All-Star Batman #12 Review

comic books:
Christian Bone

Reviewed by:
On July 26, 2017
Last modified:July 25, 2017


A character study wrapped up in a high-octane thriller, All-Star Batman #12 offers an eye-opening look at the truth about Alfred Pennyworth.

All-Star Batman #12 Review

All-Star Batman,

This review contains minor spoilers. 

After two issues of exciting build-up and intriguing hints, All-Star Batman #12 finally delivers some answers regarding the enigmatic Nemesis Knight that our hero is currently battling and its ties to Alfred’s past. Just like the previous two, this outing is an excellent read that combines a fast-paced, action-packed story with a great deal of focus on the surrogate father and son dynamic between Bruce Wayne and his indispensable butler.

All-Star Batman #12 continues the split narrative from last time, as we follow Bruce’s attempts in the present to achieve his childhood dream of being a pirate, as he recovers the all-powerful Genesis Engine from a doomed submarine (Best line of the issue? “You have a new captain. Captain Batman”). Meanwhile, Alfred’s past association with an extra-secret project within MI5 comes to light. Scott Snyder does a good job here of tying the two plotlines together, as well as giving the tale some thematic weight.

In particular, there are some interesting parallels to be drawn all over the place. Batman is compared to the protagonist of old pirate stories – a rebel child who wants adventure – while young Alfred is also painted as similar to his future charge. Both are then compared to medieval knights and the classical idea of a master and their squire. The question of why Alfred lets Bruce endanger himself as Batman is always something that fans wonder about and the reveals here go a long way to explaining that – he sees so much of himself in Bruce.

Without going into details, you can rest assured that Snyder also delivers another awesome twist by the end of the issue. One thing the series is terrific at is delivering high-stakes cliffhangers that leave you wondering how Batman is possibly going to get out of this one. It’s like a modern twist on the classic Batman ’66 ridiculous traps. Tune in next issue – same bat-time, same bat-channel! – to find out how the Caped Crusader escapes.

As always, Rafael Albuquerque provides his usual stellar level of artwork. The highlight this time is a full page splash – heh! – panel of a drowning Batman being saved by some mermaids (hey, it makes sense in context). The only thing that mars the evocative image is that there’s a slight error – the damage to Batman’s mask seen on previous pages suddenly disappears. Also, a shout-out to Steve Wands, too, for some creative lettering at one point in the issue, when one conversation is held entirely in signage.

The back-up story, “Killers-In-Law,” still isn’t as strong as the main storyline, but it is a diverting read, nonetheless. Things look bleak for Batman this time as his attempt to infiltrate a dangerous Russian crime family before they move onto Gotham hits a snag when it looks like they might have cottoned on to him. The writing from the two Rafaels (Albuquerque and Scavone) is solid but it’s the artwork from Sebastian Fiumara that you will take away from this installment. The opening image of a shadowy Batman perched in a tree, with his bright eyes peeking out from the darkness, is pure gold.

All-Star Batman #12 is a character study wrapped up in a high-octane thriller – a peak behind the usual stoic facade of Alfred Pennyworth, exploring his flaws, deepest worries and just how similar he is to Bruce. With only two more issues from the comic – and of Scott Snyder writing for Batman, as well – it looks certain that this reliably high-quality series is going to end on a high.

All-Star Batman #12 Review

A character study wrapped up in a high-octane thriller, All-Star Batman #12 offers an eye-opening look at the truth about Alfred Pennyworth.