Monday, 1 May 2017

All-Star Batman #5 - DC Comics

ALL-STAR BATMAN No. 5, February 2017
Sadly, it is easy to see just why this title’s readership continued to fall during the “My Own Worst Enemy” story-arc. True, Issue Five of “All-Star Batman” still managed to sell a formidable 87,422 copies in December 2016, and brings the Dark Knight’s 498 mile-long road trip with Two-Face to something of a conclusion. But Scott Snyder’s narrative remarkably achieves all this without making much sense whatsoever, and arguably raises infinitely more questions as to the elongated storyline’s plot than a finale ever should.

For starters, it is never satisfactorily explained just why the titular character decided he had to literally transport Harvey Dent with him to their old boarding school? Why couldn’t the Caped Crusader simply take the ‘Batwing’ alone to the hiding place of the gangster’s mysterious cure, and bring the concoction which “works on the Meoa, on Oxytocin… on the chemistry that makes us compassionate or selfish” back with him? Apart from it providing the comic’s Stan Lee Award-winner with a contrived premise for his five-parter, as well as giving the American author an opportunity to suggest an unruly infant Bruce Wayne once roomed with the former District Attorney in a residence for troubled youngsters, the decision makes little logical sense.

In addition, what could possibly have possessed a young Alfred Pennyworth to approach someone to kill the Joker and fund the murder using monies “we’d allocated for the [Bat]cave.” Such a betrayal of everything the morally-high "surrogate father figure" stands for is simply unfathomable, and yet to make matters worse, Snyder then adds insult to injury by having the butler confess over the phone that he actually sabotaged the Batplane in order to convince his master to turn back from his current adventure; “I am a hypocrite. But know that at every stage, I was trying to save you.” 

Quite possibly this thirty-one page periodical’s only saving grace, apart from some outstandingly dynamic artwork by John Romita Junior, is the continuously threatening presence of supervillain KGBeast. Homicidal and insane, the heavily armed killer dominates every scene within which he appears, whether it be gunning down ‘innocents’ from the deck of a steamboat or skewering Batman through the shoulder with a metal spike, and as a result frustratingly seems to be the only member of this comic’s cast who captures both the imagination and interest...
The regular cover art of "ALL-STAR BATMAN" No. 5 by John Romita Junior

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