All-Star Batman #13
Of the numerous fun aspects of the First Knight storyline it’s that Scott Snyder has made it a true Batman & Alfred adventure. Alfred isn’t just sitting back offering up some soon to be stale meals and a sarcastic barb or two, but is an active participant. That’s bad for him this issue as things kick off with Batman and Alfred trying to survive a crashing building. For readers, it makes for an incredibly good read.
As Batman tracks down Hush and his allies, Alfred recalls his twisted father figure, Briar, and the steps that led to their shattered relationship. Snyder makes an interesting comparison here with Alfred questioning if it’s not him the ones that’s enabling Bruce to continue being Batman. With his departure/retirement, would Bruce drop the cowl? We all know the answer, but it makes for a fun discussion point.
We’re essentially getting three stories in one book here with Rafael Albuquerque and Rafael Scavone’s very strong secondary story. I still think this tale of Batman infiltrating and trying to stop Russians from bringing weapons to Gotham could have been its own full-length story.
The art in both tales is equally strong. Albuquerque’s art on the main story is sensational.
That final page with Alfred making like The Punisher actually works thanks to smart color choices and a perfectly suited expression. The one knock is a lack of color distinction between the flashbacks and current day scenarios. Otherwise, this art is very solid.
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Sebastian Fiumara handles the second story and crafts some creative cinematic style layouts. Fiumara finds some fun angles to make Batman more nightmarish, which plays in well with the story.
With this current arc, All-Star Batman is delivering perhaps its best story just in time for next issue’s finale. This is definitely setting up for a memorable conclusion.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10