or – “I love you the goddamn Batman, you and your goddamn Batmobile”

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The last time I reviewed All-Star Batman, it had been literally a year since the previous issue hit the stands. At the time I hated, Hated, HATED the title thinking Frank Miller had made a mockery of Batman, taken the money, and run away laughing. After a couple of months of serious contemplating, I’ve totally reversed my feelings on the goddamn Batman. Instead of being the worst title out there, I’m actually looking forward to each and every issue – even more so than what Morrison is doing on the Batman title proper. What caused the change of heart? No, it wasn’t a truck load of money from DC (although that would be nice), but rather a different perspective on what Miller is doing.

allstarbatman07_01.jpgHere’s the thing; Frank Miller totally revolutionized comics in the 1980s with The Dark Knight Returns. At the time comics had been pretty happy go lucky, but it was Miller’s work that turned everyone’s favorite bat-themed hero into a grim and gritty crime fighter. Flash forward to today and the introduction of All-Star Batman. If The Dark Knight showed us anything it showed a hero on the edge of psychosis, almost no better than the criminals he was trying to stop. If age mellows us, then why not show the young goddamn Batman in total ape-shit mode as he begins his war on crime in Gotham?

I don’t know how many of you exercise on a regular basis, or get involved in sports – frankly I don’t want to know – but I do know from the time I used to engage in heavy sport activity, and even the time when I would bike 20 miles a day, that I got such an adrenaline rush, to the point where I would literally think to myself, “this is so freakin’ cool!” And it seems the younger the person, the more intense the drive. Take a look at high school or college football players in their prime when they are high on their latest win, and tell me they wouldn’t rip someone’s head off just for the extra kick?

So when the goddamn Batman jumps from building to building saying he loves the feeling, when he smiles with glee when he smashes the bad guy in the face, he is feeling the full rush and taking it to the extreme, literally becoming a Berserker (an ancient Norse warrior who fought with frenzied rage in battle, possibly induced by eating hallucinogenic mushrooms). Of course in the goddamn Batman’s case, instead of magic mushrooms, he’s probably been down among the goddamn bat guano for too long.

Besides, do you really think a calm, cool, calculated crime fighter would be able to bring the smack down like this?

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Of course that much machismo is enough to turn any woman into instant Jell-O, and considering the goddamn Batman got into this fight to protect Black Canary, you can pretty much guess what happens next.

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Oh yeah, they don’t stop with the kissing. It’s hard to tell in the silhouette exactly what they are doing – it could be a simple as dry humping each other on the dock, or full blown getting it on in front of the battered, broken heaps of men the goddamn Batman beat up a few panels earlier. In either case it rocks balls and proves the goddamn Batman can get the ladies just as easily as the goddamn Bruce Wayne.

The goddamn Batman just isn’t there to beat up criminals and get it on with hot Irish chicks in the pouring rain, he actually found someone that advances the plot of the story that started oh so long ago.

That would be the Dick Grayson story for those who missed that issue from 2005. Left alone in the dark Batcave for who knows how long, Dicky-boy is going pretty crazy in his own right. He’s found the goddamn Batman’s treasure trove of weapons, and has been living on dead rats and whatever else he can feed on down there.

Sure, there is the whole endangering youth thing that doesn’t make me feel perfectly at ease, but when have kid sidekicks ever not been in danger? The only reason kid sidekicks were invented was to give young readers someone to identify with in the stories. So, if the goddamn Batman is going to create a sidekick that understands his drive and motivation, someone who is not going to question his actions, someone who is just as crazy as he is, the border line torture Dicky-boy is going through is okay here.

When the goddamn Batman arrives at the goddamn Batcave, to drop off his prey, he gives Dicky-boy a simple choice; kill this piece of trash who killed his parents for revenge, or become a detective. It’s Dicky-boy’s choice.

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And what a choice he makes!

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Holy freakin’ shit!

Dick doesn’t kill, just slices the bad guy’s face just enough to cut the tape so Jocko-boy Vanzetti can talk. Not that he has much time to talk as the soon to be the goddamn Robin gets all medieval on Vanzetti’s ass.

Regardless of what you think of Frank Miller and his current take on the goddamn Batman, there is method to his madness. Batman doesn’t kill, he may maim and injure someone for life, but he doesn’t kill. And he knows Dick isn’t going to kill either. I think Miller goes so far as to explain his method to the reader in a series of panels as the goddamn Batman and Black Canary drive back to the goddamn Batcave.

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Readers had no problem granting Morrison and Quietly free range on All-Star pussified Superman, so why give Miller and Lee all the grief over the goddamn Batman? We aren’t looking at some defecation on a long loved character; we are seeing the tale told in a way modern audiences can identify with. The whole snarky exchange between Superman and Wonder Woman in issued #5 followed a few panels later by the two making out is straight out of the O.C. or any other CW drama aimed at the younger demographic. And who wouldn’t want to see a movie featuring an on the edge the goddamn Batman bringing the hurt and fear to criminals everywhere? If Quentin Tarantino were to direct a the goddamn Batman movie, don’t think for one minute it wouldn’t be as grim, gritty and violent as what Miller is bringing us in the pages.

Let’s not forget about the art; it’s simply beautiful. From the frantic fight at the docks, to the well drawn Black Canary and the goddamn Batman getting it on, to the young Dick Grayson kicking the crap out of the bad guy, everything looks wonderful. It’s almost like I can feel the pain with each and every blow delivered.

