REVIEW: ALL-STAR BATMAN #5
AUTHOR: Ryan Lower (Follow @LOWER_RYAN)
DATE: December 29, 2016

SYNOPSIS: “MY OWN WORST ENEMY” conclusion! Batman, Duke and Two-Face square off in a fight for Harvey Dent’s soul. With assassins flooding in from across the countryside, Batman learns that even his most trusted allies might choose evil over good.

"I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more.”

If there ever needed to be a soundtrack for Scott Snyder's first story arc on ALL-STAR BATMAN, I'd have the first song suggestion. It's been a long, long trip for The Dark Knight, and readers, the past five months. In the first four issues, we've seen Batman fly, drive a big wheel, bust out a chainsaw, get acid poured in his face, and float on a casino boat. Most of this happens in the daylight. Who would have thought this would all take place in a Batman story, NOT directed by Joel Schumacher, and it would work...wonderfully?

ALL-STAR BATMAN #5 is an exceptional ending to the "My Own Worst Enemy" story arc. It's got action, thrills, emotional weight and even an epilogue that left Batman smiling. This may be Snyder's best ending to an arc since he started writing for DC. It's THAT good.

In a nutshell, we were last left with Batman, Duke Thomas, and Harvey Dent/ Two-Face about to face an angry mob. As if there were ever any doubt, our hero finds a way out, continuing his never-ending journey to get the villain to that house. It's not just any house, but one that holds the key to saving Gotham, and a special spot in Bruce's memory on the boy he met there long ago.

Meanwhile, Snyder finally takes us back to the pressure the GCPD is applying to poor Alfred back at Wayne Manor. Since issue #2 we've wondered why they were dead-set on getting behind that legendary clock, and if they would achieve their goal. It was great to see Commissioner Gordon know more than he lets on, as well as Batman always having a backup plan (which Gordon may just know about as well).

I won't spoil the ending for you, but it was about as satisfying as can be. We all know a major villain in Batman's rogues gallery won't be killed in a popular DC monthly. But does that mean we can't get an emotionally fitting finale instead? In this case, the villain may not have met his end, but the good that's left in him has.

Of course, a comic book must have good art to keep readers coming back and DC has no worries when John Romita, Jr. is behind the look. His Batman world is fun, detailed, and different from any version of the Dark Knight that we're getting each month. It's complimented the story Snyder is telling perfectly, and while I look forward to next month's issue, it's sad Romita won't be on the book.

Overall, this issue caps off "My Own Worst Enemy" in near-perfect fashion and is a refreshing start for the All Star Batman title. It's fun, different, exciting, emotional, and is true to the character in every sense of the world. - 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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