All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder

Frank Miller’s prequel to the Dark Knight Returns and the Dark Knight Strikes Again is a reimagining of how Batman and Robin teamed up. Miller’s story is a little more coherent than his DKSA travesty. Jim Lee’s art is amazingly stunning, especially compared to Miller’s gritty Dark Knight illustrations.

Frank Miller’s Batman is basically Dirty Harry. He ruthlessly beats criminals and enjoys doing so. He calls himself the “goddamn Batman”. A lot. It’s annoying to have a classic character changed so drastically. Batman is an asshole in this book. You don’t like his personality.

Dick Grayson is just your average twelve-year-old circus acrobat who is an expert at martial arts for some reason. His parents are shot and killed in front of him, and he is kidnapped by some corrupt Gotham cops. Batman rescues Dick from the dirty cops, and enlists him to fight in his war against crime. Batman doesn’t give Dick a choice; he just takes him back to the Batcave and starts training him to be a soldier. When Dick Grayson asks for food, Batman tells him to catch a rat. What an asshole. Robin doesn’t even get time to grieve. Batman damaged Dick Grayson beyond repair, making his reappearance in DKSA have more meaning. Batman ruined Dick Grayson’s life.

Jim Lee’s art makes Miller’s harsh story beautiful to look at. Vicki Vale, Wonder Woman, and the Black Canary are incredibly sexy looking. The female characters are definitely nice to look at. The highlight of the artwork is a huge multipage foldout depicting the enormity of the Batcave. It is huge, vast, and filled with tons of Bat-ccessories.

Batman is smart, knows it, and rubs it in your face. He handles the Green Lantern by controlling where and how they meet. He makes Robin paint the rendezvous spot all yellow so his power ring is useless. You gotta admit, that’s pretty clever.

This is a cool book. It has a more focused plot than the Dark Knight Strikes Again. The characters are more relatable. Even though the goddamn Batman is an asshole, at least he’s not a parody like he was in DKSA. Miller’s story is dark, but Lee’s artwork makes it appealing.

Critically Rated at 12/17

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