Title: All-Star Batman #8
Story by Scott Snyder
Art by Mark Morales, Giuseppe Camuncoli
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: 3/15/17
During this go around in the ever growing carousel of villains in Snyder’s All-Star Batman run is Jervis Tetch AKA Mad Hatter. Hatter has been nerfed in the New 52 with the origin of Alice in Wonderland being significantly reduced and putting a petty upbringing story in its place. Snyder takes Tetch and adds some of the Lewis Carroll flair dragging Batman down the rabbit hole.
Snyder continues the “Ends of the Earth” arc with the clock ticking on the ever growing threat spurred by the Blackhawks. The trail has taken him to the tundra, desert, and now into the heart of Dixie where Tetch is hanging his hat. As Batman walks up to Tetch’s manor he is bombarded by Blackhawks disguised as members of the Bat-Family. Meanwhile, Blackhawks give Duke more than he can handle and is soon missing. Once he arrives in the house he walks up to a stage where the Mad Hatter puts on a show. Batman is dragged through his own mind in an Alice in Wonderland hayfever wondering if he was mad and what is real and what is fake. The Mad Hatter goes through a slight reversal back to the character in Prime Earth relying upon tech and being a means to an end for bigger villains.
However, this series is still narrative driven leading for precise in wording as there is little plot growth during each issue. In this issue, Synder guides Batman down the usual path of self-doubt which is sufficient to load the bases letting the art do clean up duty. The interesting premise is dragged down by the wording which is becoming stale being altered in small variations from issue to issue. There is some action which breaks up the monotony such as Tetch is waterboarded by the Bat.
As previously stated Camuncoli’s penciling and Morales’ inking is the true rabbit out the hat in this issue as Batman takes a trip to Wonderland. Sequence paneling showcases the minute details while showing off perfection of pacing. Camuncoli’s penciling varies in stroke width which lets the comic breath to the psychedelic to gritty action. Coloring are more vivid than previously using an array of colors rather than the trend of muted colors though that can be attributed to the setting be psychedelic in nature and grounded in the Mississippi Delta. It is interesting to see how the characters a were in their Alice in Wonderland counterpart while Tetch transformed into a lurking demon from a weaselly pawn.
Overall the addition to Tetch lets All-Star Batman #8 be inflated with Batman being trapped in Wonderland but is quickly deflated with an ending that does little but set up the next issue. I am interested to see where the Duke subplot goes after being escalated in between the Mad Hatter. The art comes into save the day with varying art styles suited for the ever changing mood of Tetch.