Mister Freeze. Poison Ivy. Mad Hatter—three of Batman’s villains who hold a particular place in the Caped Crusader’s Rogues Gallery. Now, these criminals are not the Dark Knight’s top tier of villains in the rare air held by the Joker, the Penguin, Catwoman or the Riddler. However, they are baddies that have entertained readers for decades. In All Star Batman: Ends of the Earth, writer Scott Snyder offers a story that showcases these terrific villains.
All Star Batman: Ends of the Earth begins in Alaska, some 300 miles from the Arctic Circle. There, Batman boots his way into Mister Freeze’s refinery. Batman has uncovered ancient bacteria that Freeze wishes to unleash on the world. Doing so will be a disaster beyond imagination. While the Caped Crusader punches his way through Freeze’s ruby-eyed minions, he can’t stop this horrible plan. Batman must travel across America and pull out all the stops to end this threat. This desperate travel takes him into combat with Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter and a certain A-list villain who is the mastermind behind the whole catastrophic event—but you’ll have to read the mini-series to find out.
All Star Batman: Ends of the Earth is a four-issue story arc (#6-9). Writer Scott Snyder again does a terrific job bringing his immense dialogue and explanations to a well-crafted story. Ends of the Earth is both entertaining and thought provoking—as is most of Snyder’s work. One of the best parts of Ends of the Earth is that the mini-series offers four different tales. While they all converge into one story by the end, each tale has a specific tone, feel, and villain. Perhaps the most fun and bizarre tale comes in issue #8 starring the Caped Crusader and the Mad Matter. Batman must fight off serious mind control from Mad Matter; some pretty potent stuff that takes him on a hallucinating wild ride underneath his cowl.
All Star Batman: Ends of the Earth is illustrated by Jock, Tula Lotay, and Giuseppi Camuncoli. Generally, this reviewer enjoys one artist’s work running through all issues in a series. Yet, with each story being mostly self-contained, it works to the benefit of the tale to have a distinct look to each issue. And bookending the first and last issue with Jock’s artwork is a nice touch. The artists bring a different tone to the story’s they are telling and all do a solid job.
There is an additional tale told in All Star Batman: Ends of the Earth, the conclusion to The Cursed Wheel written by Snyder and illustrated by Francesco Francavilla. The Cursed Wheel involves Batman, Duke, and the Riddler. Each tale is a short and mostly entertaining vignette, giving readers an extra story to work through. While the storyline has Batman in it, it’s essentially Duke’s arc. Which is decent, but never holds a candle to the main event: Ends of the Earth.
In short, All Star Batman: Ends of the Earth is worth reading, especially if you are a fan of Scott Snyder.