Down The Rabbit Hole
Written By: Scott Snyder
Art By: Giuseppi Camuncoli, Mark Morales, Dean White, Steve Wands, Francesco Francavilla
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: March 15, 2017
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Let's keep moving as Batman tries to stop that ancient bacteria from ripping through the world and putting humans on the endangered species list. Previously, we saw Batman try and stop Mr. Freeze from unleashing this nightmare and even though he came prepared and it looked like our hero prevailed, the bacteria still got out in the world so that led Batman to track down Poison Ivy so that he could find a cure, but that was only after a little girl was affected by it and died a horrible death, setting off a panic about what the world was going to do. Let's jump into this issue and see if Poison Ivy's cure worked and where Batman will end up and with which villain. Let's check it out.
Our issue begins with Batman walking out of a Mississippi Delta like he was Jason Voorhees or something and we instantly learn that he's here in order to get to the bottom of what's going on going all the way back to Mr. Freeze because he's realized that the Blackhawks team that has been tracking him have camouflage that utilizes stealth technology that actually tricks the brain into thinking that they aren't seen and that technology leads to a shell company, that leads to the house that Batman's presently at and where he knows he'll find the Mad Hatter.
There's no shame in Hatter's game either because instead of trying to get away when he realizes that Batman has entered his home, it seems that the Hatter was waiting for him so that he could tell him an important piece of information concerning his life. Yeah, it seems that Batman begins to be affected by Hatter and sees the world in a whole new way, where he's actually crazy and all of his supposed villains are actually doctors trying to pull him back into reality, but this only goes so far because even though Hatter explains that he placed his tech on Bruce the moment they met, but found him to be lacking in what he was looking for in a subject so he went to his home later and used the "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat" Alice In Wonderland rhyme to try and shut down his mind altering program, but something went wrong and Bruce dedicated himself to becoming a bat so much that it's been his fabricated life ever since, but this is Batman we're talking about so obviously he's not falling for this whole mind game.
In the end, Batman breaks free of Hatter's hold and throws some logic his way when the villain tries to convince him that he's still in the dream by telling Hatter that if this is all a dream then no one can die so he can just keep beating the holy hell out of him forever. So yeah, Hatter spills the beans about who the real villain of the story is and we'll have to wait until next issue to find out. As for our Cursed Wheel backup.......... Well, Duke figures out how Riddler is enacting his riddles from his Arkham Cell, but he's going to be preoccupied by the creator of Mr. Bloom Darryl, who is waiting for him in Wayne Manor.
That's it for this issue of All-Star Batman and while I love Mad Hatter, this issue felt a little lacking to me because of the way the narration took place and made things seem a bit more confusing then they had to be. Yeah, I know it was a landscape of the mind that we were playing with, but it seemed overly complicated just for the sake of it and by the end of the issue I have no idea how Mad Hatter knows who Batman really is or how he was ever affected by the Mad Hatter in the first place. Yeah, you could say that the Hatter actually did affect Bruce the first time they met and could still pull his mental strings a bit, but from what we saw in Zero Year, this felt like all a ruse and I went through this issue just really scratching my head about what was actually going on and felt like too much just to get us to a cliffhanger about a name that we never get to find out. The art in this issue was enjoyable though and I liked the concepts thrown at us, I just wish they were presented a little clearer and I found myself enjoying the backup as well as we move ever closer to Duke finally getting a code name.
Bits and Pieces:
While Mad Hatter fans will be happy to get the villain front and center in this issue, the overall feeling of this story that I walked away with was just confusion as we move closer to finding out who the real person is behind the events of the last few issues. The art was decent though and I enjoyed the backup, I just wish that the stylized nature of telling this story was a little bit more up front so that I could finish this book not feeling like a big dummy about the events that went down.