REVIEW: ALL-STAR BATMAN #12
Author: Ryan Lower (Follow @LOWER_RYAN)
Date: July 27, 2017

SYNOPSIS: “THE FIRST ALLY” part three! When Batman discovers the truth about the man under the Nemesis mask, it could change everything between him and Alfred forever.

ALL-STAR BATMAN is heading toward an exciting (and revealing?) conclusion in September. This month's issue #12 combines the past with the present, adventure with emotion, and twists on top of turns. It's a solid issue that's sure to please Batman fans, Scott Snyder fans, and Secret agent fans.

We last left off with The Dark Knight underwater, trapped inside an expensive exploding submarine. We've seen him in worse situations. Surprising no one, he makes it out alive and is patched up by Alfred. Speaking of the loyal butler, Snyder peels back more layers of Mr. Pennyworth's super-secret life before serving the Wayne family. Through a series of exchanges awfully reminiscent of Liam Neeson in BATMAN BEGINS, we find out who Alfred's trainer was, and who the “First Ally” is (at least for now). In seamless transitions throughout the issue, Alfred narrates us back and forth between the two timelines, showing his intelligence, skills and affection for Master Wayne. By the end, a nice twist puts Penguin, Black Mask and Hush back in the villainous mix.

There are a few interesting aspects to this issue, that have also been apparent in this arc. First is the great way Alfred is juggling two timelines. We're riding shotgun with Batman as he continues this adventure to find a deadly weapon in the Caribbean. Alfred is narrating throughout, connecting it to his history as a James Bond wannabe. This connection is interesting, thorough and emotional. Scott Snyder makes us feel for Alfred, especially when it comes to his fatherly instincts toward Bruce. I'm a fan for bonds, and these two have a special one.

Another aspect I really like about this issue is Rafael Albuquerque's wonderful art. It's original and fits perfectly with the story Snyder is telling. What really helps it stand out is how bright each panel is, with blue, purple and pink backgrounds. Imagining it may seem off putting, but it's gorgeous.

Snyder has crafted another good story. Per my sensibilities however, I'm ready for Batman to return to Gotham. This is the 12th issue now that he's been on the road and my favorites stories have him in Gotham, taking on his rogues gallery, saving the city he swore to protect. Just my opinion.

Overall, ALL-STAR BATMAN #12 delivers, but did you expect anything different? It's fun, emotional and great to look at. We only have two issues left until the title ends so strap in. I feel like we'll be speeding back to Gotham in no time. - Ryan Lower

GRADE: A-

A lifelong Batman fan, Ryan Lower grew up in the midwest
reading, watching, dreaming of The Dark Knight.
His favorite Batman stories are
THE LONG HALLOWEEN, THE DARK KNIGHT
and anything from
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.
He currently resides in his own Batcave in Chicago.
Follow him on Twitter @LOWER_RYAN.


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