The Revolution has enjoyed Miller’s All Star Batman and Robin. To be sure, this title is not for everyone. Miller’s style of writing is sure to rub many readers the wrong way. However, I have no problems with Miller’s hard boiled dialogue. Now, I would not want to make a steady diet of what Miller gives us in All Star Batman, but it is definitely a nice change of pace from the usual writing that we get in all the other DC and Marvel comic books on the market. I am confident that Miller will deliver another outrageous and entertaining issue with All Star Batman and Robin #10.
Writer: Frank Miller
Penciler: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Jim Gordon hanging out in an abandoned area of the Gotham docks. We see a crazy homeless woman talking about washing clean all the sin. Jim talks about how Lois Lane is going to win a Pulitzer for her interviews with Superman.
Jim muses how Metropolis gets an extrovert like Superman who talks about his life, his parents, his dead home planet and even his Fortress of Solitude. Jim contrasts Superman with the Batman who Jim has to deal with. Jim states that it is like pulling teeth off a pissed off shark trying to get the Batman to talk.
Jim says how everyone has their own personal Fortress of Solitude where they can go to keep sane. For Jim, he prefers this abandoned section of the docks where it is just him and his thoughts. Jim mentions how this section of Gotham’s docks reminds him of an abandoned area in Chicago that Jim used to go to as a young police officer just to be alone with his thoughts.
Jim then says that a young police officer came across Catwoman who was badly injured. Catwoman handed the police officer a piece of cardboard with a note on it written in blood. Catwoman told the police officer to give the note to Batman. Catwoman then disappeared into the shadows.
Jim says that the note makes no sense. Jim drops it into the water. Jim says that the note is just one lunatic in tights writing to another. That the note is not worth Jim’s time or a nickel of taxpayer’s money. That it is not worth a damn to anybody.
Gordon walks back to his squad car and thinks how the goddman Batman did not even bother to say “Thanks” because that would not be grim and gritty. Jim calls Batman a jerk.
A patrolman at the squad car tells Jim that his wife, Barbara, is on the line and that she sounds drunk. Jim talks to his wife and asks if she has been drinking. Barbara suddenly hangs up on Gordon. Jim thinks how nothing has been the same since Sara. Sweet Sara.
We cut to Batman and Robin entering the sewer system. Batman thinks how time means nothing and that a six year old boy screams at the sound of his mother’s brain getting splattered by a bullet. How twenty years later that boy still screams. That he will never stop screaming.
Batman thinks how Robin is a real dynamo and is pulling off acrobatic stunts that Batman never tried to do until he was a full year older than Robin. That Robin has hands like bullets and that Robin nearly killed a good man (Hal Jordan) at Batman’s bidding.
Batman and Robin then hitch a ride on a subway train. We then see Batman and Robin arriving at a part of the sewer system that Batman used as his first Batcave. Batman says that Selina’s note say “The first time.” Batman immediately knew what and where Catwoman meant.
We see Batman rushing to the side of a badly beaten Catwoman. Batman thinks how this was his first Batcave where he lived on rats (Again with the rats.) in order to prove that he did not need Wayne’s billions. Batman says that night he and Selina made a mess of things. A sweaty, dirty, glorious mess.
Catwoman stammers “Juh…Juh…It was Juh…” Batman tells Catwoman “Don’t talk, baby. You’re safe.” Batman thinks how he swears on his life that Selina will make it. Batman thinks how he wants to say more. That he wants to say words that he has never said to anyone.
Batman thinks how Catwoman is soft, light and perfect. Batman thinks how he always forgets how small she is. Robin then calls Alfred and tells him to bring the chopper to their location immediately.
We shift to a glitzy arcade where drug dealers openly ply their trade. We see Batgirl on the scene and beating the crap out of the drug dealers. Batgirl tells the drug dealers that this arcade belongs to the fucking Batgirl. Batgirl then lets the crowd at the arcade proceed to beat the hell out of the drug dealers.
We cut to Black Canary viciously taking out a bunch of internet snuff film producers. Black Canary fancies herself a modern day Robin Hood as she takes all the money from the snuff film producers. Black Canary then realizes that she is also going to need her own version of the Merry Men in order to keep her from over-extending herself in her one-woman war on drug dealers and pimps.
Black Canary lights the warehouse on fire and hopes that all the snuff film producers roast in Hell. Black Canary decides to give Maeve, Lisa and Ruth in order to form her own version of the Merry Men.
