Before reading All-Star Batman #1 my only prior exposure of Scott Snyder's Batman work was the one shot Batman: Rebirth book that he developed the story for that Tom King wrote. While I liked it, it wasn't my favorite book of the Rebirth one shots and that disappointed me because I'm a huge Batman fan and I really, really wanted to love that book and I just didn't. Something just wasn't quite there for me. Since then, I've been waiting for this book because I've heard many a great things about Snyder's Batman writing and I was just hoping for something better than the Rebirth one shot.
Oh boy, is this book better. Like, A LOT better.
The thing I appreciate about Snyder and also Tim King who is writing the current Batman series is that they understand just how impressive Batman has to be at what he does without making him overpowered. There are times when he definitely gets overwhelmed or surprised by his villains, but that's when he is at his best, when the chips are down and his enemies falsely believe they have him trapped, only to be proven very wrong......usually in a painful manner.
All-Star Batman #1 is told with a disjointed timeline for its first story, "My Own Worst Enemy, Part 1" and you're left to do some reasoning on just what exactly is going for the first few pages. It's pretty straightforward though and you discover that somehow Two-Face has managed to turn all of Gotham against Batman for a very high price and Batman's only hope is to bring him to a location outside of the city that will provide some answers as long as everyone else in between doesn't kill him first.
From the beginning, this book puts Batman in a perilous and vulnerable position that he has to find a way out of overall and within the scope of everyone else turning on him. It's there when he is on the ground, seemingly in a kill box that he manages to be the hero that we all know him to be and come out on top at least for that one battle or two that he faces in the ongoing war that is sure to rage for a bit here in this arc. Two-Face has a meticulous plan up his sleeve and whatever it is, it's dangerous enough for Batman to allow himself to be vulnerable just to root it out.
This book is a bit more than the other DC Rebirth books at $4.99 instead of $2.99, likely because of the second story in the book entitled "The Cursed Wheel, Part 1," which is finally giving us some more setup of the current relationship between Batman and Duke Thomas, his latest partner in crimefighting. It's a shorter story at the end of the book, but it's a solid one too nonetheless that promises to give us some good backstory on the Bruce-Duke paradigm, one that does appear to be in effect in All-Star Batman and the current Batman series.
I've said it before that this is a great time to be a Batman fan for the DC Rebirth line as this is now the third Batman series being printed and all of them are very good. Unlike the others though, we will be waiting a full month to continue this story arc but just like the others, it's off to a great start.
5 out of 5 - DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH: All-Star Batman #1
This series is monthly, next issue due out September 14.