow been able to obtain all of the dirty laundry on basically everyone everywhere, and he's threatening to release it if someone doesn't stop Batman. He's also promised the fortunes of the three biggest crime lords in Gotham to whoever finally takes down the Bat.

The result is a story that plays out like a Mad Max: Fury Road edition of Batman, with criminals like Firefly, Killer Moth, and Black Spider showing up to try and take the Dark Knight down as he makes his way toward his final destination. The first issue showed that not only are these super villains and assassins trying to take down Bats, but so are everyday citizens who want the money promised by Two Face and even possibly allies that don't want Bruce to know their secrets.

Snyder does an excellent job of setting up crucial plot points and action, as the issue starts off in a diner where the cook just so happens to make wood sculptures. The server also makes a statement about how big the bugs seem to get every single year, a great set up for when Firefly and Killer Moth come crashing through the window. The wood sculptures also end up playing a big part in the fight as well, with Bruce using one as a dummy to escape and then surprise Black Spider.

Snyder's Jekyll and Hyde take on Two Face is also fascinating, and it's a nice change of pace to bring to the character. From the looks of it, All-Star Batman could do for Two Face what Death of the Family and Endgame did for the Joker by setting up a unique spin on the character and adding to their depth all the while keeping things close to the mythos and core of the villain.

On the other hand, while Romita Jr.'s artwork is beautiful and there's no denying that he's an uber talented artist, it's hard not to think that he was the wrong guy for this particular story. His Batman falls short of what other artists are currently doing with the character (which is odd considering he draws a great Bats in TDK III), and his choreography is clunky and unclear compared to Capullo's super clarity and nuance when it comes to action scenes. He's a great artist, and there is some undoubtedly beautiful pencil work in this issue. However, something seems to be missing.

Overall, however, All-Star Batman surpasses expectations and seems to be the start of yet another great story by Scott Snyder. This is the man who reinvented Batman's first year on the job, killed Batman and Joker in the same issue, and then brought them both back to life. This is the man who somehow made a Jim Gordon Batman arc cool. If anyone ever doubted that his work with the character would suffer after Capullo's departure, those doubts should be all but obliterated after this phenomenal first issue.

All-Star Batman #2 is due out on September 14th.
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