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Booze, Broads, & Bullets: All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder

April 17th, 2010 by | Tags: , , ,

Chad wants to talk about Booze, Broads, & Bullets. Sean wants to talk about Daredevil: Love and War and Dark Knight Strikes Again. Me? I’ve just got an index and some words about Miller’s second-most hated.

Behold, I teach you the Batman.

Batman’s story is fundamentally about revenge. He was wronged as a child and dedicates his life to the get-back. Joe Chill, for various reasons, is beyond his grasp. He can never have his actual revenge. Either Chill is dead, too old, or simply doesn’t exist. So, instead of having an explicit goal for his revenge, something he can point to when finished and have some sense of accomplishment or closure, he’s left with a phantom, something he’ll never be able to grasp. The object of his hatred is transferred to “crime” itself, and thus begins his never-ending quest to get back at the world for the death of his parents.

Batman would not be a pleasant person to be around. He’s been training to fight crime since he was a teenager, at the latest, and that kind of focus does not lend itself to being a particularly good friend. He has focused his life on figuring out ways to solve mysteries, memorizing facts about decomposition, learning ways to hurt people, and make them fear him.

Now imagine if, after being brutalized on his first night out fighting crime, he found a lens to focus his vengeance. A variation on the last happy moment from before his life was ruined. Zorro re-imagined in a blood-soaked haze. “Yes. Father. I shall become a bat.” He is rich enough to do anything, save for overcome the heartache that infected him as a child. So, he lashes out.

A child’s fantasy becomes corrupted due to unimaginable pain. The moment his parents died, Bruce Wayne’s childhood stopped and the seed that would grow to be the Batman began, nourished by blood and anger. He’s going to become a force of nature, something that strikes from the darkness and has no more substance than a shadow. But, not the swashbuckler with a sense of humor from the movies. No, when the Batman laughs, it is a bad thing. That just means the pain is coming. And he’s going to hurt you because he was hurt as a child. This is the Batman.

All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder is the story of how Batman learned to be human. Follow along.

One thing I haven’t seen anyone address is how Batman is treated in the text. The Batman of the early ’00s, who alienated his friends and allies simply because he could, was still treated as a hero and morally correct. The Batman of ASBAR, on the other hand, is actively disliked by everyone he interacts with. In the first conversation he has with Dick Grayson, age twelve, Dick realizes that Batman is putting on a voice. “It’s like he’s doing some lameass Clint Eastwood impression. That’s not his real voice. He’s faking it.” Later, when Batman tells him that the car is called “the Batmobile,” Dick rolls his eyes and says, “That is totally queer. :rolleyes:”

Alfred, after being ordered to let the boy eat rats, declares that he is not Batman’s slave. He vehemently objects to Batman’s treatment of the child. Jim Gordon, the closest thing Batman has to a friend, mocks him after doing him a favor and receiving no thanks in return. “Of COURSE not,” he thinks. “That’s hardly be GRIM AND GRITTY, would it?” An inexplicably Irish Black Canary echoes Dick’s opinion of the name “Batmobile,” and even goes so far as to say that maybe, just maybe, Batman “could find some wee benefit from speaking to a person or two, now and then– of course not while you’re so busy punching somebody senseless?”

Hal Jordan, Green Lantern, gives him the treatment on behalf of the Justice League. Wonder Woman wants Batman dead and shown as an example of the cape community policing their own. Superman, showing signs of the ending of Dark Knight Strikes Again decades ahead of time, declares that “this is my world. These are my people. These are my rules.” He overrules her. The only person in the JLA who likes Batman is Plastic Man, who is insane.

The dislike, or grudging acceptance, is nearly unanimous. Vicki Vale dodges a direct meeting with Batman, but calls him a “flying rat.” The only person in the entire book who meets Batman and is anything less than completely unimpressed with him is a woman he rescues from rapist muggers in an alley. She says, “Thank you. I love you,” as Batman is leaving. His monologue: “Nobody loves anybody, my darling. We just survive.”

