Batman’s staunchest ally is now in the line of fire. Can the Dark Knight save his last real remnant of family from the madness of his own caped crusading? Your Major Spoilers review of All-Star Batman #13 awaits!
Writer: Scott Snyder/Rafael Albuquerque & Rafael Scavone
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque/Sebastian Fiumara
Colorist: Cris Peter/Trish Mulvihill
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Mark Doyle
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Previously in All-Star Batman: “As painful secrets from the past are revealed, Batman must face down a nemesis unlike any he’s seen before — or risk the horrific consequences of the Genesis Engine falling into the wrong hands!”
FATHERS AND SONS
This issue starts with an explosion, and several pages of Alfred trying to convince his son to let him fall, to save himself rather than go down in flames with him, but Batman refuses. Managing to miraculously save them both from the explosion of his hotel, Batman sets out to find Briar, the leader of the Nemesis program and the man behind their pyroclastic first-page crisis. Alfred, for his part, remembers working for Briar in the past as an operative, his brutal training not only setting him up with the skills he uses to support Batman’s activities, but establishing the dynamic of father-to-son that he so wants to stop enabling for Bruce Wayne. Batman races off to confront Briar, only to be captured himself, leading Alfred to take to the field again to stop his own mentor… In the second feature, we find Batman in Russia, confronting the Mysasnik crime family, who want to bring war to Gotham and oust the Falcones. Batman faces a deadly woman named Vik, only to realize that he’s outside his territory and outgunned, leading to the final page panel where he breaks open a crate of grenades, deciding that it’s time to work outside his comfort zone…
The opening pages of this comic, wherein Batman and Alfred fall from the top of an exploding building, are simply gorgeous, and that quality continues throughout the book. Alfred’s flashbacks to his espionage career are perfectly rendered, and feel like the past, whereas a half-page shot of Batman escaping on a borrowed motorcycle is perhaps one of my favorite Batman images in recent memory. Both art teams have a real knack for the action, and Alfred’s call-to-arms at the end of the lead story gave me goosebumps, perfectly encapsulating Snyder’s script. I do have a slight issue with Batman deciding that he’s going to use grenades against the crime family with the rationale that he couldn’t do it in Gotham because of collateral damage (I prefer a Batman whose non-lethality is a matter of honor rather than pragmatism), but otherwise, this is a damn-near perfect comic-reading experience…
THE BOTTOM LINE: ALFRED ROCKS!
All-Star Batman #13 balances the man with the bat, with Alfred’s narration providing a fascinating underreported perspective on the actions of our Dark Knight, with excellent art in both stories and a lot of really strong characterization and motivated action throughout, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. As someone who finds a lot of Batman stories to be familiar and repetitious, it’s nice to see one that cuts new territory without entirely jettisoning the classic core of the character…