All-Star Batman #9
Batman confronts the architect of his recent worldwide ordeal in a satisfying conclusion to Ends of the Earth.
Writer Scott Snyder did a terrific job of keeping the villain’s identity a mystery. In hindsight it could only have been one character, but Snyder craftily found a way to not make it so obvious. The only drawback is the character has been too visible in other DC comics lately. If this was the character’s return after years of inactivity it would have had a greater impact, but this is the most true to the character of their various recent appearances.
Jock reunites with Snyder to handle the art for this final chapter. Jock has a signature cinematic style that really plays well with this last act. This isn’t the slowly unraveling a mystery sequence, but a race against the clock mission. Jock’s layout strongly convey this sense of movement and adrenaline rush. Lee Loughridge’s colors always catch the right tone from the sun-drenched opening sequence to the off white tones used for the villain’s reveal.
To defeat this enemy, Batman is going to have to use all his guile, gadgets and brains to prevent a worldwide catastrophe. As much fun as a ferocious Batman is, it was good to see The Dark Knight outsmarting his adversary.
The secondary chapter focuses on Duke Thomas, who’s slowly unraveling his own mystery. Snyder keeps Batman to the background here as Duke confronts his longstanding tormentor. But in the process, Duke discovers a far more shocking surprise.
Artist Francesco Francavilla’s layouts are a little flat. He utilizes a multi-paneled approach that doesn’t allow for the clearest sense of the action making for a challenging read. Duke’s story has a mini-cliffhanger, but it won’t be concluded until Dark Days: The Forge #1. Hopefully The Forge will shed more insight into Duke’s dilemma and how that might affect future subplots.
Rating: 9 out of 10