All Star Batman #8
By Scott Snyder, Giuseppi Camuncoli, Mark Morales, Dean White, and Steve Wands
All-Star Batman #8 tells a twisted tale of Batman’s warped reality as he encounters The Mad Hatter. This arc is adeptly titled “Ends of the Earth”, as the world is slowly crumbling around Batman throughout this entire issue, his own reality is questioned as we watch Batman succumb to the Hatter. Snyder teams up with Spider-Man artist Giuseppi Camuncoli this issue to deliver the eighth issue in his All-Star run, and delivers another fantastic issue that delves deeper into the psyche of the Batman.
Snyder teams up every issue with a new artist to deliver a fresh depiction of an iconic Batman villain. So far, this series has been really remarkable in how it changes the tone and writing style, to not only accompany the art style of the featured artist, but also the Batman villain. The creepiness of the Hatter, the idea of hypnosis and reality being distorted, is all on full display from Snyder’s script to Camuncoli’s art. Each issue really feels distinct and this issue is a perfect example of how the communication between artist and writer is what really drives good comics. All-Star Batman #8 is just another great example of what Snyder can do, and the depth of talent that is Camuncoli.
Batman is popular for many reasons, people often find their own reasons to identify and root for him. Whether it’s his Bruce Wayne playboy lifestyle, his kick-ass ninja skills, impressive detective skills, or his father-son dynamic with Damian. Batman, of course, is a very complex character that is constantly evolving over time. This issue dives into the reality and sanity of Batman, and for a comic book character yeah it makes sense, but in the real world if Batman existed he would probably be a little unhinged. Even if someone undertook all the things Batman did, it does seem like it goes hand in hand with some mental health issues. Self-perception, even just scratching the surface of how Batman views himself, is such an interesting concept that Snyder and Camuncoli touch on in this issue.
The book starts out with very typical comic tropes, Batman besting the villain and seeing through the ruse of the Hatter. This is presented with the reader being right there with Batman, Snyder writes in a first person perspective throughout the book and each page featured Batman front and center.
As the book continues and Bats starts to confront and deal with Jervis Tetch, the Mad-Hatter, he begins to succumb to the Hatter’s ability to hypnotize and manipulate. Batman begins to question his reality, doubting whether it is real or the product of his reality-altering design. The art and the inner dialogue of Batman start to become distorted as Batman falls victim to the Hatter. The panel layouts from Camuncoli are really great; they are rich and creative and add perfectly to the confusion.
The entire creative team really comes together nicely to build the suspense throughout the book. The book features inks from Morales, colors from White, and letters from Wands. As the book dives into the Hatter world of confusion and misdirection, the colors start to get diluted and swirled and the inks also become distorted in an equally beautiful way.
A different villain and artists every month teamed up with Scott Snyder, who is arguably the best contemporary comic book writer. Comics do not get better than All-Star Batman. Do you really need any more reasons to be read All-Star Batman? This issue is just another notch in Snyder’s Batman utility belt.