Think it through. No one in the book likes him. He’s playing a role that is so obvious a recently-traumatized twelve-year old can see through it. He has flashes of darkness, where thoughts of his parents come unbidden to his mind. He repeatedly calls grief the enemy, because grief leads to acceptance and forgiveness. “Grief forgives what can never be forgiven.”

Issue nine. He unleashes Robin on Green Lantern because it’ll be a laugh and he needs to show the JLA he means business. The anger and grief inside Robin spills over and he nearly kills Green Lantern. Batman is suddenly forced to realize that he’s been going about his quest wrong. He was forcing the boy into the steps he followed to become Batman, not realizing that grief and closure are vital to growth. The issue ends with them weeping over the graves of Dick’s parents.

That is the first step toward Batman becoming an actual hero. ASBAR is the story of why Batman needs a Robin. It brings him back down to Earth and forces him to acknowledge his own flaws and humanity. It shows him that you can be young and adjusted, and that crime fighting doesn’t have to be about revenge. The mean one-liners and Eastwood fade. The fun of crime fighting doesn’t. “Striking terror. Best part of the job.”

Of course, the tragedy of ASBAR is that Dark Knight Strikes Again lies in its future. After being fired, Dick Grayson went bad. Batman has to kill him, and while he mocks him, he still marks his passing with a sad, “So long, Boy Wonder.”

Make no mistake: the Batman is a child’s fantasy. Batman’s defining moment is tragedy, and it has effected his adulthood in a way that, say, Spider-Man’s tragedy didn’t. Uncle Ben’s death taught Spider-Man that heroism is a requirement, not an option. The death of Thomas and Martha Wayne taught Bruce that the world is a cruel place. He took Zorro, a character his father enjoyed, and stepped into his boots. It is telling that Miller revises Robin’s origin to include the fact that Dick’s father was a Robin Hood fan and often took Dick to see the movie. Dick chooses his name in honor of his father. Batman does, too. But the difference in the two of them is astounding.

But, for now, ASBAR is the last lesson of the Batman. He’s mastered ways to hurt, maim, kill, investigate, deduce, and solve. This is where he learns to feel. I assume that next year’s Dark Knight: Boy Wonder will wrap the story and show us how Batman and Robin work together in their first bout against the Joker.

All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder is grotesque and exaggerated. It’s not a satire, and there’s definitely a point to all of the glorious excess.

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25 comments to “Booze, Broads, & Bullets: All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder”

  1. “An inexplicably Irish”

    Frank Miller.

    “An explicably Irish”

    There y’are.

    Also: and now I’m going to read ASBAR. *thumbs up*

    //Oo/\


  2. Great review.

    The key to enjoying Miller’s Batman work is remembering that all these stories are told from the point-of-view of one of the supporting characters. Batman: YO is what Batman’s world looks like to Gordon. DKR is what Batman’s world looks like to Alfred. ASBAR is what Batman’s world looks like to Dick Grayson.

    The flaw in my schema is DKSA.


  3. Yeah, I’m glad that there was a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the story; there was an actual point to all the unpleasantness that went on earlier. But man, Batman really was a huge jerk before meeting Robin.


  4. So just to be clear, we’re talking here about Miller’s Batman, right? Not objectively Batman the character?


  5. @Matthew Craig: You know, now that you say it, a lot of things become blindingly obvious.

    @Dean Hacker: DKSA is Batman through Batman’s lens: just a dude out to have fun and save the world. Astute observation, too, I hadn’t even thought of it like that.

    @Dene: Specifically Miller’s Batman, yes, but I don’t see anything that would prevent it from being applied to the Platonic ideal of Batman. Same origin, same motivation, same connection to his parents, etc. Miller’s just going in-depth on an aspect of his growth that we haven’t seen before, one which would eventually lead directly to the well-adjusted, wry Batman of Grant Morrison’s run, the Act of Batman Is Therapy Batman of DKR, and the Being Batman Rules Batman of DKSA. Even the Cosmic/Hypercompetent Batman that tends to appear in JLA- he needs this foundation to exist. This is where he builds the interpersonal skills that he didn’t as a child.

