Pros: The examination of the villain in this story is unique and great. It is also an incredibly satisfactory finale to the “Ends of the Earth” storyline. In addition, an interesting twist is revealed in “The Cursed Wheel” story, one which may have big implications on the rest of the DC Universe.
Cons: Nothing big enough to mention here, however every reader will experience the story differently.
Overall: Snyder concludes both All-Star Batman storylines in a big way. Both finales are thrilling, satisfying, and have a fantastic and unforeseen twist to them. The buildup these stories received in previous issues finally pays off here, in ways far greater than anyone imagined.
The question on everyone’s mind when the “Ends of the Earth” storyline started was if it would be better than “My Own Worst Enemy,” which was pretty average throughout. This final issue answers that question with a resounding “yes.” This is an excellent conclusion to what has, so far, been an epic storyline. It manages to present an independent examination of another villain, something each issue in this arc has done, while also tying each prior issue into a greater conclusion. This is a really fun read for anyone who has been reading All-Star Batman so far and a compelling reason for new readers to start (just make sure you start with Issue 6).
In addition, this issue also concludes “The Cursed Wheel” storyline in a way that no one was expecting. This is a story that has been going on since Issue 1 and thus has been built up for a while. It does not tie things up in the neat bow that many were expecting, but it does something which may end up being far better. The finale to this story is really interesting and it will be even more interesting to see how the story progresses from here.
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As a series, the “Ends of the Earth” storyline has been fantastic overall. It has presented three stories which all stand completely independent from each other while still being related. This format has allowed Snyder to really dig into the villains in a way that usually is not possible to do in just one issue. This last issue places the focus on Ra’s al Ghul and accomplishes its goal just as well as the previous issues. It shows Ra’s as the crazy terrorist that he is while also managing to expand on why he does what he does. It is an interesting and unique look at this character which, like the rest of this series, goes surprisingly deep for just one issue.
However, in this final issue, the connected plot from all of these independent stories comes together in a big way. We find that these three prior tragedies have been Ra’s al Ghul taunting Batman with his own perverted doomsday scenarios. The web Snyder weaved through these stories is wonderful to see as it builds up the finale in a way that most “normal” story arcs cannot. In addition, Batman’s solution to this doomsday is particularly poetic, as he utilizes a bit of each previous doomsday weapon to develop the ultimate anti-doomsday device with which he is able to defeat Ra’s. All of this just leads to a story which reads beautifully as the end to an overall fantastic arc.
Though the finale to “Ends of the Earth” was epic and mind-blowing on its own, it may be overshowed somewhat by the revelation at the end of “The Cursed Wheel”. This issue shows that Duke has some sort of underlying superhuman ability, the details about which are unclear. It also implies that this power and the mystery behind it will come into play during DC’s next event “Dark Days: The Forge” (see more about Dark Days here). This was something that I did not see coming but is something that could develop in a big way. It will be interesting to watch this plotline progress and see how this relates to the greater DC Universe.
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Jock returns to art in this issue and delivers another outstanding performance. The art style here perfectly encapsulates the “apocalyptic” tone that the story is going for and adds an additional level of underlying seriousness to the story as a whole. Jock’s art always looks fantastic but shines particularly bright in this issue due to how well it sets the tone for this story.
This is the third issue of the “Ends of the Earth” storyline in the All-Star Batman series. So all readers need to do to understand this issue is read the previous three (reviews for those are here -1-, -2-, -3-).
The backup issue is a continuation of “The Cursed Wheel” story, which started in Issue 1. Make sure to check out our review of Issue 1 in order to see the continuity connections that “The Cursed Wheel” uses.