Okay, so we all know Alfred didn’t die in the past due to a bullet in the head, but it sure seemed that way. Also, Batman’s foray into nautical heroics is not going well.
First Read Reactions
- Letterers rarely get a chance to shine like this–and Steve Wands totally nailed it.
- When you don’t have tow cables, then it’s time to start looking for missiles.
- “Listen up, people! As of this moment you have a new captain. Captain Batman.”
- When you challenge Alfred to scream as loud as he can, you better expect the man to bring it.
- Thank goodness for hired mermaids.
- Umm…I’m glad Alfred’s still alive and all, but shouldn’t he have a giant scar on his forehead at least?
- Young Alfred > Young Bruce
- At what point is Alfred going to figure out that if you tell Bruce not to do something, he’s going to do it?
- Never a good time to learn that Penguins can fly (and pack serious heat).
The opening of this issue is about as good as it gets…as long as you can get past the fact that the explosion we saw to end the last issue isn’t anywhere as devastating as it should have been. Otherwise, the action, dialogue, and detective work is all top notch–every basic ingredient you need for a top shelf Batman story.
Unfortunately, what was previously the most interesting part of the ‘First Ally’ story arc stumbles a bit. It’s still good, but Alfred’s story feels perilously close to a run-of- the-mill street level superhero origin tale. Maybe not Batman’s exactly (unless you count the
Chris Nolan movies), but similar enough that it feels predictable and somewhat stale. Thankfully, the issue’s third act features an exquisitely cool moment with two of Batman’s villains along with a great cliffhanger. As good as Rafael Albuquerque is, he doesn’t get nearly enough credit (or opportunities) for his ability to blow up a building.
The issue’s backup story continues to be entertaining, although there’s a wrinkle involving Bruce’s identity that is either going to turn out to be something great or a severely overlooked plot hole. But ‘The First Ally’ rightfully shines as what could potentially end up being the best All-Star Batman story yet.
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