All-Star Batman #12

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Fair

AllStarBatman12-minBattered, bloody, as well as badly beaten beneath the waves, Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s Batman has arguably never looked finer than in the opening act of this twenty-two page periodical as Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego relies entirely upon his brains and brawn, as opposed to insane technological gadgetry, in order to overcome what at first appears insurmountable odds. In fact Scott Snyder’s sequence depicting a grim-faced Dark Knight, knee-deep in salt water, physically attaching some tow cables to a pair of torpedoes whilst huffing and puffing with exertion must have absolutely delighted this comic’s 60,569 readers in July 2017, and momentarily made them recall just why this title was supposedly “considered the crown jewel of DC Rebirth.”

Regrettably however, the New Yorker’s narrative soon dramatically descends into the dark depths as swiftly as Tiger Shark’s sinking submarine, once Captain Batman’s plan succeeds and the unconscious super-hero is saved from a watery grave by a quartet of mermaids. Admittedly, these aquatic females aren’t actually the mythical creatures of folklore, but rather respirator-wearing beauties hired by Gotham City’s murderous pirate to entertain his gambling guests. Yet their dramatic appearance does coincide with the American author’s preposterous plot that Alfred Pennyworth was actually himself mentored in a training programme which “was hundreds of years old” and resultantly became “a single soldier, an errant knight” for MI5…

This disappointing premise even goes so far as to suggest that the sharp-sworded Nemesis-programmed armoured knight who so readily ‘dispatched’ the titular character in the previous instalment of “The First Ally” is in reality one of the aide-de-camp’s successors. A troubling revelation with regards to the background of “Bruce Wayne’s loyal and tireless butler” which is arguably only just less absurd than Snyder’s concluding shocker that Hush and the “Black And Whites” had been “in it together from the start” as part of “a ploy to get you to acquire us the [Genesis] engine, Batman.”

Disconcertingly, the back-up story to Issue Twelve of “All-Star Batman” is equally as discouraging in its depiction as to the noticeable naivety of “the world’s greatest detective” by portraying the Caped Crusader mistiming a seemingly simple ambush upon three armed guards “somewhere on the outskirts of Moscow.” Neatly written by Rafael Albuquerque and Rafael Scavone overall, this ‘short’ does however dishearteningly focus almost entirely upon the Dark Knight bungling an attempt to destroy a munitions cargo at a time when his undercover disguise as a Russian street-fighter has also been compromised.

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6

Fair

Reviewed by
For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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