Title: All-Star Batman
Story arc: The First Ally
Universe: Dc Universe Rebirth
Writer(s): Scott Snyder
Illustrator(s): Rafael Albuquerque, Sebastian Fiumara, Rafael Scavone, and many more!
Publisher: DC Comics
Paperback Release Date: March 20th 2018
Genre(s): Comics, Science Fiction
Previously on Rebirth’s All-Star Batman:
My Own Worst Enemy (Vol. 1) by Scott Snyder
Ends of the Earth (Vol. 2) by Scott Snyder
It is unfortunate that this series takes an end with volume 3 as Scott Snyder takes a leave of absence to work on other projects. While he states that he has countless more ideas to share with his fans and plans on bringing back this series, the wait is going to be a killer. All-Star Batman: The First Ally is most definitely the best story-arc in this series and its focus isn’t Batman again but rather his trusted partner, mentor and father figure, Alfred Pennyworth.
Collecting issues #10-15 as well as featuring a little story arc at the end, this volume sticks with Rafael Albuquerque’s art style and presents us a modern pirate story with an underlying father and son theme to capture the raw and powerful bond that keeps two of the most iconic characters together. I personally haven’t seen many stories that put Alfred at the front of the line, but I really loved what Scott Snyder does with this character in The First Ally.
What is it about? The story shuffles around with two distinct stories, one from the past and one from the present. Narrated by Alfred, we’re taken upon an oversea adventure where Bruce Wayne infiltrates an operation by pretending to be another villain who looks like him (maybe you can guess who that is?) but finds out that it isn’t as easy as it seems. As plans go pear-shaped, Bruce finds himself on a hunt for safety. The story quickly unfolds and reveals a new character who catches them off-guard, but forces Alfred to connect the dots, past with present.
The pirate story theme that overlays this volume was truly well-done and, with Alfred’s narration, really helps in convey the core ideas of it all in a stunning fashion. Scott Snyder also does a marvelous job in making it an emotional story by tying in Alfred’s relationship with Batman and putting emphasis on the father figure role that roamed under the waters throughout the history Batman’s legacy. The angle pursued is truly beautiful and fully explored in this story arc, and honestly elevates this story to a higher level.
The artwork easily captures the essence of Scott Snyder’s story and I’m really glad that Rafael Albuquerque stuck around for the whole story arc in this volume. Unlike the previous volume, this one easily felt much more complete and consistent thanks to that alone. I also really love how his art style successfully delivers the brutality and the softness at the same time, and I think it might have something to do with the colour palette privileged.
What however kept me at bay from calling this a pure masterpiece is the forced parallels drawn between Alfred and Batman regarding the Dark Knight mantle. I wish Scott Snyder had restrained himself a bit on that regard as it made the coincidences feel unnatural when you took a moment to reflect upon it. Besides that, The First Ally was an incredibly original story that has strong themes and an emotional finish.
Rumours have it that Scott Snyder might get back to writing more stories for All-Star Batman once DC Comics introduces a brand new comic book format (prestige-style). There are no information on what exactly that entails, but I do love the idea that it ain’t over yet and that it might return with something really new for the comic book world to dip their toe in!
THANK YOU TO PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA FOR SENDING ME A COPY FOR REVIEW!
MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆
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Till next time,