Ricky Church reviews All-Star Batman #2…
“My Own Worst Enemy” part 2! All aboard the train ride from hell! Batman and Two-Face continue their journey to Harvey Dent’s cure through an assassin-infested landscape. But can the Dark Knight continue his crusade across the countryside when Two Face turns one of his greatest allies against him?
The ride Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr. are taking fans on in All-Star Batman continues at a fast pace, quite literally, as Batman fights several villains atop a speeding train. Issue #2 also delves further into the relationship between Batman and Two-Face while exploring some new facets into the pair.
There’s a good blend of action, story and levity in this issue. Snyder again plays with many villains both inside and outside Batman’s usual stable of rogues and even injects some comedy into their introductions. One would think that the use of all these villains would threaten the book feeling overstuffed, but each one is used just enough and has a purpose.
Over the course of his time writing on various Batman titles, Snyder has become known for his fresh takes on classic villains such as Joker during ‘Death of the Family’ or Riddler in ‘Zero Year’. ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ is no exception as he devotes a lot of time to Two-Face’s psyche and the constant battle that wages between Harvey Dent and Two-Face. Some intriguing elements are introduced here, such as what exactly both minds know of the other and each one’s unique relationship with Batman. The interplay between the old friends is very much in character and entertaining.
The one area that somewhat detracts from this issue is the continued use of Snyder’s non-linear storytelling. It doesn’t get in the way too much, but there’s quite a jump from the end of issue #1 to the beginning of issue #2 that places Batman and Two-Face in an entirely different setting. It’s a little jarring as no context is given for how they got from points A to B. The fight at the beginning also starts in medias res, much like issue #1. If that is to be the beginning of every issue in ‘My Own Worst Enemy’, it risks becoming old very quickly.
Despite that, the fight sequence and the art in the rest of the issue are fantastic to look at. JRJR makes the character’s movements animated and has some cool designs for the various villains. Danny Miki and Dean White both compliment Romita Jr.’s art with their respective ink and colour work that give the art a vibrant look that pops off the page. They’re really taking the concept of Batman outside his usual settings to their advantage. Snyder’s back-up tale with Declan Shavely and Jordan Bellaire is also an interesting look at Duke’s training regimen under Batman as they investigate Zsasz. As mentioned already, Snyder really excels at re-establishing villains and his take on Zsasz is shaping to be a good one.
Two issues in and All-Star Batman is still a title to watch out for. Though the non-linear structure gets in the way at the start, issue #2 is a fast paced story that doesn’t sacrifice its characters for fun. Snyder’s writing combined with the art from JRJR and the rest of the team make this one of DC’s best titles in the Rebirth line.