All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder: How Cool is That?

June 22nd, 2006 by | Tags: , , , , , ,

(This is a rewritten message board post from Something Awful’s Batman’s Shameful Secret. It was good, so I dragged it from the depths and rewrote it.)

“Why I Like All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder”
by little david brothers, age 22

Both All-Star Superman and All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder are takes on classic heroes that feature full creative freedom. It’s a chance for these guys to tell the Bats/Supes story they wanted to tell and how they wanted.

The Miller/Lee Batman is different from the Loeb/Sale, Loeb/Lee, Azzarello/Risso, Brubaker/McDaniel, Dixon/Grummett Batman, but it is still recognizably Batman. It’s Batman spun for self-conscious comedy. It’s a guy in a batsuit who isn’t crazy, I don’t think, but would like for people to think that he’s crazy, so he acts crazy. “I ate rats BY CHOICE SO HE BETTER EAT RATS TOO!” That’s hilarious. He’s trying so hard to be a hardcase that everyone around him, or at least Alfred (who’s known him for years and is probably tired of his self-important crap) to Dick Grayson (who has known him for maybe six hours and sees right through his self-important crap) knows that he’s putting on a show. Grayson mentions the fact that he can tell that Bats is putting on an Eastwood. Batman is a ridiculous concept when you think too hard about it, but it’s also an awesome one that much of America (even the non-comics reading folks) have loved since childhood, and that’s what I get from this book. “Batman is a crazy idea, pure empowerment fantasy… but doesn’t it rock?”

(“how cool is that?”)

Plus, you know, giant robot dinosaurs, and I am certain that Bruce Wayne also has a giant robot saddle when he has to hop on and ride around Gotham. “C’MON, CRIMINALS! SIC SEMPER TYRANNOSAURUS YOU COWARDS!” (Robin only gets a robot velociraptor on a leash.)

All-Star Supes is just as “stupid.” Superman overdoses on solar radiation, so he’s dying, but he’s also gifted with tremendous strength at the same time. Modern day interpretation? It’s about the fear of death and what makes a man human. However, it’s also every stupid Silver Age story in one. it’s got Superman robots, chess pieces shaped like Superman’s friends, the Fortress of Solitude with the intergalactic zoo, Superman making dresses, future Supermen, keys that probably weigh enough to punch right through the Earth and out the other side, technobabble, journeys to the center of the Earth to visit the Dino-czar, Cat grant eyeing up people’s crotches, Lois Lane with powers… it’s the same thing as All-Star Bats. “Here are all these crazy impossible ideas… robo-dinosaurs, journeys to the center of the Earth… aren’t they wonderful?!”

Then again, this may just be me. I read these books and it’s like I’m reading comics back when I was ten years old and Jim Lee was the biggest guy in comics. The All-Star books are big, stupid, and loud. I’ve enjoyed every issue of both All-Star books greatly, not in the least because Miller, Lee, Morrison, and Quitely are four of my most favorite creators. They’re fun titles that I enjoy reading, and would like to see them collected in extremely handsome hardcovers five years from now when they finally put out issue 12 of both series.

I also like Dark Knight Strikes Again. Once I find time (that’s a ha-ha, good buddy) I may do a few entries on some of my favorite Miller work that’s not DKR (DKSA, 300, The Big Fat Kill). It’s all a matter of time.

Here’s another angle by one Geoff Klock, wherein the author uses fancy words like “grotesque.”

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One comment to “All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder: How Cool is That?”

  1. Issue #4 of Batman and Robin clinched it for me. Frank Miller and Jim Lee were not asking to be taken seriously, so why not just enjoy the flow and fun of the story?