    And considering that the only two Batman stories that every writer has been forced to pay some sort of attention to are Year One and DKR, you could make a very good case for our modern idea of Batman being Frank Miller’s Batman, more than anyone else. Even Chuck Dixon was beholden to DKR in his run, for better or for worse.


  6. Nicely put. This is why I disliked DC’s attempt to darken Batgirl (Cass … at least until the underrated Gabrych run) and Robin (Tim Brake) because the characters exist to provide CONTRAST to Batman’s darkness …not be pulled even deeper into the abyss.


  7. @Marc Burkhardt: Yeah, the two Batgirls especially work to provide contrast. The entire Batfamily is a reflection of Bruce. Babs doesn’t have the tragedy that drives Bruce. She’s the next level of Dick Grayson. Dick does it because it’s right and brings light to the darkness, whether his own or Bruce’s. Babs does it because it looks like fun and does right along the way. Cass does it out of penance, and provides a mirror image to Batman. She also spent much of her time (the sublime first 24 issues or so) learning how to relate to people, particularly her father. Tim Drake, like Batwoman (to my understanding, I may be wrong because I haven’t read the last arc or two of her run in ‘Tec), inherits the quest, but not the pain. I’d say that those two, like Carrie Kelly, are the end point of what Batman represents. “I have the power to stop this, so I will stop this.”

    Even Damian fits in. He’s a Bruce that didn’t have the love of Thomas and Martha, but had all of the training.


  8. I don’t agree that Batman is about vengeance. I think this is something that writers like Frank Miller want to bring to it. I can see how you can look at his origin and see a guy who wants revenge against Joe Chill so takes it out on others (a little Sweeney Todd in a way) but I think Bruce’s real fantasy is to be the guy who swoops in and prevents another kid from having his world destroyed.

    It frustrates me when it seems like authors project pettier motivations onto Batman and then punish him for them. It’s like he’s being mocked for other peoples’ cynicism and taste for thuggishness rather than his own imo (meaning these things aren’t inherent to the character). And his influence has led things to swing too far in that direction, imo, until Bruce’s origin is held against him.


  9. See, the bug twist at the end? Dick Grayson is actually 11. Hence, almost the entire cast are shown up as fools for bookending the name Dick Grayson with “age twelve”, EVERY GODDAMN TIME THEY SAY IT.


  10. The idea that this story takes place in the same universe as Year One– was this revisionist history on Miller’s part? I don’t recall when this was first stated, but the Batmen in ASBARTBW and Year One read like completely different people to me.


  11. Batwoman has her share of family tragedy as well, but specifically states in one issue that her mission is one of justice rather than vengeance.

    Frank Miller’s view of Batman isn’t all to different from the way things worked out with Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson. The first year he’s a silent avenger who knocks corrupt businessmen into vats of acid, breaks necks and guns crooks down. Robin, however, lightens him up considerably and Bruce becomes more of a father figure out to protect innocents, rather than avenge.

    ASBAR is just exaggerated because … well, that’s Frank Miller these days.


  12. @Stig: What are you talking about? If they say he’s twelve, he’s twelve. Ages change. Bruce Wayne’s been everything from 6 to 9 and everything in between. What’re you mad about?

    @John Foley: I don’t think it’s revisionist. He said so, or Jim Lee said so very early on.

    @Dene: One of the most popular portrayals of Batman for the past twenty years began with “I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman.” The vengeance-focused Batman wasn’t even a creation of Frank Miller. Pre-Miller writers, Denny O’Neil included I believe, acknowledge the role vengeance has in Batman’s quest. Miller, like Dixon, the animated team, and other influential Batman writers, understands that the quest begins at vengeance but ends up at justice, because vengeance only goes so far.

