Check this out! A new issue of All Star Batman and Robin! That’s right. Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Now, notice the date for when The Revolution posted the review for All-Star Batman and Robin #4. Yup. May 18, 2006. A full ONE YEAR ago!! Here it is May 18, 2007 and I’m doing the review for All Star Batman and Robin #5. What the hell kind of shipping schedule is this? Anyway, let’s go ahead and hit this review for All Star Batman and Robin #5.
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 a smoking hot Wonder Woman walking the streets of Metropolis. She thinks how much she hates men and the world of men. Wonder Woman thinks how Batman is the worst of them all. That he is an outrage and needs to be taken care of. Wonder Woman enters into an abandoned factory where she is meeting with the other members of the newly formed Justice League.
There Wonder Woman meets Superman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan flavor. Accept no substitutes.) and Plastic Man. Superman comments how he told them all from the first moment that Batman was a maniac. That his methods would make them all look like monsters. And that they would all be soiled by him in the public eye. Superman comments that Batman has now kidnapped a little boy. That they have to catch him and turn him over to the authorities.
Hal Jordan says that maybe Batman is trying to help the boy. That they should find Batman and try to talk some sense into him. Then they take a vote. Plastic Man comments that he loves Batman and thinks he makes them look edgier.
Wonder Woman is disgusted by the weak men around her. She dresses down Superman by saying he is an embarrassment that he drops to his knees before these pathetic humans. That they all make her sick with their plans to talk some sense to him. To take a vote. To turn Batman over to the authorities.
Wonder Woman says that all they know what to do is to obey and apologize for what they are. To never show humans their true power. Superman tells Wonder Woman that this is a complex situation and that she doesn’t understand this world. That she is new to it.
Wonder Woman says they should hunt down the Batman like a dog and kill him and deliver his head on a stick to the authorities as their first gift from the Justice League. Then they announce to all the world that they police their own. That if none of them are man enough to do it then she will take care of Batman on her own.
Superman stomps his foot causing an earthquake that knocks down Wonder Woman. Superman snaps and starts yelling “Damn you, Diana!” Superman says this is his world and his people and his rules. That if she commits murder on his land then she will pay for it with her own blood.
Wonder Woman calls Superman a bastard several times. Wonder Woman says that she hates his guts and that he makes her sick. Wonder Woman and Superman then roughly grab each other and start passionately kissing.
Wonder Woman then turns to leave and says that the boys can give it their best shot and then after that it is up to her and all their rules can go straight to hell. As Wonder Woman leaves she says that she hates them all. Superman tells Hal and Plastic Man that Wonder Woman is really a nice girl.
We cut to the Batman laughing like a total loon while running across the top of buildings. He thinks how he loves “being the goddam Batman.” Batman hopes that someone tries to steal the Batmobile and gets themselves electrocuted by the security system. Batman thinks how every inch of him is alive and how tonight is a hunter’s night.
Batman hears a woman cry for help. He descends onto an alley where three men are trying to rape a woman. Batman just brutally and viciously destroys the three thugs. He loves inflicting pain.
Batman tells the woman to go home and don’t bother calling the police since they are worse than useless. Batman tells her not to call an ambulance since he wants these thugs to suffer pain that’ll last a lifetime. Batman then takes off on his cable gun. The woman tells the Batman “I love you.” Batman thinks to himself that nobody loves anybody. They just survive.
Batman takes off running across the rooftops as a storm brews and it starts raining and lightning. Batman thinks how cool it is that it is storming out. That it is a perfect night.
We cut to Alfred working out on a heavy bad. Alfred thinks how even as a toddler, Bruce has something dark and wild behind his eyes. That he was always an adventurer and would always bang himself up playing in the woods by the manor. That Bruce’s mother, Martha, would always get upset and worry about Bruce hurting himself.
Alfred thinks how Martha never knew her son. Not until the last split-second of her life. That after she and Thomas were shot that Martha took one last look into the eyes of her only son and saw him become a demon. Alfred thinks how his demon, his black-eyed, brilliant willful angel and grown to manhood. And how Bruce has now chosen a protégé in Dick Grayson. Alfred prays that Dick survives this and that Bruce has not gone mad.
