“I ♥ You, The Goddamn Batman!”

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Yes, it’s true – I’ve not liked a single issue of Batman R.I.P.  but that doesn’t mean I don’t love Batman.  While the masses seem to swallow everything Grant Morrison has to offer in the pages of Batman, the better story can actually be found in the pages of All-Star Batman and Robin, something the masses seem to detest.  Yes, I know I’m the lone voice on both of these Batman fronts, but what’s a person to do?

Answer:  Love the Goddamn Batman!

allstarbatmanandrobin10.jpgPreviously in All-Star Batman and Robin: Batman is a relatively new crime fighter.  He’s the cock of the block, his testosterone level is at an all time high, and Joe Esposito music is playing in his head non-stop.  Of course he’s going to come off arrogant.  Of course he’s going to piss everyone off.  Of course he’s going to make the snoo-snoo with Black Canary on the Gotham docks.  Of course he’s kicking the asses of every bad guy in his city.  Of course he loves it.  He’s the goddamn Batman!

But ever since that snot-nosed brat came into his life, the goddamn Batman’s life is changing.

Believe it or not, issue #10 is a huge turning point for the goddamn Batman.  Before the issue is over, he begins to recognize his actions have repercussions.  The best evidence of this is when the goddamn Batman and the snot-nosed brat are on their way to meet the battered and bleeding Selina Kyle.  As the dynamic duo flip through the air and hitch a ride on a moving subway, the goddamn Batman reflects on the snot-nosed brat’s recent actions.  On the one hand he’s pleased the snot-nosed brat is doing things that took him a few more years to master, but he’s also disturbed by the fact that the snot-nosed brat crushed Hal Jordan’s trachea, almost killing him.  The fact that the goddamn Batman refers to Green Lantern as a good man, and that the snot-nosed brat is doing it “at my bidding, at my bidding…” leads me to believe we’re going to see a toned down, but still pumped Batman.  He might go by the gosh-darn Batman, and the Esposito music will probably be replaced by the brothers Gibb – and if you’ve ever heard  Stayin’ Alive, you know that isn’t a dig, as the Saturday Night Live soundtrack is full of machismo and 70’s kick-assishness.

And while the goddamn Batman thinks he can do everything himself, he’s led to Catwoman’s location via a note from Captain James Gordon, one of the early hints that the all important friendship is beginning to grow.

Batman is also going to have to deal with his rendezvous at the pier with Black Canary.  She’s got a little of the goddamn Batman in her now (metaphorically speaking), and it’s going to her head, as she busts chops, blows up buildings, and loves every minute of it.

But this story is more than just a tale about the goddamn Batman dealing with his mess, All-Star Batman and Robin #10 is much more a Gordon family dealing with their mess too.

James Gordon is trying to come to grips with the “things” he did in Chicago.  Gordon monologues about his messed up marriage, wonders about his daughter Barbara, and his mind often drifts to the thoughts of sweet Sara.  This title is very much a prequel to The Dark Knight Returns.  Miller is able to get into the character of Gordon and whip up dialogue that reminds the reader of the words he put into the character’s mouth over 20 years ago.

The wife situation isn’t going well.  The hinted infidelity by Captain Gordon, and more than likely the pressure of living in Gotham – a wicked vile city that only Miller can make worse than one might think – has driven her to drink and drive. And as we’ve been told time and time again, drinking and driving don’t mix, which puts Barbara the elder, in the hospital with little chance to live.

Which brings us to “the recall”.

Barbara the younger is inspired enough by Batman to don the duds and become Batgirl for a night, and decides to bring justice to a local arcade, which if I’m not mistaken, is the same arcade that is seen years later in Dark Knight Returns.  Yes, there is foul language by both the drug dealers wishing to rid their territory of the mouthy teen, and the mouthy teen, who has somehow gotten it in her head that over the top violence and curse words are the only way to get the message across to the dealers that they need to find a new place to peddle their wares.  Her actions devolve to mob violence as the crowd decides they’ve had enough and aren’t going to take it anymore either.  This eventually leads to Babs getting nabbed by the police – just another stressor on the road to a major heart attack for her father.

Would I have been bothered by the foul language, had it not been blacked out?  Would I have been upset if the art wasn’t altered to take out the shot of Batgirl smacking a guy in his junk?  No, I think it is totally within the spirit (no pun intended) and mood of the series.  I can understand why DC pulled the title.  Heaven forbid a young’un sees the word f*|{ and goes on a killing spree… yet the word goddam is unaltered.

Every action in this issue is a direct result of the goddamn Batman’s presence in the city.  Since Miller has said ASB&R is set in the DKR universe, I can’t wait to see if he brings the media into the issue, kicking off a 20 year back and forth about the need for Batman in Gotham.

You know what I’ve hated about Grant Morrison’s Batman?  It’s taken over a year for his story to get to its point.  He’s also telling a strong story about Batman in a way that is out of character for Batman.  You know what I love about Frank Miller’s goddamn Batman?  It’s taken over two years for his story to get to its point.  He’s also telling a strong story about Batman in a way that is out of character for Batman.

I know, weird, huh?  I’m sure a Freud would have plenty of things to say about that…

By the end of the issue, I’m left with the feeling that I really want more All-Star Batman and Robin.  Miller’s writing is not the F-off that Dark Knight 2 came off as, it’s actually quite good.  Jim Lee’s art is always top notch.  If I were independently wealthy, I’d spend a great deal of my vast Major Spoilers fortune on buying up as many ASB&R pages as I could (note to potential Major Spoilers investors: I will not spend your investment on ASB&R pages…honest).  All-Star Batman and Robin #10 is good, it’s not the O inducing experience that others might experience when talking about their favorite comic, but I like it.  Thus I’m giving All-Star Batman and Robin #10 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

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That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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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7 Comments

  1. Krod
    October 9, 2008 at 5:42 pm — Reply

    You’re not alone! I agree with you on both counts.

  2. Maximus Rift
    October 9, 2008 at 6:30 pm — Reply

    Could it be that one author has been behaving like a prick? :D

  3. October 9, 2008 at 8:48 pm — Reply

    You two reviewers disagree on which Bat-Book is bad, and which is crap. I agree with you both when you say the other one sucks.

  4. October 9, 2008 at 10:56 pm — Reply

    So, you’re an equal opportunity offender…

  5. hermit
    October 10, 2008 at 5:53 am — Reply

    i have not read morrison’s book, i wait for the trade.

    but, this one (by that i mean the first hardcover) i really hate it. i find it childish, boring and it’s like 9 issues of nothing going on. batman complaining about his new protégé and breaking thugs’ bones (since when does he break bones, usually he just knock htem out)

    so, good for you if you like it, at least you don’t feel like you’ve waisted your time. anyone want to buy a hardcover?

  6. applejack1310
    October 10, 2008 at 6:59 am — Reply

    This title does nothing but continue to be the most ridiculous comic on the shelves. Frank Miller’s hack writing keeps rollin’ along. Hate a character, Frank? Make them a complete idiot and knock them down a notch to make yourself feel better! See Green Lantern. The comic is an absolute joke. I keep reading it, because I seem to force myself into Irritainment situations, but I have an ice cream headache after every issue. Frank Miller is the Lex Luthor of my own personal Legion of Doom, sitting at the big evil table in the swamp thinking up evil plans. Sitting right next to my Joker, David Carrusso, Don’t ask.

  7. The G*d@mned Batman Rules
    October 10, 2008 at 4:17 pm — Reply

    You’re far from alone. I’ve been a fan of this comic from the VERY first issue.

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