    More to the point, you cannot say Batman isn’t about vengeance, because that runs counter to the story itself. He swore “by the spirits of [his] parents to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals.” That’s from Detective Comics 33, 1939. Vengeance has been there from the beginning. Later writers came up with ways to turn that simple motivation into a nobler one, often involving Robin as a symbol of light. Robin was originally introduced to lighten Batman, and serve as a surrogate for kids, too, so that function dates from the beginning, too.

    It frustrates me when it seems like authors project pettier motivations onto Batman and then punish him for them. It’s like he’s being mocked for other peoples’ cynicism and taste for thuggishness rather than his own imo (meaning these things aren’t inherent to the character). And his influence has led things to swing too far in that direction, imo, until Bruce’s origin is held against him.

    I’m not sure what pettier motivations you’re talking about here. The brutality and thuggishness have a history, though the big change of the late ’90s was that it was focused on his friends, rather than his enemies. But rather than using that as a teaching experience, or one to prove a point, they kept him in the right, which I think was a mistake.

    How is Bruce’s origin held against him? I don’t understand that part of your post, but Batman was undeniably born from tragedy. Now, while Superman is the guy who stops a bully because it is the right thing to do, Batman does it because he knows how it feels to be bullied. Spider-Man is a strange hybrid of the two, which I think is why he’s enjoyed such popularity. He knows how it feels to be bullied, but he also had several years of a good man teaching him how to behave. He has the tragedy, but he also has his version of those kind Midwestern salt of the earth-type parents.


  13. Check the dialogue, Dave, AND the thought captions: no-one is ever able to say the name “Dick Grayson” without adding “Age Twelve”. If I wanted tabloid-style writing I’d have picked up a copy of the Daily Mail, thank you very much.

    Plus, no matter how well you pitch it, I’m never going to sympathise with a giggling maniac torturer Batman, anymore than with a casual sinus-stomping Ray Palmer or a hooker-taunting-and-then-slaughtering Hit-Girl. Violence for violences sake is never funny or interesting . It’s just pathetic.


  14. @Stig: First, don’t call me “Dave” and don’t condescend to me. Second, who cares? If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. I don’t agree that it’s violence for violence’s sake. I think there’s a point to it, and I explained why. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it.


  15. Frank Miller’s Batman being popular doesn’t retroactively makes Frank Miller’s Bataman’s ideas about Batman central for the whole history. I recognize that it’s central to the current trend of crazy, anti-social Batman, but that’s still just a trend. I’d still say it’s the dominant trait because when it comes down to it, that’s a really narrow focus. Writers are still attracted to the Batman who’s actually a hero imo. And that’s the Batman that the Batfamily is loyal to as well.

    Sure he’s always been avenging his parents. But being a protector has long since been the larger part of it imo because that’s why he’s a hero. I think both extremes are part of the character, not just Miller’s. Yes, a grim and gritty Batman was there at the beginning–but he wasn’t the same character as Miller writes in YO. (And Robin showed up pretty early and was popular with the audience having a different relationship with Bruce.) I can see where Miller’s take comes from in the character, I just don’t think it’s more definitive than others.

    What I mean about Bruce’s origin being held against him is that I think the comics have leaned so long and so far towards righteous thuggishness and anti-social Batman that I now see Bruce’s origin used as an example of why he’s inferior in fandom and I don’t think it ought to be. It’s the natural result of saying that the guy is simply seeking vengeance on the man who dared to interrupt his perfect, spoiled, protected childhood. He doesn’t care about other people, he’s just making “the scum” pay for touching him. It’s not heroic. It imo goes beyond “Bruce stops the bully because he knows what it’s like to be bullied” and gets into “Bruce stops the bully because he’s a stand-in for the guy who bullied him” as if the victim barely matters.

    But a simple revenge fantasy, imo, does not make a hero. Which imo is why even modern comics have sometimes taken time to show us that there’s a lot more to it than that, and that there’s more satisfaction to be found in keeping darkness away from other peoples’ lives than there is in beating up a guy who was going to mug someone. Especially since over the years Bruce has become almost supernaturally efficient and intelligent, and has a family again.


