Scott Snyder follows up his first issue with ALL-STAR BATMAN #2, the next chapter of his epic tale. The bulk of the story follows Batman and Harvey Dent/Two-Face as they travel across the country in search of a cure for the villain’s split personality. However, Two-Face has put a bounty on Batman’s head, so the road trip is littered with obstacles of all types.

In the course of this issue, Batman faces down some real all-stars from the pages of DC Comics’ history. Beginning with an epic train-top fight between Batman, Killer Croc, King Shark, and Amygdala, this book never lets down for a second. Highlighting Batman’s incredibly quick thinking and preparedness, Batman manages to hold his own against these three behemoths. He also outwits Harvey Dent and manages to fight off the poisonous effects of Cheshire and Copperhead.

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While these villains take a direct approach in their attempts to take out Batman and claim the bounty, other villains see this as a greater opportunity than to merely earn some reward money. Penguin, White Shark, and Black Mask have pooled their finances to bring KGBeast out of retirement to take Batman out. It’s a move that shows how desperate the crime lords are to be rid of the Bat in Gotham. It also highlights their cowardice; these are villains whose power comes from money and politics, neither of which can be used against Batman in a fight. So, they send others to do their dirty work.

Unfortunately for Batman, the villains aren’t the only ones who are after him. The police have also begun to hunt the vigilante. Sure, Batman’s activities have always been illegal, but now we know just how easy it is to sway their opinion against the Dark Knight.

WATCH: Our interview with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo of the New 52’s BATMAN!

There are also several scenes that focus on Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock’s investigation into the Batman back in Gotham City. It is made clear that Gordon no longer sees himself as an ally of Batman. In fact, it appears he’s not only realized that Bruce is Batman, but is ready to expose this secret to the rest of the world, as well. It’s clear that Scott Snyder intends to surprise us in this story as often as possible. Will Gordon turn Bruce in? Will he be thrown off the scent by Alfred? Will Batman get Two-Face to his destination? What other villains will appear in the rest of the story?

Of course, the issue wouldn’t be nearly as much fun with a lesser art team. The challenge of representing such a diverse cast of characters cannot be understated. This issue is action-packed, too, filled with blood, trains, and explosions- all the little details you might not focus on, but which complete the image and make it gritty and realistic. With so much action, there is little more we could ask of the artists, but the quality is consistently high-quality, whether we focus on the details, the facial expressions, or the backgrounds.

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As with the first issue, issue 2 also contains a secondary story that focuses on Duke and his training. This is more suspenseful than the road trip story, even if it is shorter and less action-packed. There’s certainly plenty to love here, whether it’s the representation of Duke’s crazy mother, which is truly haunting and unsettling, or the surprise ending, which leaves me very excited for the next issue. The art echoes the tones of the script by using dark colors. It’s shadowy and sinister, perfect for readers who like Snyder’s BLACK MIRROR or DEATH OF THE FAMILY.

LISTEN: Our podcast analyzes some of Scott Snyder’s monumental graphic novels!

With incredible art in both stories and writing to match, this issue is a great follow-up to issue one. Fans of Batman will be hard-pressed to find a Batman series currently on the shelves that’s more fun than ALL-STAR BATMAN. Catch up on this series and pick up the first two issues at your local comic shop as soon as you can.

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