all_star_9_variant_picon.jpg

There isn’t anything better that I love than a good Batman story, and issue #9 of Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder has provided me with …



all_star_9_variant.jpgAll-star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder #9
Written by Frank Miller
Art and cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams
Variant cover by Neal Adams

Actually, I’m a bit confused as to just what it is I think of this issue. The baseline idea that Frank Miller and Jim Lee are aiming for is definitely worthy of a decent rating. I like the idea that we are getting to see a variation on the “Year One” franchise, by seeing the opening arc of the relationship between Batman and Robin.

However in this book it seems as if Batman has been taken to such an extreme that he no longer resembles the Batman I remember.

I’ll admit to the fact that this is the first of the series that I have read, so I’ll apologize for anything that I miss. But, from what I can gather, we’re being introduced to the Batman and Robin relationship. I can only assume over the past few issues we’ve seen Batman training young Robin in the ways of fighting crime.

I can also only assume that past issues backs up Hal Jordan’s unhappiness with Batman’s brutal tactics. Hal notes that “More of your victims – and yeah, that’s what I call them, victims – wind up in the hospital than the jail. Every time I turn around, I hear about you smashing some lowlife’s femur or shattering a cop’s jaw.”

By way of explanation – for those who will not be reading this issue – Hal Jordan has requested a meeting with Batman. Thus, naturally, Batman paints one of his safe-houses yellow; inside and out. Everything! From the roof to the walls to the cockroaches to the lemonade and lemon ice cream!

It is, in and of itself, rather amusing, but raises my underlying problem; was there ever a point where Batman held the other superheroes in such low regard that he would go to this length? Was there ever a time when he would describe Wonder Woman as “the wicked witch of Lesbos Island”?

Nevertheless, this story – though somewhat ham fistedly done – presents us with the beginning of Batman’s realization that he is not just a lone superhero, answerable to no one; if nothing else, he now has Dick Grayson, aka, Robin, to watch over.

The pinnacle of this story is Robin’s attack on Hal Jordan. Somehow, the twelve year old boy is able to run rings around Hal Jordan, who even without his ring (which Robin had already spirited away to Batman) should be able to put down a twerp like Robin. But no, Robin manages to get in a hand-jab right in to Hal’s jugular which forces Batman in to doing an emergency tracheotomy.

The eventual point of the comic takes place on the last page where the pair grieve their lost loved ones – the departed who have driven them by their absence in to their lives of crime fighting. It is a good story, if you can accept Batman as nothing but a brutal thug and Robin as some super powered lack wit.

I give this comic 3 stars out of 5, based entirely upon the story. The art is good, but not worthy of affecting the overall score in any direction.

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The Author

Joshua Hill

Joshua Hill

I'm an aspiring author who just happens to also work on the web, reporting on the environmental research and science at Planetsave.com that makes sense of the climate change hype, reviewing fantasy books at FantasyBookReview, because I love fantasy books and want to tell you all about it. I also blog over at Life As A Human and at Extralife.

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15 Comments

  1. Peter
    March 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm — Reply

    I’m given to understand that this takes place in Miller’s Dark Knight Returns universe (which I think has a number, but I’m not sure which), so it’s not actually supposed to be the familiar Batman. I’m not certain of any of this, though; this is just what I recall having read somewhere…

  2. Cory
    March 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm — Reply

    Frank Miller is Fraud. This series proves what a goddamn hack he is. Each issue has been nothing but absurdities piled upon absurdities. If Miller no longer likes to write superheroes then he should go back to his Sin City garbage and leave these properties alone

  3. Brent
    March 4, 2008 at 5:10 pm — Reply

    I liked the idea of Dick Grayson being an ‘adept’ whose physical potentital surpasses even that of Bruce Wayne. In previous issues, it had been noted that Robin is physically astounding. Those All prior depictions of his innate abilities culminate in his utter dismantling of a relatively untrained Hal Jordan. The scene portends to the regimemented training awaiting the League once Batman joins.

    Ham fisted storyteling, yes, but a narrative conflict is created since Bruce worked hard to become a living weapon, but Dick was born as a weapon (a physical and mental ‘adept’). Without Bruce’s years of discipline, grieving, focus and self sacrifice to balance physical strengths, you get a beserker Robin who beat the yellow snot out of Green Lantern. Without that forging, you get a Jason Todd. You get a Joker. It’s so very Samurai. So very Cassandra Caine.

    NOW it all makes sense why the goddam Batman has been such a douche. Miller has given Batman something for which he needs to atone: the creation of a junior psycho in short pants whose rage and loss would have driven him to be a monster if not for vigilant parenting. Touche.

