REVIEW: ALL-STAR BATMAN #9
Author: Ryan Lower (Follow @LOWER_RYAN)
Date: April 20, 2017

SYNOPSIS: “Ends of the Earth” finale! It all comes down to this. After months of searching, Batman has found the mastermind behind the blight sweeping the planet, and must face off against one of his most dangerous villains in a battle of wills for the fate of the Earth.

Scott Snyder’s second arc of ALL-STAR BATMAN, “Ends of the Earth” wraps up this week. After a build up with disasters including Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and the Mad Hatter, we finally get a peek behind the curtain at who’s pulling the strings. Unfortunately, it’s exactly who you thought it was.

I’ll refrain from mentioning any major spoilers, just in case you haven’t read the issue but proceed with caution.

In issue #9, the Dark Knight is in Washington, DC (hey, I can salute to Batman). There’s an exciting chase on the streets of the nation’s capital, great dialogue, and awesome “Batman” moments. However, in the end everything seems a bit of a retread between our hero and this legendary villain. Though their faceoff is true to their history, it doesn’t feel like it added anything new. It’s what we expect and while we don’t ever want to stray true far from our favorite characters, we don’t want stories to be predictable either.

I dig Snyder, always have. His passion for Batman is very obvious, and I appreciate how he rolls the dice to bring us something fresh for the character. For “Ends of the Earth”, I kept scratching my head trying to understand what it was he was trying to say. I felt like too much dialogue held up the story, as opposed to keeping it rolling. The pacing for his first arc was fantastic, so maybe it’s just me?

You can always count on artist Jock to bring his A-game. Much like every panel in issue #6, the art is sketchy yet distinct, always appearing a little haunting and uncomfortable. That always fits the stories he’s illustrating and there’s no difference here.

Fortunately, “The Cursed Wheel” ends this month as well. I haven’t been able to get onboard this backup story at all. I felt it was complicated, confusing, and didn’t win Duke Thomas over for me whatsoever. It’s imminent he’s the new sidekick, but I’d much rather see any other members of the Bat family by Bruce’s side. The final panel reveals that more will be…umm…revealed…in this summer’s “Dark Days.” So did this story serve a purpose, or was it just a tease for another story? Either way, I’m not interested.

A valid attempt by Snyder for ALL-STAR BATMAN. “Ends of the Earth” has wrapped in issue #9 with some great action, fights, and Batman moments but the villain comes off too predictable and unfulfilling. - Ryan Lower

GRADE: B-

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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