  16. God–I accidentally hit send w/o proofreading and there’s some mistakes that make that post really hard to understand. Here’s a better version:

    Frank Miller’s Batman being popular doesn’t retroactively makes Frank Miller’s ideas about Batman central for the whole history. I recognize that it’s central to the current trend of crazy, anti-social Batman, but that’s still just a trend. I’d still say vengeance is not the dominant trait because when it comes down to it, that’s a really narrow focus. Writers are still attracted to the Batman who’s actually a hero imo. And that’s the Batman that the Batfamily is loyal to as well. They weren’t drawn to one guy’s inability to crave vengeance.

    Sure he’s always been avenging his parents. But being a protector has long since been the larger part of it imo because that’s what makes him a hero. I think both extremes are part of the character, not just Miller’s. Yes, a grim and gritty Batman was there at the beginning–but he wasn’t the same character as Miller writes in YO. (And Robin showed up pretty early and was popular with the audience while having a different relationship with Bruce than the one in ASBAR.) I can see where Miller’s take comes from in the character, I just don’t think it’s more definitive than others. And I still think Frank Miller’s personal interests are guiding the character more than a totally objective study of the character.

    What I mean about Bruce’s origin being held against him is that I think the comics have leaned so long and so far towards righteous thuggishness and anti-social Batman that Bruce’s origin used as an example of why he’s inferior in fandom and I don’t think it ought to be. It’s the natural result of saying that the guy is simply seeking vengeance on the man who dared to interrupt his perfect, spoiled, protected childhood. He doesn’t care about other people, he’s just making “the scum” pay for touching him. It’s not heroic. It imo goes beyond “Bruce stops the bully because he knows what it’s like to be bullied” and gets into “Bruce stops the bully because he’s a stand-in for the guy who bullied him” as if the victim barely matters.

    A simple revenge fantasy, imo, does not make a hero. Eventually it makes a pathetic character. Which imo is why even modern comics have sometimes taken time to show us that there’s a lot more to it than that, and that there’s more satisfaction to be found in keeping darkness away from other peoples’ lives than there is in beating up a guy who was going to mug someone. Especially since over the years Bruce has become almost supernaturally efficient and intelligent, and has a family again.


  17. @Dene: But the problem with Frank Miller getting all the credit with creating the angry Batman is that he didn’t. The lazy artists and writers who followed DKR deserve the blame for that. Miller has written one book (well, two books if you count Spawn/Batman) with crazy, antisocial, thuggish Batman: All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder. Year One had an unsure, but dedicated Batman who was trying to build up his mission and test-driving his various gimmicks (lazy playboy with a champagne flute full of ginger ale, talented and scary creature of the night).

    DKR is about how Bruce Wayne has to be Batman. When he first dreams about the Bat and wakes up without his mustache, there is a lingering shot on Dick’s (or maybe Jason’s) Robin uniform. Later, the Bat crashes through his window and he puts the suit back on and monologues, “…I’m a man of thirty–of twenty–again. The rain on my chest is a baptism– I’m born again.” And one of the first things he does is rescue Carrie Kelly, who later becomes his Robin.

    His relationships in that book are extraordinarily complex. He and Jim Gordan chat like old colleagues. Alfred and Bruce are mostly the same, with Alfred still being the proud, and worried, father. Batman and Robin have a genuine love. He misses Dick when the mutant leader is beating him up. Even the Batman/Superman rivalry– there’s a mutual respect there, with the divide being in terms of approaches to crime fighting. Superman doesn’t want to rock the boat and become a god. Batman wants crime gone by any means.
    Batman may not be Superman, but he’s far from the Punisher, in terms of tone.

    And DKSA Batman… he’s grinning on every page. He fights with his friends, but again, they are specifically friend fights– politics, approaches. When things get real, the fights are left where they belong: in the past. I’m thinking specifically of the scene where they find out about the Thanagarians, here. It’s like a light switches off and they’re all business.