We shift to Dick in the Batcave enjoying some rats with some linguini and red sauce along with a nice Chianti. No, actually, we see Dick looking in amazement at all the cool medieval and modern day weapons loaded up in the Batcave. Dick picks up a large battle axe and says “Cool.” End of issue.
The Good: I liked All Star Batman and Robin. I thought this issue was a blast to read. Look, I know a lot of fans have ripped Frank Miller for some of his dialogue and characterization of the Batman on this title. However, I have refrained from going down that path. It is Frank Miller for god’s sake! You pretty much know what you are going to get when you purchase a Frank Miller comic book. It is like going to see the movie 300 and complaining that the dialogue and character development wasn’t so great and that it didn’t have an intricate plotline. It doesn’t need any of that. All I want from 300 is to watch a bunch of bad-ass Spartans kicking tons of Persian ass.
And that is pretty much the view and outlook I have adopted for All Star Batman. I know the dialogue is going to be heavy handed and overly dramatic. I know that the characterizations are going to be totally over the top. Since I know that going in I can accept it for what it is. Is this the best written comic book on the market? No. Not even close. However, it is extremely entertaining.
Frank Miller continues to give us one of the most anti-social and twisted versions of Batman that you will ever see. And I love it. Miller’s Batman is insane. Plain and simple. Miller’s Batman is the embodiment of unbridled anger and violence. I totally dig that Miller’s Batman doesn’t trust or love anyone. Batman is only in it for the thrill and the rush that he gets from brutally beating down criminals.
Miller does a great job capturing the rush and excitement that Batman gets from “the hunt.” This Batman is the ultimate thrill seeker. I like that Miller uses the scene with Alfred to establish the fact that Bruce was always an adventurous child. That he had something dark in his eyes and had no fear of injuring himself. This is a cool way to show that naturally Bruce was an adventurous and fearless child. That the deaths of his parents simply took his naturally fearless and thrill seeking mentality and forged it into an instrument of violence and vengeance.
Miller does a great job showing the close relationship that Alfred has with Bruce and how Alfred dearly loves Bruce as if he were his own son. The line where Alfred calls Bruce his “black-eyed, brilliant willful angel” was perfect. Alfred clearly is proud of the man that Bruce has become.
The scene with Batman taking down the rapists was great. Miller gives us a raw and unfiltered Batman. Batman loves to cause pain. Batman is a total sadist. He wants to brutally damage these criminals in a way that they will never properly heal for the rest of their lives. This is a brilliant way to show how sick the Batman truly is. Causing permanent and chronic physical incapacities and pain on a person is much more demented and twisted then just outright killing the person.
Watching Batman pound away on the one thug till the thug is a bloody mess was great. Miller has a wonderful sense of violence. And to end it with the victim telling Batman she loved him was classic. Batman leaves without saying anything and simply thinks to himself that nobody loves anyone.
It makes perfect sense that Batman would be incapable of loving anyone. He is a cynical creature who only sees the evil in everyone around him. Batman is too consumed with hate and vengeance to see anything positive or good in the world.
Also, it makes sense that Batman would be sadistic and truly relish causing horrible physical pain and damage to criminals. Seeing your parents gunned down in front of you as a small boy would permanently fuck up almost anyone. I honestly find Miller’s version of Batman to be a more realistic interpretation of the type of hero Bruce would turn out to be.
Plus, it is important for Batman to remain anti-social and violent. Batman has no super powers. When characters have no super powers then they must either possess an incredible intellect like Mr. Terrific or then have to be one serious bad-ass like the Punisher. Otherwise, they come off as useless around the other super powered characters they interact with.
Batman’s violent ass-kicking nature, anti-social attitude and intimidation factor is all he has. Without that, he is just some powerless dork running around in a goofy costume with a utility belt. Pretty much the version of Batman from the TV series.
