All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Comic
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Written by Frank Miller with Jim Lee’s art All-Star Batman graphic novel is dividing to put it mildly.

The visuals Jim Lee provides might be my favorite Batman comic art. It looks good, some of the non action sequences look just as good posterized as some of the big splash pages, and the colors are well done.

Story wise, it seems with other Frank Miller tales of The Bat, Batman looks a little unhinged.

I like this book, it’s an interesting take on a partial retelling of how Batman met Robin. Sort of. Before you think about what’s happening.

The story doesn’t pull anything from left field and all the pieces are where you would think they are. Bruce Wayne’s parents tragically die in an alley, skip a few decades and he’s now Batman hunting criminals in Gotham city. Wayne one night goes to the circus, and witnesses the same thing happen to a boy the same age he was when his world crashed around him.

And then things get real nuts.

Right off the start, Bruce outright kidnaps young Dick Grayson by way of Batman, takes him to the Batcave and tells him he has to fend for himself for a while. So For a good chunk of the book Dick Grayson turns almost feral living in the Batcave subsisting on a majority of rats as his diet. Grossly extreme if you ask me.

Throughout the book you see how this more extreme version of Batman. Miller’s views other members of The Justice League are as far as how he writes Batman.

Wonder Woman has a man-hating feminazi attitude, she neither promotes women, nor show any compassion at all towards anyone. Wonder Woman is in one scene, a secret meeting of The Justice League, where she calls a random guy on the street a “sperm-bank”, repeatedly says she hates everyone in The Justice League, hates Batman, calls Superman a wuss for not making everyone bend to his will, and just has general contempt for men for making the world a terrible place in eight pages. Then Superman scoops her up gives her a kiss, Wonder Woman leaves stating one last time on her way out she hates them all and Superman just says, “She’s a really nice girl”. The whole scene makes all those characters out-of-place, and Wonder Woman is so poorly written, she didn’t need to be there, vocalizing how much she thinks everyone sucks, but she has to because traditionally she belongs to that group.

Throughout the book Batman berates Hal Jordan for not wiping out all crime with his ring, and saying he would do a better job with it. Batman’s fascination with Green Lantern’s power ring is so overboard there is a scene in which Batman and Robin put on all yellow suits in an all yellow room and invite Green Lantern to talk. Once they’re all together, The Dark Knight even offers Jordan a nice refreshing glass of iced cold lemonade to quench his thirst. To say Batman is a bit of a dick in All-Star is putting it mild. To put insult to injury Batman even has Robin fight the weakened hero. A grown man tells a twelve-year-old to fight a Green Lantern without his ring. Which seems like it would be one-sided, but apparently Batman put a little too much savagery into Robins training and Dick punches Hal in the throat and nearly kills him, if Batman wasn’t there to administer first aid right as Hal Jordan collapsed Robin would have murdered a superhero.

If you like a different take on Batman, especially those where Batman loves being the “Goddamned Batman” and isn’t afraid to tell you, upon riding a very tall noble steed, and can overlook how certain characters are portrayed as their own worst versions of themselves through stereotypes, this might be entertaining for an elseworlds tale. However, there was supposed to be more of this, at least a second volume, that’s very unlikely to happen at this point, and maybe that’s more a good thing now.

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