Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Giuseppi Camuncoli
Backup Story Art: Francesco Francavilla
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Dean White
Letters: Steve Wands
All Star Batman #8 is part three of the Ends of the Earth storyline, which began in issue #6 and saw Mr. Freeze release bio weapon into the atmosphere that has the potential to kill all life on earth. Since then Batman has enlisted the aid of Poison Ivy to help contain the growing dead zone in issue #7 but not without conflict as a special ops team, known as the Blackhawks, are standing in Batman’s way and in issue #8 he’s looking to take them down. To do so he needs the Mad Hatter, since the stealth tech the Blackhawks are using is based on the Mad Hatters technology.
All Star Batman has been an interesting read since it launched last year. Scott Snyder has been able to experiment with this series as well as focus on Batman’s rogue’s gallery more so then the Batman himself. The original arc was a Mad Max style road trip with Two Face and countless other villains all out to end him and his protector Batman. Yet where that arc was a balls to the wall, hyper violent gut check of an arc the Ends of the Earth has been more of a horror film with the tension ramping up with each subsequent issue.
All Star Batman #8 is another example of Snyder experimenting. The story is told in first person but becomes very trippy, as Batman can’t trust what is the truth and what are the Mad Hatter’s delusions. As the Batman falls under the spell of the Mad Hatter the lettering shifts, becoming more aggressive and the font looks dangerous. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Mad Hatter and I’ve never seen him as a threat, until this issue as Snyder uses him in a very scary manner. I’m also intrigued in who the Blackhawks are and who they are working for. All Star Batman #8 propels this mystery forward and makes me look forward to the next issue.
Giuseppi Camuncoli’s pencils are solid but a bit of a departure from the first two parts of this arc, which were drawn by Jock and Tula Lotay. Both Jock and Lotay are very unique and stylistic where Camuncoli’s style is very mainstream and more in line with the traditional Batman comics. Not that it’s unappealing nor that I don’t appreciate Camuncoli’s work, I’d just like the arch to have a more unique vibe to every issue. The true masterwork for this issue goes to Steve Wands as the lettering is very important to this issue. Wands does an admirable job of conveying a change to our narrator through the style of fonts he uses. It really adds a layer to the story and is very appreciated.
Like most All Star Batman issues #8 also has a back up story dealing with the evolution of Duke, Batman’s newest sidekick. This issue has Duke at a low point in his training as he doesn’t feel up to snuff with the rest of the bat family, so much so that he is going out in the daylight to avoid working under their shadow at night. It also propels the Riddler story forward and has art by the always fantastic Francesco Francavilla. These back-stories have been hit or miss but with Francavilla on art and Snyder’s writing you can’t go wrong.
Verdict: If you enjoyed Scott Snyder on Batman and love intelligent detective stories then All Star Batman #8 is a strong Buy. Snyder’s use of the Mad Hatter is down right scary and the Ends of the Earth storyline has been intense but excellent.