Review: All-Star Batman #2

asbm_cv2_dsAll aboard the train ride from hell! Batman and Two-Face continue their journey to Harvey Dent’s cure through an assassin-infested landscape. But can the Dark Knight continue his crusade across the countryside when Two Face turns one of his greatest allies against him?

Batman’s trek to cure Harvey continues in this issue which has a video game vibe in how it’s laid out by writer Scott Snyder. The issue is action packed with some moments to reflect on Harvey the person and his relationship with Batman/Bruce.

I say the issue has a video game vibe about it as villain after villain is tossed at Batman, a gauntlet of battles and situations he must fight or think his way out of. In a way it’s structured like levels in a game.

That’s not a bad thing at all as this is an action-focused story currently, and one that’s quite entertaining. To see Batman battle all these villains in quick succession keeps you on your toes and wanting to see what he’ll do next to escape and win and it really feels like he’s being beaten down with each encounter. The sense of danger increases with each scene. It actually feels like a challenge and a pretty big one too.

Snyder lays out some excellent and entertaining scenes and sequences and continues to play with time. When we’re not dealing with Batman’s journey, we’re seeing some history of Harvey Dent and also the GCPD on a mission. It’s bits and pieces that come together for a greater whole and once done will make a cool tableau of a story.

John Romita, Jr.‘s art is fantastic. I’m one who goes back and forth with his work, but here his art is fantastic with a style that matches the weary feel of it all. Romita’s pencils just add to the concept of Batman being worn down through battle.

A second story also written by Snyder focuses on Duke Thomas and what type of hero he’ll be as they attempt to go after Zsasz. It’s much more character focused and psychological as the tension ramps up with each page as Batman and Duke hunt their villain. Where the first story is focused on action, the second is more a character study. The two together make an excellent pairing of storytelling.

Snyder is joined by Declan Shalvey whose style and layouts add to the psychological build of it all. Panels are used with minimal design in an almost retro vibe to it and it adds to the noir-ish take to the story.

Two issues in and the series is a home run. This is a bit of a grittier and darker take on Batman fitting in action, psychological examinations, character studies, and amazing art. Easily the best Batman book out there right now after two issues, and that’s saying something.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: John Romita, Jr., Declan Shalvey
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review