We slide over to Jim Gordon arriving at the location where Barbara wrecked her car. The officers already on the scene tell Jim that there is a massive amount of blood spilled in the car which suggests that Barbara suffered a head contusion. One of the officers tells Gordon that they found Barbara wandering around not that far from the scene of the accident. Barbara is now in an ambulance and headed to the hospital.
We cut to Gordon arriving at the emergency room where his wife is being treated. The doctor tells Jim that they have his wife in stable condition at the moment, but her condition is advanced and with her blood levels Barbara is lucky to be breathing.
A police officer enters the room and tells Gordon that his daughter is on the phone. Gordon snaps for the officer to tell his daughter that he will call her back and for the officer to leave. The doctor continues that Barbara needs to be placed in detox. That it is a voluntary procedure and that Jim has to talk with his wife and convince her to do it. The doctor says that detox is just the first step and that both Gordon and his wife have a long road ahead of them.
The doctor then says that Barbara should be conscious enough to talk in two hours. Gordon then orders for the police officer to come back and tell him about his daughter’s call.
We then slide over to the police station with Gordon meeting with his daughter. Batgirl has been charged with assault, battery, destruction of public property and inciting a riot. Batgirl tells her father that he should not use his badge to get her out of this. That her father has never done anything to tarnish his badge and has worked hard to do that. Gordon thinks how he wishes that were true. Gordon thinks that there is no need for his daughter to know about Chicago. That the bodies are buried and the past is a bucket of ashes.
Batgirl says that she will take whatever sentence that the judge gives her. Batgirl says that she is taking full blame for everything. That she dressed up like the Batman because the Batman she wanted to. That blaming the Batman is bullshit.
Gordon then tells Batgirl about her mother. Batgirl tells her dad that he should call Sara. That it will help him to do so.
After one long and lonely walk to the hospital, we see Gordon sitting in a waiting room. Gordon thinks how he has no idea how his daughter knew about Sara. Gordon thinks how he could go crazy trying to match wits with his fifteen-year old daughter. Gordon thinks how calling Sara is the wrong thing to do. How calling Sara is the only thing to do. Gordon calls Sara.
Jim then thinks “There is one person that I’d love to talk to. To tell all my problems to. One person. A man. But I scarcely know him. And he’s miles from here. And I’m not even supposed to know his real name.”
Jim then lets him fall into the sound of Sara’s voice. Jim knows that he will be strong enough and wise enough to handle things. Jim thinks how everything is going to be all right. End of issue.
The Good: All Star Batman and Robin #10 was another enjoyable read. Of course, I must point out that I have always been a fan of Frank Miller. However, that does not mean that I always enjoy what Miller gives us. But, in general I dig Miller’s distinctive style of writing. And I understand that Miller’s distinctive style is not for everyone.
All Star Batman and Robin #10 moves along at a controlled pace. Miller does not perform much plot progression at all in this issue. Instead, Miller uses this issue to carry out an interesting character study on Jim Gordon.
Miller cranks out plenty of strong dialogue and narration all delivered in the pulp fiction style that Miller is known for. I love it. I know that many people may not like the pulp style narration and descriptions, but I think it is a great change of pace from the dull and dry narration that we get in other comic books.
I dig that Miller’s dialogue and narration is delivered in the same fashion as his action. Miller’s narration is written in short and direct sentences that jab at the reader like fast punches. The amount of description that Miller layers into his narration engages all of the reader’s senses. We can actually smell the odors of Gotham and feel the dirty grittiness of the city.
The best part of Batgirl’s character is how she makes a mistake with the crowd at the arcade and then is easily taken down. This is Miller showing to the reader that the Batman may be imitated, but that he cannot be duplicated. It takes a lot more than a fearless attitude and a costume to do what the Batman does on a nightly basis. This made Batgirl’s character that much more realistic and interesting.
I also dig that Miller has Batgirl tell her father that she does not want any special treatment because being his daughter. Miller impresses upon the reader that Batgirl is willing to accept the consequences of her own actions. This immediately makes Batgirl a character that the reader has respect for.
Miller continues to impress me with his character work on Batman. Miller takes a cue from the latest James Bond movie when handling this young version of Batman early in his career. I dig that we get to see a much more visceral and emotional Batman.
I like the roughness around Batman’s edges and the raw anger that Batman struggles with. It is completely believable that Batman would be more like this unstable and reckless goddman Batman in the early part of his career before he is able to refine his skills and become the world’s greatest detective who is passionless and always in control of his emotions.
