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All Star Batman #4

by Nick Liu on November 09, 2016

ASB#4 Cover
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: John Romita Jr. and Declan Shalvey
Colors: Dean White and Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: DC Comics


Here’s a survival checklist before reading All Star Batman #4.  This is what you need:

1. A copy of All Star Batman #4.
2. A stiff drink.  I like bourbon, but vodka is also thematically appropriate.
3. Your favorite 70s/80s rock album.  I like AC/DC’s Back in Black.  Play it loud.
4. One of those theater chairs that moves around and blows compressed air in your face.  Optional.

All Star Batman #4 brings all the energy and electricity from the previous issues and adds some interesting character development to give us a robust, multidimensional Batman story that shows us why the Batman group is at the best place it’s probably ever been. 

In All Star Batman #4, we rejoin Batman and Duke Thomas in the middle of an underground waterway as they’re being cornered by a recently resuscitated Two-Face and his squadron of deadly Talon assassins.  Last month’s incredible cliffhanger (catch up if you haven’t already!) was a perfect setup for one of the coolest Batman moments in recent memory.  You’ll be happy to know that Bruce rises heroically to the occasion and that his bag of increasingly awesome and ridiculous gadgets is yet to be exhausted.

As a quick aside, taking Batman out of Gotham has got to be one of the greatest things to ever happen to the character.  We’ve witnessed a greater spatial scope for the storyline, what with all the chainsaws, big rigs and exploding railcars. But perhaps even more interesting is the transformation of Batman himself.  It turns out when you take Batman outside for some sunshine he turns into this grinning, wise-cracking badass in a bat costume. This development displays a more positive and dynamic side of Bruce Wayne’s personality, which is great considering we’re also getting the cerebral, brooding Batman in Tom King’s line.

John Romita Jr. continues his top tier artwork in this issue.  Romita’s penchant for intricate, linear patterns and extraordinary background detail lends a gritty, oppressive atmosphere to the comic that is a perfect match for the story aesthetic.  The coloring in this issue is also amazing.  One of the best things to come out of leaving Gotham is a palette that drops a lot of Batman’s normal grays and black and substitutes it with brilliant shades of green, gold and purple.  Some of the artwork that struck me in this issue include the superbly detailed Silver Dollar Casino, and the colors used for the falling autumn leaves around the countryside airport.

The end of this issue sets up another gut-wrenching cliffhanger.  Without saying too much, this one is scary because it’s tied directly to the story’s deeper philosophy.  Is Batman right?  Are people truly good and hopeful at the end of the day? If you’re like me, after this ending you might start to have second thoughts about that yourself.

In the penultimate issue of “My Own Worst Enemy”, Batman smashes, blasts, and rock-and-rolls his away to a short-lived victory in one of the most bombastic, kinetic comic book action scenes in recent memory.  Bringing the series’ high-octane energy together with incredible art, continuing character development and a gut-wrenching cliffhanger, All Star Batman continues to be one of the best books in DC’s current lineup.
 

Our Score:

9/10

A Look Inside