Sunday, April 30, 2017

All Star Batman by Scott Snyder issue #8

The original plan was to review the next two issues in Tom King's Batman run, yet issues #8-9 were co-written with another writer named Steve Orlando which was all about the Night of the Monster Men. This story arc was a crossover which meant that certain installments appear in other titles like Nightwing and Batwoman. And I had no real interest to read this arc completely which was why I decided to do away with it and officially end my Batman comics diet for this April 2017 on a Snyder issue about the Mad Hatter for the third chapter of Ends of the Earth. If there ever were any good Jervis Tetch stories out there, this might be one.

It's rather difficult to fully describe the experience of reading this issue. The narrative itself was written in the stream-of-consciousness style where Batman became prey to a rabbit-hole mind fuck courtesy of the Mad Hatter. The result of which is an odd and brilliant mixture of elements that paid little homage to Lewis Carroll's Alice stories as the inspiration while also still holding itself as its own standalone topsy-turvy. With splendid illustrations by penciler Giuseppi Camuncoli, inker Mark Morales, colorist Dean White and letterer Steve Wands, this third installment for Ends of the Earth truly is a fascinating feast for the eyes.

Mr. Freeze released a pathogen that attacked thousands of people who lost their lives in the process. Ecologist Pamela Isley (also known as Poison Ivy) agreed to give Batman a cure to prevent further casualties. But Batman, being Batman the ever vigilant, still wanted insurance that the pathogen will not grow again and infect more lives, so he goes to a residence where he encountered a formidable threat. Back in the early beginnings of Zero Year, Jervis Tetch had approached Bruce Wayne about a certain project and it would seem as if he had possessed the same strain of virus which Mr. Freeze years later. 

That's why Batman followed this lead all the way back to whom he thinks is the source. There was still a matter of the Blackhawks, though, who are a unit of mercenaries seemed to determined to get in Batman's way. They even disguised themselves as the Bat-family, and Batsy was having none of that and managed to unmask the pretenders. One scene of it was done in a rather comedic way, with Batman using a mechanized flamingo to slam against the fake Nightwing. It was easily one of the most spectacular things I've seen in comics! So anyway, Batman goes down a rabbit-hole and things just get plain weird.

As I've said, the uniquely rendered illustrations and the overall composition of the art for this issue was refreshing and visually appealing. The four artists who have collaborated in this really showed quite the craftmanship. Each panel sequence was dream-like and insane, and readers just don't know what is happening but they are nonetheless mesmerized which was even strengthened by Snyder's subtle and often enigmatic choices  of narrative and dialogue. You are seeing everything but not understanding what it is as well. The issue ends ambiguously too. We don't get immediate resolution just yet, such as Duke Thomas being captured by the Blackhawks, but that makes me look forward even more for the next installment. It may not be a straight-up ghost story ambiance like the Mr. Freeze issue but I found certain parts of this issue...unsettling. And I really like it.

The next chapter for The Cursed Wheel is still a slow read but I think that this might be all a set-up for something I hope would be fulfilling much later on. Duke Thomas is starting to be sympathetic for me too which is probably a positive highlight for me at this point. A very splendid issue, the third installment for Ends of the Earth should make readers crave for more.