It’s actually getting boring reviewing Scott Snyder’s All-Star Batman series. I don’t think there’s been one issue that’s even bordered on being mediocre. However, All-Star Batman #8 changes everything. This book is different from everything else. This is Snyder’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. It’s a definitive story that’ll be cited decades from now.
While “Ends of the Earth” part three might sound like just another encounter with Mad Hatter, this is a psychological, mind-bending story that goes deep into Batman’s psyche. Part Arkham Asylum and part “Perchance to Dream” (from Batman: The Animated Series), Snyder’s written a dream of a tale, showcasing the true and horrifying potential of the Mad Hatter’s mind-controlling ability. I’ve always seen the character as a bit of a C-grade villain, who annoys me a little less than another Fast & the Furious film, but Snyder’s stripped down the character and injected more menace into him. Jervis Tetch still remains a bit of a cowardly weasel, but write him off at your own peril.
Artist Giuseppe Camuncoli must’ve been on the same wavelength as Snyder as he illustrates a mind-altering dream world. Simple, but complex and uncomfortable, Camuncoli holds nothing back, unleashing a warped issue that’ll have other artists wondering why they never thought of that. Also, he includes a panel of Batman beating a robotic Nightwing with a pink flamingo. This is almost as epic as the shark repellent spray from Batman ’66 (sorry, that’s still number one).
This isn’t your typical comic book, as Snyder combines prose with Camuncoli’s images to continue his next addition to this experimental Batman series. After experiencing such a poignant and incredible story, though, it’s almost a shame that part seven of Duke’s “The Cursed Wheel” follows this, because it struggles to meet the level of genius before it. It’s like Metallica closing the show for Black Sabbath. You know it’s good, but you’ve just witnessed the best so how do you even compete with it?
Not many single-issue comic books can take your breath away, but All-Star Batman #8 is a masterpiece that deserves a spot in everyone’s collection. Snyder’s creating something special here, and you’d be a fool to not get on board now. There’s simply nothing else quite like it.