And I thought it was funny that Miller made a point of having Batman say that he “loves being the goddamn Batman.” I don’t know if this issue was written before all the criticism fans poured on Miller for the line “I’m the goddamn Batman.” But, if it wasn’t then it seems like Miller is tweaking the fans with this line. And I have no problem with a writer having a poke at the fans.
I completely dig the way that Miller handled Wonder Woman’s character. This is exactly how I think Wonder Woman would realistically act upon first arriving to our world. First, she is royalty. And we know how high and mighty regular humans who are royalty act. Second, she is an Amazon. That automatically means that she isn’t going to respect or like men.
Combine those two factors and it makes complete sense that someone who is Amazon royalty would view men as pathetic scum and the world run by men as disgusting and incompetent. Wonder Woman should have a serious ego and view herself superior to regular humans.
And I liked how Wonder Woman cannot understand why an alien as powerful as Superman would be subservient to humans and the rules and laws of humans. This was a nice contrast between these two characters. That the fact that Superman, despite not being human, will always have a fond feeling for humans since he was raised by humans and lived his life as a human.
I like the way that Miller portrayed the beginning of the Justice League. It doesn’t make much sense to think that these various super heroes just naturally came together, formed a super team and immediately got along with each other. They are all such different characters from such different backgrounds. It makes sense that initially they would not get along at all with each other. And I have always liked the smart-ass Plastic Man so his addition to the scene was much appreciated.
Miller did a nice job stressing the differences between Batman and the other members of the Justice League. It totally makes sense that the other members of the Justice League would completely hate and despise Batman. Batman is an asshole. And he is violent and sick in the head on top of it all. That is probably not the type of teammate that you would want on your team. And it is definitely not the kind of person that you would want to be friends with.
And of course, you know if Miller is writing Batman then Superman probably won’t be cast in the most positive light. Miller shows the differences in these two characters as Superman denounces Batman’s actions and comments how Batman will bring all super heroes into a negative light with the public.
Miller clearly is a Batman fan and certainly doesn’t seem to be much of a Superman fan. In Batman, Miller sees the human spirit and the ability to defy the odds through heart and passion. In Superman, Miller sees “the system” that seeks to subjugate the average man. Superman is the evil empire and Batman is the rebellion.
The obvious question is if Miller is going to give us another Superman versus Batman showdown. I don’t think so. It has already been done in the two Darknight graphic novels so I would hope that Miller avoids re-hashing that theme once again.
The ending to All Star Batman and Robin #5 was solid, but nothing great that hooks you into coming back for the next issue. Miller does show us that Dick Grayson is definitely strong enough mentally to handle being the Batman’s protégé. And that Dick has plenty of the same adventurous spirit in him like Bruce did when he was Dick’s age.
Jim Lee’s artwork is sweet. I’ve always liked Lee’s style of art. Lee creates a visually vibrant and pleasing comic book. I love Lee’s Wonder Woman. Just perfect. This is how she should always be drawn. I also dig Lee’s Batman. I like that Lee gives Batman some stubble. Batman is simply to busy kicking ass to do things like shave!
The Bad: All Star Batman and Robin #5 doesn’t really advance a single plotline. Honestly, not much happens in this issue. It read a bit like a filler issue. And that isn’t good when it is about a year between issues.
And that leads me to my other complaint. The shipping schedule for this title has to be remedied. Period. To go a year between issues is absolutely inexcusable and totally ludicrous. I don’t know if Lee is to blame, if Miller is to blame or if it is a combination of both of them. The solution to this dilemma is simple. DC needs to either cancel the title or replace the creative team with a writer and artist who are capable of maintaining a consistent shipping schedule.
Overall: All Star Batman and Robin #5 was a fun read. Again, it is what it is. If you are cool with Miller’s over the top writing style then you should enjoy this issue. You definitely get an interesting take on Wonder Woman and the formation of the original Justice League. Plus, there is plenty of great action and nice artwork. I guess we can look forward to the next issue of All Star Batman and Robin some time next year.