Issue #6: Ends of the Earth Part I
This book is written very different then your normal comic book. There are word boxes but no word bubbles. The text on the pages is written like a novel. For instance, where you would normally see a word bubble saying, "Don't do it Freeze", here we see, "Don't do it Freeze," says Batman. So it definitely reads a bit different but in a very interesting and compelling way.
This issue revolves around Mr. Freeze who wants is in the Arctic circle with a deadly weapon. The weapon is an ice core that has trapped in it, an ancient strain of bacteria that, if released into the world, could cause a plague that could wipe out the entire human race. Freeze has been cultivating a type of ice zombie, for lack of a better term, and wants to cleanse the earth and restart with these creatures.
Bats has to fight through a bunch of ice zombies and withstand the heat of an incindiary bomb by using a heat activated virus to keep himself alive but in the end Freeze released the bacteria on the world and we wait to see the outcome.
Issue #7: Ends of the Earth: Part II
This issue opens up in a very similar way to issue 6. Instead of Batman walking across a tundra alone, here he is walking across a desert. The effects of the bacteria relaesed by Freeze are beginning to take affect. A little girl named Lilly contacted the disease from a plant in her cradle and got very ill. She died within 12 hours of contact. Many more people are sick and the media has labeled the plague, Lilly's Cradle.
Batman's job in this issue is to find Dr. Isley, or more commonly known as Poison Ivy, and ask her for find someway to stop the bacteria because she is was able to extract diseases from plants. It takes a little persuasion but Batman does convince her to help and Ivy agrees to make a cure for him.
Issue #8: Ends of the Earth: Part III
This issue is one wild ride of hallucinogenics with Jervis Tetch a.k.a., the Mad Hatter. This issue opens up with Batman walking alone out of the water in the Mississippi Delta where Bats is trying to sneak up on Mad Hatter but he is met by the Bat Family trying to stop him. He fights them and defeats them handly because they aren't what they seem. They are Blackhawk agents with tech that makes people see them as whatever they want but Bats was ready.
He finally reaches Tetch and is put under a chemical that makes him hallucinate and Tetch tells him that many years back he used his tech in Bruce's cap to make him see the world as he wanted to see it and that he made up, in his own mind, the Joker, Bane, Harley, the riddler, and all of his other enemies. That he really has not been Batman all these years and that he used his guilt and his mind to construct this Batman scenario and in reality he is just a very ill and crazy Bruce Wayne sitting in a wheel chair inside Wayne Manor this whole time.
As Batman does, he breaks free of the hallucinogen and defeats the Mad Hatter and before he makes him spill the beans on who is behind all of this the book ends. The next issue is called the "True Villain"
Also, to note there is a grandfather clock silhouetted in the last panel. Is this a Watchman reference? Time will tell. See what I did there? Time will tell? Clock?
As always Synder does not disappoint with his story telling and his use of literary techniques. This story had a feeling that Bats was telling us as if it already occurred. And the artwork which was penciled by Giuseppe Camuncoli is absolutely breathtaking. The colors are amazing and gives you the feeling that you are reading an Alice in Wonderland book instead of a Batman Comic.
Issue 9 Ends of the Earth part IV
This finale issue of the story arc, Ends of the Earth, has been hailed as the strongest arc of All Star Batman to date. I couldn't disagree more. Maybe I am missing something but I did not enjoy this final issue at all. We finally find out who has been behind the entire scheme that Bats has been trying foil for 4 issues and I don't really see a reason for any of it. I get the first two stories of this arc with Freeze and Ivy because they had clear ties to one another. Then the third installment began to lose me. The main focus switched from the toxic spores to a rogue organization called the Blackhawks that was not nearly as interesting as the major baddies in the previous stories.
So it turns out that a very well known Batman vilian was in charge of the Blackhawks and orchestrated this entire series of events so that he can unleash weapons of mass destruction all over the globe. However, Batman, or in this case Bruce was prepared for it. Big Surprise. And foiled the plan before anyone could get hurt and the bad guy gets away.
This arc started great and for me fell short at the end. But everyone else onEarth thinks its a masterpiece so maybe I have no clue what I'm talking about. I would love to hear your take on the last issue.