    Frank Miller didn’t invent an anti-social Batman. He created a rivalry between Superman and Batman, which I think was a good idea, but he didn’t turn Batman anti-social by any means. He wrote a story about an old man near the end of his life and the writers and editors who followed took the wrong lessons from it. It isn’t about Batman being alone and rough. It’s about Batman repeating his origin in his old age and coming around again to a purity of purpose. If DKR is the repeated origin, Year One and ASBAR are the first go-round at the origin. They both end in the same place: a healthy, happy Batman.

    (A related point can be made about Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and the effect of Watchmen on superheroes. Neither creator pushed grim’n’gritty as the proper approach to heroes, just for their one-off, self-contained stories.)

    I think what you’re missing about my post (and this examination of Batman) is that I’m not saying that I Am Vengeance Batman is the end-all, be-all. It is the beginning of the Batman. With the addition of Robin (on both a meta and an in-text level), Batman lightens up and becomes overall happier, fighting for justice instead of for his parents.

    ASBAR is telling that story. The addition of Robin shows him where his approach to his quest was mistaken. It’s in the subtext of DKR. It’s in the text of ASBAR. Darwyn Cooke did it in New Frontier. Uncountable Bat-comics have done the old “But Batman is the darkness, and Robin has to exist to bring light to him!” Grant Morrison has Dick Grayson shouting “Batman and Robin will never die!” The point of Grant Morrison’s Batman, and Miller’s DKR, is that Bruce Wayne is going to be Batman no matter what. He’s destined to be Batman. It’s too much a part of his identity to suppress or deny.

    Morrison is taking holistic, multiversal approach, where Batman has to exist no matter what. That’s why Dick steps into Bruce’s shoes. That’s why Bruce is tripping through time, and why he had to go and purify himself in the desert. Miller took a simpler one: Bruce is Batman because he has to be Batman.

    Batman is a revenge fantasy. That’s the foundation of it. The addition of Robin, and other characters, so soon after Batman begins (ASBAR is set in Year Two) is what elevates it beyond “my mommy and daddy died and now I have to hurt people.” Robin shows him another way, and that way is heroism for the sake of heroism. ASBAR is telling the middle of a story, pushing a character through a perfectly believable transition.

    And of course Miller’s personal interests are driving the character. So did Denny O’Neil’s, Bill Finger’s, Peter Milligan’s, Doug Moench’s, Alan Grant’s, and Chuck Dixon’s. There is no objective comic book reality, just subjective versions of characters seen through a creator’s lens. O’Neil likes social justice and street-level crime. Milligan likes weird. Dixon is a Guns-n-Ammo guy, so suddenly Batman is talking about “kevlar nomex weaves.” Miller likes heroes who get dirty, so he’s fighting in the mud and grinning all the while. Morrison has a hairy-chested love god. Englehart has his Dark Knight Detective. And so on, and so forth.

    If people are saying that Bruce Wayne is inferior in fandom or whatever… hang out with better fans. Batman is one of the top three greatest (and simplest) hero concepts ever. He’s fascinating. You can’t break the character.


  18. Well, yes, I agree that every writer brings their own ideas to him. But then you start out with “Batman’s story is fundamentally about revenge” and say that that’s not something that can be disagreed with. Where as I see that as one possible interpretation of the simple facts rather than one of the facts. I don’t think “He was wronged and dedicates his life to keeping other people from suffering the same fate” instead of “he was wronged and dedicates his life to get pay back” breaks the character either.


  19. @Dene: I think that the crux of your disagreement is the word “fundamentally,” as if that means that that’s the entire motivation behind Batman’s quest. It isn’t, it’s just the beginning of his quest. The foundation of Batman is “I will avenge my parents.” Every Batman world I’ve ever seen starts with that, or in the case of Elseworlds, a variation thereof. But, that’s just step one in building Batman. From there, people tend to play around with the formula. With the DC/DCAU stuff, step two is the sidekick stuff, and step three is the adjustment of his focus to justice, rather than vengeance. That is what I’m talking about here.

