When All-Star Batman was first announced, Scott Snyder assured fans that it would be a nonstop thrill ride which would show off Batman in the coolest ways possible. When it finally came out, fans discovered that he could not have been more right.
In particular, it seemed like Snyder made an effort to display Batman using some of the most cool and creative weapons and gadgets imaginable. From the very start, nearly every issue contained at least one moment where Batman uses a tool that shows just how awesome he is.
(Warning: spoilers ahead for All-Star Batman)
If fans needed a reason to start picking up All-Star Batman, this scene should have been more than enough to sell them. “My Own Worst Enemy” (Review) begins with Batman fleeing from a couple of would-be assassins. After getting away, he takes a temporary reprieve in the nearby tall grass. A few moments later, he emerges from the grass fully prepared to continue batting his enemies, this time with a chainsaw at his side. He uses this to completely dismantle Black Spider’s robotic legs, the sight of which is enough to cause Firefly to run away in fear rather than attempt to go toe to toe with Batman.
The series’ second issue tones down the cool factor and turns up the creativity factor as Batman takes on King Shark. To dispatch this particular foe, the Dark Knight has a very specific response prepared. He launches two gas pellets straight at King Shark’s head, gas pellets designed to smell exactly like dead shark matter. Batman literally uses the smell of decaying members of King Shark’s species in order to scare him off. Not only is this pretty twisted and excessively creative, but it is also a weapon based in fact as repelling sharks with the smell of dead sharks is a very real thing (there was even an episode of Mythbusters which confirmed its legitimacy).
In addition to being a creative solution to the shark problem, this weapon is also a subtle callback to one of Batman’s most famous gadgets of all time: shark repellent. In the 1966 Batman movie, an attacking shark is easily dispatched when Batman gives it a spray from his can of “bat-shark repellent.” Since then, “shark repellent” has been a running gag in the Batman universe and even makes an appearance in the recent Lego Batman Movie.
Keeping up the series’ high octane energy, All-Star Batman #3 sees the use of a classic street fighting weapon: brass knuckles. But this is Batman, All-Star Batman even, so regular old brass knuckles would not be nearly good enough. Instead, we get to see the Caped Crusader pull out a pair of “bat-knuckles.” Readers can argue the practicality of carving individual bats at the end of each knuckle, but what they can’t argue is that the end result looks exceedingly cool.
When a couple of Talons from the Court of Owls show up, Batman realizes that one of the only ways he will be able to beat them is by exploiting a weakness in their eardrums. For this he needs to play the loudest song he has access to at the highest volume possible. So he chooses a song called “Batman’s #$^” by a metal band made up of ex-Arkham inmates. The resulting soundblast is loud enough to put all of the Talons out of commission and give Batman enough time to escape. Plus, it also manages to look exceedingly cool when sketched onto the pages of this comic book issue.
The fifth issue of All-Star Batman is the conclusion of the “My Own Worst Enemy” storyline (see our review here). Thus, the story is a little more heavy and intense than those before it. Perhaps it is because of this that there are not many crazy weapons or gadgets in this issue. Batman using his cape to knock out the Tweed Brothers is the closest thing we could find but didn’t think that was worthy of talking about much.
You could argue that the full on military strike used at the end of this issue is the most extraordinary weapon used. However, for the purpose of this list, we’re going to stick to things that Batman personally uses, not things he calls in from above.
When Batman storms Mr. Freeze’s compound, he comes across several men whose cells are laced with diamond dust. So, in order to defeat them, he breaks out his new weapon. Made of pure copper, capable of delivering 223 BTUs, and endearingly dubbed “mitten warmers,” Batman’s new tool makes quick work of his enemies. These new Batarangs are the perfect display of the Dark Knight’s ingenuity when it comes to taking on the individual weaknesses of his rogues gallery.
The gadget from this issue is perhaps the most low-tech gadget that Batman uses throughout this series. Trapped in the desert with Poison Ivy, Batman is seemingly placed under her pheromone-induced control after receiving a kiss on the lips. Once under her power, he helps her take out all of the soldiers who were sent in to kill her. However, the end of the issue reveals that he was helping her simply because he wanted to, not because he was mind controlled. He avoided this fate by using the oldest trick in the book, wax lips.
Not only is this a creative and somewhat comedic gadget for Batman to use, but it is also another reference to a campy moment in the Batman films. In the universally panned Batman and Robin, Batman avoids a kiss from Ivy through the use of wax lips. Snyder clearly loves playing up these weird and campy references and has no problem inserting them throughout his comics.
While approaching the residence of the criminally insane Mad Hatter, Batman randomly stumbles across a few other members of the Bat-family. However, without warning, a fight between the entire group breaks out, revealing that these allies are actually imposters. Taken by surprise, Bats is forced to fight them off with the first thing he is able to grab. In this case, this turns out to be a nearby flamingo robot. Batman beating up Nightwing with a flamingo is not what we expected from this series but is something we are certainly happy to see anyway.
In a manner similar to the first story arc, the final issue of the “Ends of the Earth” storyline scales back the wacky and crazy gadgets in order to focus on completing the story. However, Batman does manage to find the time to use an antique bayonet to fight Ra’s al Ghul. It seems oddly fitting to use a somewhat ancient weapon to fight an even more ancient man, which is perhaps the theme Snyder was trying to convey. Either way, though less crazy than other moments from this series, it is still a cool scene to see.
Issues ten and eleven of All-Star Batman see the beginning of “The First Ally” storyline and also see the end of Batman’s odd arsenal. So far, issue ten has Bats fighting off villains with a painting and issue eleven has him use a grappling hook. However, neither of these qualify as bizarre enough to stand with the other denizens of this list.
Since “The First Alley” is the final story arc before All-Star Batman’s cancellation, the question is whether we should expect any more craziness from this series. Off-the-walls action and weapons have been what this series has become known for so it would be surprising to see that come to a close. However, the direction this story arc is taking seems to be much more subdued and introspective.
What do you think? Would you like to see Batman pull a few final tricks out of his sleeve? Or are you in favor of preserving a more serious tone throughout the final story arc? Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook and let us know what you think.