All Star Batman My Own Worst Enemy Review By Deffinition
Scott Snyder had a legendary Batman run, unmatched by many. Throughout the NEW 52 he set and sustained a high bar with The Dark Knight that cemented the character as one of Comic’s best. It’s hard to really name a writer in recent memory who consistently delivered volume after volume of high quality material in the way that Snyder did.
But times change and the New 52 is no more.
After resetting many elements of the DC Universe, Rebirth has moved away slightly from the grim and gritty tone that Snyder excelled in.
Can the writer adjust to this new aesthetic? Should he have called it something else to not cause confusion with the abysmal ‘All Star Batman And Robin?’ Should I stop asking questions and get to the review?
That’s what I’m here to answer.
So let’s dive in to All Star Batman: My Own Worst Enemy
1000 Miles Of Bad Road
At it’s heart this book is a balls to the wall road movie put perfectly to page. After an acid rain attack on Gotham, Batman has been tasked with transporting Two Face to an unknown location, in the hopes of finding a cure for the villain’s madness. Unbeknownst to him, Two Face has put a sizeable bounty on the Caped Crusaders head and almost everyone wants to collect.
Ignoring Alfred‘s pleas to turn back, The Dark Knight strives forward with his mission, being attacked from almost every side in his desperate attempt to finally rid Harvey Dent of the monster that lives within.
From the off this is a well paced, unorthodox Batman book that delivers consistently on drama, tension and action. At it’s heart it’s a metaphorical look at the good and bad within us all. The citizen’s who attack Batman reflect Two Face throughout the majority of the arc. They, like the criminal, grapple with doing the right thing whilst also being victim to their own selfish desires. It’s a breath-taking psychological look at the darkness within us all and Snyder has expertly pit our hero into several scenarios where we are forced to ask ourselves ‘What would I do?’
This really elevates the book beyond that of your standard story and from the off I found it gripping, powerful and unforgettable.
John Romita Junior
I never really thought of John Romita Junior as a Batman artist but in My Own Worst Enemy he certainly delivers. This isn’t your typical dark, rain soaked Gotham. This is day time middle America and due to the setting Romita is able to flourish. His Batman is brash, beaten but always has a trick up his sleeve and it’s clear that the artist’s previous work plays a big part in how the Caped Crusader interacts with the environment around him.
There are several moments throughout that will make you wince at just how bloody the art is and whilst it is not necessarily the typical affair that you expect from a Batman book, it certainly works.
Romita does much more here than he was able to in The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade and I eagerly anticipate the artist’s next journey into the heart of the DC world.
Too Many Two Faces
Like the villain he is escorting, Batman realises just how duplicitous his allies can be when it’s revealed that Alfred sabotaged the Batwing in order to try and get Bruce to return. This really escalates the tension and it feels throughout that our hero is the most isolated that he’s ever been.
Barely making it through by the skin of his teeth, each situation seems to be the end potentially of Batman and it never feels cliched or too drawn out. Snyder should be applauded for constantly inventing new and interesting ways to put the Dark Knight in peril and the situations in this book feel like some of the most dangerous. It’s almost exhausting when the book comes to it’s closing arc and I really felt invested in all of the story threads that had built to this point.
I absolutely love the way that Two Face is handled as two seperate entities. His different personas taking over his body depending on who has the most power at any given moment. It adds a depth to the character that often isn’t shown. Harvey Dent wants to do good. He is still the man that Bruce called friends all those years ago. Two Face has other plans though and this constant inner turmoil that is brought to the forefront once again places the villain as one of the Dark Knight’s best.
Boys In Blue In The Batcave
One of the subplots to the book is the GCPD entering Wayne manor and attempting to once and for all answer the question of ‘is Bruce Wayne Batman?’ Whilst most subplots in comics are dull, uninteresting filler, Snyder has managed to keep every minor element of this book as tense as the main tale. The resolution of this investigation is really well handled and the conclusion made me laugh out loud. It certainly serves as one of the most ‘Wow Batman Thinks Of Everything’ moments in recent history and ends the book on a lighter note that really catapults it forward as one of Scott Snyder’s best.
The main story wraps up well and as with most Snyder stories, it ends thematically in a way that let’s readers go away with something to think about. It’s a characteristic of the writer I love and this is certainly one of his most though provoking tales.
There are absolutely no flies on Snyder. Anyone worried that he may not transition well into the Rebirth Aesthetic will be silenced by this book. It’s an almost unmatched tale in terms of tone shift and in years to come may be regarded as a Must Read for any fan looking to get into the character and the comics genre.
Throughout I was blown away by the twists and turns and there are several badass Batman moments within this story that will leave you cheering (inside probably….but still….).
He really shouldn’t have called it All Star Batman because it conjurs up memories of The Frank Miller work that I will mention no more…but all that can be forgiven.
It’s hard not to recommend this to newcomers and veteran fans alike and that’s why it gets a solid…