Friday, 30 March 2018

All-Star Batman #14 - DC Comics

ALL-STAR BATMAN No. 14, December 2017
Only the Twenty-Ninth best-selling title in October 2017, at least according to “Diamond Comic Distributors”, this decisive instalment of the so-called “crown jewel of DC Rebirth” arguably depicts its titular character at his most impotent and ineffective, with Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego repeatedly requiring an airborne machinegun-toting Alfred Pennyworth to rescue him from the clutches of Briar and the scything blades of the Nemesis Program’s Dark Knight. In fact, the Caped Crusader is so poorly portrayed within this “final issue of Scott Snyder’s high-octane run on All-Star Batman” that it’s 55,614 readers were probably extremely grateful the book was being cancelled, especially when in its closing moments the new York-born writer has the cowled crime-fighter on his knees literally begging his superior opponent to look inside himself and find “a piece of you that’s good and kind” so the victorious combatant won’t kill him..!

To make matters worse, the assailant who has defeated Batman every time they have fought throughout this piratical-themed story-arc, and usually within the time it takes to peruse a single panel, is revealed to be none other than a young clone of the billionaire playboy’s butler who has been brain-washed by MI5’s elderly rogue operative; “He’s written from you, from cells you left behind. But with no life to separate him from, no father, no mother. This boy, he’s all you could have been and more.” Such a ludicrously absurd revelation would ordinarily prove impossible to outmatch, yet incredibly the Stan Lee Award-winner achieves this by subsequently proposing that the cold-hearted killer with an established track-record of murder and mayhem, would instantly turn upon his father-figure and betray him after simply hearing a few words from a badly wounded, grovelling in the blood-soaked sand Batman.!?!

Fortunately, this twenty-two periodical’s one redeeming feature is Rafael Albuquerque’s pencils, inks and cover. Snyder publically stated upon the news of this title’s cancellation that he wanted to give his scripts’ artists “creative freedom so I’d be challenged to write differently, [and] try new things”. But in the case of Issue Fourteen of “All-Star Batman” it is undoubtedly the abilities of the “exclusive artist from DC Comics” whose skills were sorely tested in order to turn the American author’s bizarre ‘retconning’ of Alfred’s military background into something which was at least pleasing to the eye.

Indeed, the Brazilian illustrator, along with collaborative writer Rafael Scavone, additionally provides this comic’s secondary tale, “Killers-In-Law”, with a noticeably nice touch by divulging that the vicious, heavily tattooed Princes Vik whom the Caped Crusader bested during an arms deal at the Moscow Canal in Russia, is these days better known as the Head of the Myasnik Family. This “Killer Queen” is then cleverly depicted by the “co-creator of American Vampire” selling the secret location of the Genesis Engine to the Black and Whites, thereby setting in motion the events of Scott’s “The First Ally” narrative.

‘First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
Script: Scott Snyder, and Pencils, Inks & Cover: Rafael Albuquerque

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