    So, I’m not incorrect when I say “Batman’s story is fundamentally about revenge. He was wronged as a child and dedicates his life to the get-back.” That is how Batman began in the books. That’s the Batman we have. After a certain point, whether due to an in-story reason (Robin shows Batman that vengeance only goes so far) or a real-world reason (Hey, let’s lighten up and sell to kids), the quest becomes about justice.

    Having him be noble from the start wouldn’t break him, no. There’s a fantastic story in Detective Comics 500 where Batman stops the murder of an alternate reality Wayne Family, and that causes young Bruce to study Holmes and crime fighting and possibly grow up to be that world’s first hero. That’s a noble beginning, and a good one. But the Batman we have, the one we’re talking about and the one on TV and in the movies, began because of a desire for revenge, and then adjusted into the hero mode.


  20. Good piece David. Well written. I still have issues with that book and with Miller’s Batman as an adult that I didn’t have when I first read DKR at age 7 (’87 was a good year) and YO at 10 (’90 was a good year too!). I do think people took the wrong lesson from Miller’s Batman and I think later on Morrison’s JLA Batman. My preferred Batman is DCAU, in which he’s always sane and not to crazy at any point. He’s “perfect” Batman.

    I think one reason I don’t like Miller’s Batman is that Miller harms the cores of the other heroes Bruce has to face in his story. DKR superman never rang true to me, it didn’t feel right. I hate what he did to Dick (pause) very much. Because Robin, especially the first is more than just bringing light to Bruce’s crazy dark.


  21. @david brothers: Wow. I think those comments on DKR could’ve made a good “Frank Miller Week” post of their own.

    Hopefully this observation isn’t too off-base, but I think All-Star Batman and Robin may also be about Batman growing up. From what I’ve seen (bits and pieces), ASBAR Batman’s kind of written like an angry kid. He has a basement full of toys and a car he calls the “Batmobile” because it just sounds cool.* He makes fun of his peers and tells people to shut up (or calls them things like “dense” and “retarded”) when he doesn’t like what he has to say. Most importantly, he doesn’t have a clue about helping a young boy cope with the kind of loss he himself never overcame. So perhaps the series is building towards Batman going from the mental maturity of a child to that of a man. What better way to do that than by becoming the father figure both he and Dick Grayson lost?

    Then again, Frank Miller does seem to have plenty of fun writing Batman as an overgrown kid, so who knows :P

    *although Batman did say in DKR that Dick Grayson had named the car the “Batmobile.” Faulty memory, I suppose :wink:


  22. I never thought of applying the idea to his other Bat-works, but Miller pretty much outright said in interviews preceding #1 that ASBAR would be a Grayson-eye view of the world and characters, hence all the gratuitous Jim Lee lady-art etc.


  23. @James: And pretty much everything makes sense under that reading, right? Batman is ridiculous and mean, women are ridiculous-hot, Green Lantern is a goon, a car ride takes 3 issues (“are we there yet?”)…


  24. This is a great piece; I wish I could see the same things you see in this book, but all it does is make me very sad.


  25. @Gokitalo

    I think that I’m the only person in the world who’s always seen Batman as an 8 year old in a thirtysomething year old body. Regardless of continuity. :frown: It’s the reason why I don’t own any Batman comics: I like my heroes to be reasonably adult (barring Power Pack, of course) and all of Batman’s origins lean toward the “arrested development adolescent with money” dynamic. While it does explain Batman’s ability to do the impossible (he’s never learned that anything *was* impossible, which also goes a long way to explain his disdain for powered superheroes), it also renders his character a weeping child (and my first instinct when confronted with a weeping child is to wipe his or her nose, not to embrace the child’s mindset and foster any delusions that have started the waterworks.) And when I see that same person spending billions of dollars to send the criminals who are obsessed with him to the point of mania to cardboard turnstile prisons (while the people who he’s supposed to be protecting die needlessly or enter into lives of crime themselves), it makes each issue look like a senseless farce.

    Yeah, I know that overthinking sucks. Sorry.