Thursday, October 9, 2008

All Star Batman & Robin # 1

Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: Jim Lee
Colorist/Inker: Alex Sinclair/Scott Williams
Publisher: DC
Published: July 2005

It's hard to believe that only 11 issues have been released since July 2005. It has been said that the comic book industry is the only industry that allows such poor timely releases. In the case of All Star Batman & Robin, this is all the more interesting. Here's a comic series by Miller and Lee that is both hated and praised in equal measures. Arguments have been posted that this series is the worst take on Batman, yet the sales are still great. How can something so hated and despised, and consistently late, still be a top seller?

Well it helps that it is about Batman, the singular greatest comic character ever created (yeah I'm biased), and also that it's got Miller at the helm. Miller is the writer that is not afraid to purposely twist a character to the point of no return, no matter how much slack is thrown at him. He has a vision, and he doesn't care if you like it or not. And it's this strength/flaw in Miller's character that makes All Star Batman such a great read. Miller is pushing Batman to the extreme and forcing us Bat-fans to dig deeper into the bat cave. Miller doesn't want to write about the Batman of yesteryear, he wants to explore the belligerent, borderline psycho, sadist Batman. And honestly folks, it's not that far of a stretch...

Now that that is said, lets step back a minute. Batman after all has been around over 60 years now, if anything Batman can stand the test of time, no matter what is tossed his way. Also, it is only one series in a sea of Bat titles, and Miller has always garnered a love/hate relationship with his readers. I for one can't stomach certain works of his, but Batman & Robin is one that I can, since it is just so damn ridiculous and fun. I mean how many times can you hear "I'm the god damn Batman" and not have to suppress a giggle. Ultimately, if anyone is going to bastardize the Dark Knight, it might as well be Miller. He's pretty good at bastardizing.

Oh, and not to forget Lee. His artwork on this series is top-notch. If you like Lee's work, than you'll love this.

All Star Batman & Robin # 1 introduces Dick Grayson into the Bat universe. During a circus performance with his parents, Graysons world is destroyed by two bullets. Much like Bruce Wayne, Grayson is forced to watch as both his parents are murdered beside him. Next thing Grayson knows he is being escorted by Gotham cops to the Gulch, where he is to be dispensed with. Batman intervenes, rescues the boy, and the comic ends with Batman ordering Grayson onto his feet and stating: "You've just been drafted. Into a war." And so begins All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy wonder.

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