Two days from now, Bullock and Jim Gordon will share a smoke a patrol car. Bullock will point out they don’t have to do this, but Jim disagrees. He warned him. He said this would happen. Two-Face had too much on everyone. Gordon, Bullock, the whole city… but Batman didn’t listen. It’s over. The raid on Wayne Manor begins.
Killer Croc, King Shark, Amygdala. Not the smartest thinkers in the world, but together, Batman is badly out muscled. They thrash the hero around for a bit, but Bruce is able to hit King Shark with a specialized compound that makes the monstrous villain sick. He falls into Amygdala and both of them plummet from the train. Killer Croc is unimpressed, so, with a specialized Batarang. Bruce pins a log to the villain. Croc laughs it off… not realizing the plan.
Harvey is not amused. 156 miles… so far. But the fun isn’t over yet. Chesire and Copperhead… two of the most toxic people on the planet. Harvey admits Batman got farther than he expected. But he’s got maybe a minute before the poisons kick in. Dent warned the Dark Knight this would happen. As he begins mocking his enemy, Batman tethers himself to Dent, and says he set up charges on the train the second he saw Killer Croc.
Separated from the assassins, Dent and Wayne plummet into a river below. 20 hours before this, the mob heads of Gotham met with an assassin known as Anatoli Knyazev. They call him the Beast. Penguin and the others have avoided hiring him before due to his feared reputation. Together, the three gangs have just enough money to… elicit his services. But Batman is an… unusual target, and this is a pretty extreme situation. So, Knyazev has an additional condition to taking the job – he’s used to doing things quiet, but with Batman, he finally wants to be loud. So, he’ll get the Bat. And all the gangs have to do is agree to clean up the mess.
Meanwhile, in the Batcave, Duke and Alfred review Two-Face. Duke notices two very different versions of the villain – a smart gangster that planned heists and robbed banks, and a merciless killer. Alfred explains that children tend to know Two-Face for his more violent and exploitative efforts. But there’s more to him then that. Harvey’s side of the personality will often sabotage Two-Face, deliberately getting himself caught with petty crimes and theft before the darker persona comes out. Alfred then shows Duke the supposed way to cure Two-Face, and Lark realizes this is a trap. He speeds off to help his friend, even though by now he is far behind…
In the present, Batman and Two-Face wrestle in the river before the Dark Knight is able to incapacitate his enemy. Bruce drags Harvey out of the river, while Dent taunts him with the knowledge of Wayne’s true identity. Suddenly, things go dark. Bruce wakes up in the back of a van, still tied to Dent. A group of SWAT officers return Harvey’s coin to the villain. One of them flips the coin, assuming that if it lands scratched side up, the villain dies. It does, but Harvey kills the officer instead, saying you shouldn’t assume how his coin works. Thinking fast, Batman attacks the other guards and begins fighting them.
The drivers then see a figure on the road. It is the beast. It’s gonna be fun making a mess. 171 miles down. Two days later, Gordon and Bullock make their way to the entry to the Batcave. They force themselves in, and are shocked. Jim wonders just what the hell Bruce has done.
So this was great. A fun read and a non-stop action piece of a comic, this one is easy to recommend. There isn’t much to it. It’s just fun. The exact sort of thing I expected to happen for the awesome premise that is this story arc. I loved the whole bit on the train, even though this story seems to be moving really fast. I suppose I could make some snarky comparison about the speed of the train relevant to the story itself. That would be super clever.
Anyways, just because the story moves quickly, isn’t that big of a problem. I just would have liked to have seen more. But that’s any good story for you. If the worst thing you can say about it is that you only wanted more, then it’s a pretty good comic. And that’s a better alternative to dragging things out too much, so on the whole, this comic is working for me.
What little bits of story we get are also great, too. Not that I mind that this comic is chalk full of action, but it’s nice that the bigger story moving around behind this comic is working, too. I really like the idea of explaining the various depictions of Two-Face over the years. That’s a clever way to explain things that reminds me a lot of the whole “three Jokers” idea they are floating around right now. This is a great way to reconcile the continuity that fits right in with Two-Face’s dual character ideas, and is a really cool little detail in this comic.
Oh, and then there’s like, the greatest thing ever, where Batman uses a plausible rendition of shark repellent. For those of you who are actually worthy of calling yourselves a Batman fan and have seen the 1960s Adam West movie, this was an amazing little reference that brought a smile to my face. That’s a classic Scott Snyder move. Taking old school Batman ideas that are usually made fun of and making them work in the modern world is a real talent of the guy, and he certainly didn’t fail here.
I also like the depiction of the Beast. Yes, there’s the usual villain grandstanding, but he seems fun and the added little cameo of a carved up Talon being stored in the fridge is just brilliant. All told, this was a fun comic you should totally check out for yourself. All-Star Batman has yet to disappoint.