Miller does a fine job tapping into the core pain and anger that is the basis for Batman’s existence. Miller makes it a point to expose the fact that Batman is simply a product of a scarred childhood. I like that the reader is reminded that the emotional trauma of seeing his parents murdered is something that rages inside of Batman with the same intensity and power as it did the night the murder happened. Miller understands that Batman is practically as insane as the villains that he combats.
This is as human and compassionate as we have seen the goddamn Batman up to this point. This was a wise move by Miller to show that the Batman is more than just a raving lunatic in tights. It is important that Miller give a bit of depth and range to Batman’s personality outside of the goddamn Batman persona.
While Miller’s work on Batman was enjoyable, the real star of All Star Batman and Robin #10 is Jim Gordon. Miller delves deeply into Gordon’s soul and allows the reader a rather an unfiltered look into Jim’s thoughts. I have always liked Jim Gordon, but I have felt that too often writers discount his character and deliver a one-dimensional and traditional take on Gordon’s character.
That is not the case with Miller in this issue. Miller fleshes out Gordon’s character and in the process Miller adds some drama and mystery to Gordon’s history. I enjoyed all the references to Gordon as a young police officer in Chicago. I liked the cryptic statement that Gordon did some bad things in Chicago that he is not proud of. Despite the fact that Jim is a good man and a good cop, he is not perfect. And it makes Jim that much more intriguing to know that he is hiding some dark secrets.
Miller makes sure that there is plenty of tension between Jim and Batman at this point in their relationship. At this stage of their careers, Batman has very little regard for Gotham police officers and Gordon clearly has very little regard for the costumed crazies running around Gotham.
I enjoyed how Miller contrasted the fractured and sad relationship between Jim and his wife, Barbara and the solace and serenity that Jim finds in Sara Essen, a fellow officer who Jim had an affair with and later married.
This led up to a powerful ending with Gordon on the phone with Sara, but realizing that there was someone else he would rather talk to: The Batman. This was a great touch by Miller. At first I was surprised by this admission by Gordon. But, after it sunk it this made perfect sense.
Even at this point in their relationship there is an unspoken bond between Gordon and Batman. This is the moment where Gordon realizes the deep connection that exists between him and Batman. That out of all the people in his life that the Batman is the only other person who would understand the pressures and demons that plague Gordon’s mind. It is similar to how brothers-in-arms can only talk to each other about the horrors and pressures that they have experienced in war.
Jim Lee’s artwork in All Star Batman and Robin #10 is simply gorgeous. Lee draws one seriously bad-assed looking Batman. Lee’s Catwoman looks fantastic. This is the best Catwoman has looked in a very long time. I have never been cool with her current look with the stupid goofy looking goggles and combat boots. Lee creates a beautiful issue that brings Miller’s story to life in a dramatic and vivid fashion.
The Bad: All Star Batman and Robin #10 will not appeal to everyone. You have to enjoy Miller’s hard boiled narrative in order to really get into this issue. All Star Batman and Robin #10 is also not for more sensitive readers who do not enjoy salty language in their comic books.
The pacing on All Star Batman and Robin continues to be an issue. This is one slow moving story. At no point is Miller moving the story along with a sense of urgency. The irregular shipping schedule of this title has also hurt the pacing and made this story seem even slower than it really is.
The plotting on All Star Batman and Robin #10 is a bit suspect. We are ten issues into this title and not much has happened. It is obvious that this title is not a plot driven story. It is clear that Miller is more intent on bringing us a character driven story. It seems that Miller is more interested in examining the “soul” of Gotham City as well as the psychology of the various characters and who they relate to each other rather than creating multiple plotlines and advancing them in a logical fashion.
For readers who prefer traditional plot driven comic books, the lack of any clear plotlines progressing in an orderly manner will be certain to turn them off from All Star Batman and Robin.
Overall: All Star Batman and Robin #10 was another good read. I dig Miller’s raw and brash take on the Batman and his cast of supporting characters. Miller’s Gotham City is so vibrant that it practically becomes the main star of this title. If you are okay with Miller’s pulp fiction style of writing then you will certainly enjoy this title.
All Star Batman is the bloody red steak and beer alternative to the grilled fish and tofu offerings that you get with the rest of the Marvel and DC titles on the market. All Star Batman is an in your face shot of testosterone that provides for a wild and raucous ride.
Readers who are looking for something different than what you get on most comic books on the market will probably enjoy All Star Batman and Robin #10. However, readers who prefer the more traditional detective version of Batman would be better served to purchase Dini’s Detective Comics.