Who are the great Batman creative teams? That’s always been a tough question since decades of artists and writers tackling Batman have left fans arguing over this for just as long. Still, two names inevitably come up in this conversation: Scott Snyder and Jock. And they’ve teamed up again for a take on the Caped Crusader in All-Star Batman #6 (DC Comics) that feels fresh, even though they’ve worked on him for years.
The basic setup is a horror story. Batman is attacking an Arctic preserve to stop Mr. Freeze, who’s discovered an ancient, lethal virus hidden deep in the ice. He also has a bunch of frozen zombies, just to add to the atmosphere, but Batman, of course, is out to stop him. The tone, however, is foreboding, not least because Snyder and Jock forgo any word bubbles in favor of captions and arcing lines of text that both create the layout of the page and drive the story.
Snyder’s writing is top-notch, as usual, especially when it comes to the plot turn you won’t see coming, but Jock’s angular, shadowy art paired with Matt Hollingsworth’s stark coloring work and Steve Wands’ typeset lettering gives the book its unnerving edge. It’s hard to make Batman fresh, but this team pulls it off and makes it look easy to boot.