In the arc “Ends of the Earth” Scott Snyder has explored 3 ways, so far, the world could have ended. First with Cataclysm in “Cold to the Core” where Batman confronts Mr. Freeze in Antartica as he attempts to unleash deadly spores from millennia ago. Next up was Plague in “Poison Promises” with Poison Ivy exploring dendropharmacology. Finally, we had “Hats and Bats” in which Mad Hatter explored the idea of Solipsism, the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist. In this final issue of “Ends of the Earth” we find the mastermind behind all of it and yet another way the world could end. There are minor spoilers below as to speak about the issue in detail I have to go into that territory.
In the fourth and final installment of the arc Snyder takes a dive into truth vs fiction, wherein the opening pages we are told that our eyes deceive us. From the misdirections in storytelling to the visual cues from both Jock and Lee, you will find yourself questioning everything here. Speaking of which, Jock’s looser style which is great for horror works quite well here with some visually stunning pages.
Throughout this issue, we see how both Bruce and Ra’s argue for their version of the truth and their demons. Exploring the ideas of what constitutes that something is truth or fiction and how one’s perspective can change that. Snyder takes a very big topic in current day America and uses it as a thought experiment. In what would seemly be a very political topic becomes an exposition of truth and perception.
“This is not a Batman Story” was stated on the opening page and the more I read this issue, I agree. While yes at the end Batman saves the day and stops Ra’s plot, that’s not what I’ve taken away here. Rereading this issue several times over and each time I find something new, something to delve into. For a large part of the issue Batman isn’t even present, Bruce Wayne is. In fact, the only time we did see Batman was a piece of fiction. With Catwoman using the Blackhawk tech to disguise herself as Batman for a distraction. This furthers the discussion on truth vs fiction, where Bruce Wayne is the truth and Batman is a fiction, the rabbit hole gets deeper.
Snyder has told a Batman story that feels like anything but, in the best way possible. With over the top storytelling that grounds itself in some very real science, philosophy, and fears. This is the type of storytelling you would expect to see on a creator-owned book, one that has no rules. The fact that DC has let Snyder tell stories this way in their universe shows the trust they have for him and it has paid off.
TL;DR: With the conclusion to the arc put on your thinking caps and prepare for a wild ride. Snyder has managed to top himself yet again with an explosive story that makes you ponder a lot more than Batman.
Reviewed by Tim Montoya
All-Star Batman #9
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by: Jock, Lee Loughridge, Steve Wands
Published by DC
Release Date: April 19th, 2017