Even though we have seen Miller’s take on many of the DC characters, the goddamn Batman wouldn’t be the goddamn Batman, without the ultimate villain. That’s right kiddies; next issue is going to feature All-Star Joker.

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I can not freakin’ wait.

Sit back, crack a brew, and enjoy the ride. You’ll put up with all the crappy summer films regurgitated by the movie studios and call them fun popcorn flicks. This comic is no different. Hate me if you want, but All-Star The goddamn Batman and Robin gets 5 out of 5 Stars.

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Parting Shot
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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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15 Comments

  1. Alec
    September 30, 2007 at 12:42 pm — Reply

    I’ve been saying what you just said since the comic began. Nice to know I’m not the only one out there with this perspective on Miller’s brilliant and dangerous writing. To all the other readers that aren’t quite getting it yet, All Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder makes you uncomfortable, not because it’s excessive and paints Batman in an almost mentally unhinged light. All Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder makes you uncomfortable because it’s excessive and paints Batman in an almost mentally unhinged light AND IT WORKS.

  2. quelonio
    September 30, 2007 at 1:00 pm — Reply

    Coming next: the goddamn Joker!

    What’s not to love?

  3. September 30, 2007 at 3:34 pm — Reply

    All of this, from the writer which had Batman (in DKR) telling a kid to ‘Watch your Mouth’ for saying the word ‘Ass’. He didn’t swear so much in DKR either…

  4. Mark I.
    September 30, 2007 at 5:11 pm — Reply

    I suppose it works as dark comedy. It still hasn’t been consistent enough to carry the joke every issue. This was just tightened up nicely.

  5. ykw06
    September 30, 2007 at 6:20 pm — Reply

    “All of this, from the writer which had Batman (in DKR) telling a kid to ‘Watch your Mouth’ for saying the word ‘Ass’. He didn’t swear so much in DKR either…”

    He wasn’t a wild-eyed hormones-ragin’ young stud in DKR, either, as Stephen covered in the second paragraph. I mean, I’m only in my thirties and I know I don’t swear anywhere near as much as I did just a decade ago. (Though, granted, I haven’t spent that time cracking skulls for fun, either.)

    Unfortunately, I also don’t get anywhere near as many hot Cuban-chompin’ blonde Irish chicks now as I did then, either…

  6. Brother129
    September 30, 2007 at 7:16 pm — Reply

    Wow, I’m really with you on this one. I really didn’t like this comic until I changed my perspective. If there was really a Batman in the “real world” this is how nuts he would be. The first couple of issues were really slow to get out of the gate but I’m loving it now. It’s just pure story, much like Marvel’s Ultimate titles started out to be.

  7. September 30, 2007 at 7:25 pm — Reply

    Wow. Things finally seem to be going somewhere. Can’t wait to see Joker issue in 2010.

  8. September 30, 2007 at 7:25 pm — Reply

    All of this, from the writer which had Batman (in DKR) telling a kid to ‘Watch your Mouth’ for saying the word ‘Ass’. He didn’t swear so much in DKR either…

    Remember though, All Star Goddamn Batman is in his 20s, DKR Batman his late 50s.

  9. jman
    September 30, 2007 at 8:35 pm — Reply

    I think we all were hoping for the DKR 3/Year One, part 2 with this title, but got a little jilted when what we’ve been getting all along is “DKR: The Sin City Years.” I figured the money from his recent book-to-movie adapts and drugs must have gotten his wires crossed, but Miller seems to be out to show Superheroes as elitist, yet flawed(with the Justice League issue) and anti-social/insane (we havent’ seen much of Bruce Wayne in this book since #1, meaning ” Goddamn Batman” is in high gear here). I also get the sense that Miller doesn’t care much for Superman, since “Goddamn Superman” is portrayed as highly inept by the Goddamn Batman’s standards. I’d also have to say that the bat-dickness flucutates between 9-10 here…

  10. nu
    September 30, 2007 at 10:34 pm — Reply

    Praise be to Batman. Amen.

  11. Mark I.
    October 1, 2007 at 12:44 am — Reply

    Hey, wait, “All-Star pussified Superman?” Didn’t he break both of Atlas’s arms?

  12. captain great
    October 1, 2007 at 5:25 am — Reply

    Welcome to the small elite group of comic readers that get All Star Batman!

    This has been one of my favourite comics since about the third issue.

  13. J'osh
    October 1, 2007 at 9:17 am — Reply

    But is a comic really a success when it takes this many issues to usher readers into its secret club of understanding? I agree with the points you make. But I feel like every issue I try to read, I’m presented with something so silly it loses me. The guy under the cowl in this wouldn’t bother with a cowl. That’s what makes it so ridiculous. Why try to scare the criminal element with your bat-like appearance when being bat-shit crazy will do just fine. It’s just Marv if he had a different group of friends growing ip.

  14. October 1, 2007 at 12:55 pm — Reply

    Great review and great distillation of what drives the young Dark Knight. It’s absolutely right, this Batman is a young man feeling the first full flush of his powers, physical, mental and hormonal. The guy has major bone to pick and has found a wonderful outlet to take out his aggressions.

    Jim Lee is the Michelangelo of artists and a direct descendant of Neal Adams. Batman is grim and gritty, but he never looks better than when someone like Adams or Lee draws him.

    Now all we need, is a Miller/Adams crossover. Wasn’t one in the works?

  15. jman
    October 2, 2007 at 8:01 pm — Reply

    “All-Star pussified Superman?” …thanks for helping me spit lemonade all on my keyboard, Mark I!! ;)

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