A review by the_rox13
All-Star Batman Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy (Rebirth), by Scott Snyder


Synopsis: Batman is transporting Two-Face to a house where they were both sent to as kids. At the house Harvey has supposedly hidden a cure that will rid him of Two-Face forever. However, Two-Face put out a bounty to everyone, basically, to stop Batman from getting him to the house or he will release all the information he has on people in Gotham. Much of the first half is a variety of bounty hunters coming after Batman and Two-Face, which Batman finds suspicious since they were using stealth mode in his Batplane. It is revealed that Alfred was the one that alerted everyone to Batman and Two-Face's location. Batman doesn't know this, but cuts off all communications.

The Penguin, Black Mask and Great White enlist the help of KG Beast to get Two-Face. It gets pretty crazy and I'm not going to go into all the details, but we get flashbacks to Bruce and Harvey meeting at the house and at one point Two-Face throws acid into Batman's eyes. Duke arrives at some point to assist Batman. Eventually, they are all captured by KG Beast and the three that hired them. Things go south, though, when there is a mob of bounty hunters outside.

There's a shit ton of fighting and eventually, Duke and Batman get Two-Face to the house. Harvey reveals that the cure will actually allow Two-Face to take over him completely because he's tired of fighting. Batman beats the shit out of him and seemingly gives him the cure, but then tells him that he gave him something that will prevent him from ever using the "cure" again. KG Beast shows up again and there's yet another fight in which Duke saves Batman and the two take Two-Face back to Gotham.

The last little arc revolves around Duke. Batman is testing him in the same way he has tested all the Robins with, what Alfred calls, "the Cursed Wheel." Batman and Duke work a case involving Victor Zsasz, in which Batman teaches Duke to question everything like, "why this person?" and "who were the victims?". The point is for Duke to see the worst of the worst and then see what kind of hero he can be, if he can indeed be one. We get flashbacks to Duke's family before the Joker toxin drove them insane. Eventually, Zsasz is apprehended and Duke asks Batman, "what's next?"

Review: I really love this volume. It's one of the most action packed volumes I've read in a while. John Romita Jr. was the perfect artist for the "My Own Worst Enemy" arc, too. It is violent and bloody and gritty. The colors are also very vibrant, which just adds to it, in my opinion.

The story itself is wonderful. I have always had a soft spot for Two-Face since Harvey has history with Bruce. I guess I'm similar to Batman in that way that I have a soft spot for Two-Face. The dialogue between the two is incredible and the fact that Bruce never seems to give up on him is really sweet. However, that doesn't mean he's completely blind when it comes to Harvey. I thought it was harsh of him to give Harvey a fake cure so that he can never take the real cure ever again. Still, I think it came from the whole "I believe in Harvey Dent" thing and I think deep down Bruce believes Harvey will overcome Two-Face eventually.

That being said, Two-Face is such a sad figure. Harvey pleading with Batman to end his suffering with the cure was heartbreaking. But even when Harvey has given up on himself, Bruce doesn't. I thought it was interesting in the back story with Bruce and Harvey with both of them planning murders. It was a very real world moment when Harvey back tracks on their plan because his father writes him a letter, saying that he won't ever hurt him again. With abusers, this is a common promise and I liked the inclusion of it.

I'm not a huge fan of KG Beast, I think he's kind of basic. He's an accomplished killer that's for sure, but I just saw him as the main bounty hunter needed for the arc. I was a bit upset with Alfred for sending out Batman's location. I thought it was slightly out of character, even if it came from a good place. I'm surprised Batman didn't go off on him more.

I enjoyed the "the Cursed Wheel" arc as well. I am digging Duke Thomas as the Signal. He stands out from the other Robins and I am here for it. Besides, his costume is amazing and I cannot stress that enough. His backstory is compelling and tragic, like so many other of Batman's sidekicks. I liked that Duke took inspiration from his mom, who was a social worker, and channeled that into his training.

All-Star Batman isn't a must read for Rebirth, but I highly recommend this volume, especially if you like action, Two-Face and are curious about Duke.