Thursday, 22 February 2018

All-Star Batman #9 - DC Comics

ALL-STAR BATMAN No. 9, June 2017
Scott Snyder’s “Finale” to his “Ends Of The Earth” story-arc must surely have come as a bitterly disappointing blow to the 67,632 followers who made this title the twelfth best-selling comic book in April 2017. Indeed, with the notable exception of an appearance by “one of Batman's most enduring enemies”, Ra's al Ghul, there’s arguably very little within the New Yorker’s twenty-two page script which either entertains or even actually makes any sense whatsoever.

For starters, having hitherto (mis)treated his audience to some tantalisingly brief encounters with some of the Dark Knight’s more notorious nemeses - Mister Freeze, Poison Ivy and the Mad Hatter, this particular plot disconcertingly leaps forward in time to a point where the Caped Crusader is already being hotly pursued by a handful of helicopters as he races towards Washington Monument, and is riding a motorbike which has previously had its G.P.S. and weapon systems ‘blown out’. Admittedly, such a story-telling technique hurls the reader straight into the action without giving them time to even breathe, but rather lazily also allows the American author to omit any explanations as to just why “in nineteen minutes, the Blackhawks put a bullet in Duke’s head if we can’t get to that tower.” There's not even a hint as to how the “Demon’s Head” ever managed to commission “tech developed for the Blackhawks… to get Freeze into that [Alaskan] facility” or how the son of Sensei later “laced the incendiary bombs with Ivy’s research” so as to make his deadly spores extra virulent..?

Instead, the Stan Lee Award-winner simply appears to hope that as such a complicated chain of events purportedly makes perfect sense to Batman, his writing’s patrons will just meekly accept them as fact and get on trying to digest the rest of his incomprehensible penmanship. It’s certainly hard to understand how else the reader would ever be expected to guess that the caped figure initially seen being blown off their motorised 'bat-ride', is actually Selina Kyle using digitally-enhanced camouflage “technology to mask her[self]” whilst Bruce Wayne makes his way unseen to the criminal mastermind’s location; “All to draw my men away, eh? You’ve always been an illusionist.”

Disagreeably, this comic’s artwork only seems to add to the senselessness of Snyder’s script, with Mark Simpson’s scratchily drawn figures providing yet another hurdle to the adventure’s accessibility. In fact, if Ra’s Al Ghul didn’t publically announce himself towards the beginning of this comic, it would potentially never be clear just who the brains behind the Dark Knight’s predicament was, and that’s despite Jock pencilling the League of Assassins’ leader facially full on before the tale is even a quarter of the way through its telling…

‘First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
The regular cover art of "ALL-STAR BATMAN" No. 9 by Mark "Jock" Simpson

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