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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 11 comics last week: All Star Batman #1, Wonder Woman #4, Flash #4, Black Panther #5, Darth Vader #24, Action Comics #961, Detective Comics # 938, Superwoman #1, Avengers #13, Avengers Annual #1 and Amazing Spider-Man #16.
The best comic I read last week was All Star Batman #1.
Scott Snyder is back and he’s bringing some of the best artists in comic books with him. That’s the message DC Comics is pushing concerning All Star Batman. Here’s the big secret: while it’s incredible to have great artists (like the legendary John Romita, jr) working with Snyder, I think I would read a Snyder Batman title if it were illustrated all in stick figures. The writer’s work is that good.
Snyder is the go-to Batman writer and his stories are defining the character. What he does in All Star Batman matches what he did in both Detective Comics and Batman when he had the helm of those books: he creates a comfortable and familiar world for the Dark Knight, playing on what readers know about the character and his supporting cast, his city and his methods and then subverts all expectations.
In this first arc of All Star Batman, Snyder has teamed Batman with his nemesis Two Face for the road trip to end all road trips. Think Midnight Run as directed by Quentin Tarantino. But even that description is too simple and too sweet for Snyder. In a story that already features some shocking moments, the most shocking of all is that even the most outlandish of them work.
Snyder has earned my trust as a reader and, even though I am not sure I agree with all the character moments as written here, I am willing to see them play out before I pass judgement on them.
John Romita, jr follows up a pretty solid run on Superman with this tremendous first issue. He hasn’t looked this good in years, perhaps owing to sharp inks by Danny Miki and really deep colors by Dean White. This team is well suited to Romita and his normally terrific work is really top-notch here.
Though the Batman rebirth titles are all good, this looks to be the best Batman book on the stands.