    All that said, the yellow paint was a bit much…

  4. March 4, 2008 at 5:38 pm — Reply

    Frank Miller has to be snorting rails off of a stripper’s ass before he writes the scripts for these issues. He is legitimately bat-shiat crazy. Everyone at my LCS, Bagged & Boarded concede that All Star Batman & Robin is in fact terrible, yet we buy it every time it hits stands …

  5. Curious
    March 4, 2008 at 5:49 pm — Reply

    I’m just curious… did the reviewer think of The Dark Knight Returns at all while reading this issue? Particularly on page 3. It seems to me that the issue is doing a lot more than just leading up to a point where the two can “grief [sic] their lost loved ones.”

  6. Maximus Rift
    March 4, 2008 at 6:01 pm — Reply

    I don’t think I would like this. Looks to me like it’s making a god out of Batman.

    Also, I find the idea of 15-year old Robin beating Hal Jordan very disturbing.

  7. mosdef
    March 4, 2008 at 6:40 pm — Reply

    really? robin beat hal jordan, or any green lantern for that matter…..cant buy it.

  8. Randallw
    March 4, 2008 at 6:42 pm — Reply

    Considering the general atmosphere of this version I would half expect Hal Jordan to smash Robin across the face with his lantern.

  9. ~wyntermute~
    March 4, 2008 at 9:44 pm — Reply

    ****Bat-dickness alert****

    I’m going to go grief at the death of proof-reading. We scarcely knew ye, proof-read. :.( (the truly ironic part, and i didn’t notice this until AFTER writing the above, is that the reviewer longs to be an author….) And it’s “arc” when you’re refering to a “story arc”, not “ark” like “Noah’s ark”. Just trying to be helpful, even if simultaneously bat-dickish.

  10. 5andman
    March 4, 2008 at 10:16 pm — Reply

    I actually liked this issue.
    A very emotional, densely written book. (Most books take 2 minutes to read)

    Those last 2 pages was a great emotional payback.

  11. nu
    March 4, 2008 at 10:34 pm — Reply

    you have to laugh at the yellow paint. yes it is over the top but it is hilarious and the truth. the yellow weakness was well weak and very laughable. you have to notice the little things like robin eating ice cream or catching the glass of lemonade instead of worrying about bruce. dont be so analytical, just enjoy the comic

  12. Pengo
    March 5, 2008 at 4:36 am — Reply

    I’ve heard repeatedly that Hal Jordan should not have lost this fight. I’m not really an expert on Lanterns or Batman, but I think it’s worth keeping a few things in mind.

    * Hal probably underestimated Robin, and more importantly, likely held back because he did not want to/feel the need to hurt what was, to him, some poor kid in a costume.
    * Not only was Hal lacking his ring, but he was subjected to mind games the moment he walked into the room – and considering he lost his cool enough to start swinging at Batman, they were obviously getting to him.
    * On the flipside, Robin was not holding back at all, and was cool-headed to boot.
    * This wasn’t a long, drawn out fight where Hal had time to figure out Robin could do some damage. Based on how the pages seem to tell it, the whole incident probably lasted under a minute.

    So for me the question is “Is it realistic for Robin to punch the throat of a very fit and combat-experienced guy who has lost his temper, is holding back, and is caught offguard?” Answerin yes doesn’t seem all that unreasonable.

  13. Brother129
    March 5, 2008 at 10:07 am — Reply

    I feel almost compelled to defend this issue of ASBAR. (Say that out loud for a sophomore laugh.) Like everything else in this series, its done way over the top. I guess it depends what you’re in the mood for. The reason why I enjoy books like this and now apparentlly Mark Millar’s Kick Ass, is that after going through your regular stack of “emotionally complex” superhero books, it’s nice to have a stark contrast to that that makes you laugh and enjoy the ride. I think we forget (because we’ve gotten so old and sophisticated) that there is an element to comics that’s supposed to be mindless. Of course, there’s always the old tried and tested argument: you don’t like it…don’t buy it.

  14. kaus
    March 5, 2008 at 11:21 am — Reply

    this issue should get 5 stars, if for no other reason than the line “D*m you and your lemonade!”

  15. applejack
    March 5, 2008 at 12:16 pm — Reply

    To Cory, Poster #2:

    I could not POSSIBLY agree with you more. Frank Miller’s writing in this series has been an absolute joke. A review of one of the issues (don’t remember which) here on Major Spoilers once called the series “All-Star Goddamn Batman and Robin.” It couldn’t be more dead-on. I’m sorry, I can’t see Batman ever smacking a child across the room. Is he a dick? Oh, heck yes. And I love that aspect of his personality. Is he insane? Maybe a little. Does he jump around rooftops cackling like a girl, laughing at the sky, and smacking kids? NO. Not to mention Miller’s over-written lines like (correct me, I don’t remember the line exactly) in this issue when Batman is thinking about a chuckle rising in his throat, “scratching like black diamonds.” What?! Ridiculous. And it is obvious that Miller HATES Hal Jordan. He is written like he is an absolute buffoon. “Stop confusing me!” What is that?

    All in all, this series is absolute painful to read. Do I read it every time it comes out? Yes. Because it’s the trainwreck you can’t look away from. It’s irritainment.

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