Batman is best known as the chief protector of Gotham City. Yet many of the colorful criminals who have risen up to challenge The Dark Knight do not limit their activities to his domain. As they travel, so must The Caped Crusader journey to the ends of the Earth, in order to prevent the end of the Earth!

All-Star Batman, vol. 2 features four stories which pit Batman against four of his most famous foes in locales far away from his native Gotham City. It also teams superstar writer Scott Snyder with four of the hottest artists in modern comics.

The first chapter sends Batman to Alaska, some 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It is here that Mr. Freeze and an army of followers have begun to hasten the release of a deadly bacteria frozen in the permafrost that could end all life on Earth once released! The dark and brooding artwork of artist Jock (best known for his work on Green Arrow: Year One and The Losers) proves a good fit for this tale, where the use of negative space fantastically reinforces the stark natures of both the environment and the villain.

The second story, featuring the vivid, lively artwork by Tula Lotay (Bodies, The Wicked + The Divine), sees Batman journey to Death Valley in search of Poison Ivy. Rather than seeking to stop Ivy’s current work, drawing toxins from a tree she believes could be used to heal all manner of ailments, he comes to ask her help in stopping the plague that Mr. Freeze released.

Tracking the financial interests behind Mr. Freeze leads Batman to the Mississippi delta. It is here he encounters The Mad Hatter, who has put a new spin on his mind-control technology to create a new form of augmented reality that allows people to see the world as they wish it were. Or as someone else might wish them to perceive it. This chapter is imaginatively illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli, who does a fantastic job depicting both the real world of Batman’s memories and the psychedelic wonderland The Hatter tries to force upon him.

Jock returns for the final chapter, in which Batman travels to Washington D.C. to confront the mastermind behind the plots he has foiled and avert the end of the world once more.

This volume also contains the second half of “The Cursed Wheel,” a story focusing on the training of Duke Thomas, a young African-American teen Bruce Wayne took under his wing to train for a new role. Not a sidekick or a new Robin but something Batman feels is needed in Gotham City but cannot yet quantify. While wonderfully illustrated by Francesco Francavilla, it is easily the weakest section of the book and one wishes they had put the whole of “The Cursed Wheel” in a single volume where Duke’s story wouldn’t seem like so much of an afterthought.

This book is rated T+ for audiences 12 and up and that rating is a fair one. There is a fair bit of violence, but nothing unsuitable for teenage audiences. The worst of it involves a gunshot to the head that is depicted from the side so no gore is shown. There’s no nudity or sexual content, apart from Poison Ivy’s brief discussion about what pheromones do and Ivy’s usual form-fitting costume. Some of the social issues at play in this story may be worth discussing with your children or students (i.e. global warming releasing super-diseases) but adults will likely enjoy Snyder’s thoughtful story and the psychodrama involved just as much as teenagers, if not more.

All-Star Batman, vol. 2: Ends of the Earth
by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock, Francesco Francavilla, Tula Lotay, and Giuseppe Camuncoli
ISBN: 9781401274436
DC Comics, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 12+

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!