All-Star Batman #9
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Jock and Francesco Francavilla
Colourists: Lee Loughridge and Francesco Francavilla
Publisher: DC Comics
This is one of the most "Because I'm Batman" stories I've ever read, and I've read a lot of those. But is it a bad thing? Not necessarily. Scott Snyder is doing something very different and more abstract than his original run on Batman, and not many people have realised that yet. Theme and character plays such a huge part in these stories, and Snyder is so clearly injecting All-Star Batman with his prose style that can be found in his creator-owned books, such as A.D. After Death.
The identity of the main villain that has been slowly contributing to the world's destruction is revealed in this issue, and it is obvious to those can know his M.O. As to whether or not I was satisfied with the reveal is a different story, as it was actually spoiled in last week's issue of Detective Comics, #954.
Snyder is doing something celebratory with the character, and it shows. The story moved along nicely and the dialogue was great. The last three issues dealt with Batman encountering a specific villain, and it felt very earned in this issue. Plot points and references to the overall arc made the story feel more cohesive and satisfying. A complaint I had going into this arc was that the story overall didn't seem to tie together, but this issue does that.
Jock's art is mostly good. He did such a great job with #6, the Mr. Freeze story, but I felt that another artist would have done a better job. Jock's art feels more floaty and abstract, and a city-scape needed more solid art.
The back-up story seemingly comes to a conclusion, and ends in quite an unsatisfying way. The ending teases Dark Days: The Forge, so we have to wait two months for this story to truly continue. While the first story had a goal in mind, this back-up story that started with the very first issue of this series felt generally aimless.
While Snyder does a good job crafting these stories, and is even better at letting his indie book voice sing through this arc, he needs to find a way to balance this well-established theme with the more traditional elements of the character. This issue satisfied me overall, and I'm excited for the stories going forward.