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All-Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder, Vol. 1 Hardcover – July 8, 2008

3.2 out of 5 stars 198 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Miller, the man who kicked off the grim and gritty era of superhero comics with the 1986 Batman tale The Dark Knight Returns, returns to write the iconic character once again in a series that takes the tropes of superhero excess and explodes them into satire. Miller casts Batman as an obsessive lunatic who enlists traumatized children into his war on crime, calls himself the goddamn Batman and is prone to cackling maniacally. Sex and violence are constant preoccupations, but even during sex scenes, Miller can hardly keep a straight face. After a shared rampage against corrupt cops that includes the interjection, Eat glass, lawman! Batman and heroine Black Canary celebrate with an intimate encounter on a burning pier during a lightning storm. Although the bombastic, repetitive narration and decompressed storytelling (two and a half issues pass before Batman and Robin leave the Batmobile) often borders on hilarious, Miller aims for more obvious jokes later in the series. It's an over the top in-joke for the superhero crowd, though its irreverence may not have the most zealous and serious superhero fans laughing. (June)
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From Booklist

Miller returns to the character he so audaciously reinterpreted in the groundbreaking The Dark Knight Returns (1987). His Batman is again a genuinely nasty, borderline-psychotic piece of work; here, however, Miller mitigates the character’s vicious sadism through the use of thought-captions revealing unspoken reservations about the course his war against crime has taken. Set in the early years of Batman’s career, the tale sees him groom 12-year-old aerialist Dick Grayson as a sidekick after the senior Flying Graysons are murdered. Once Robin’s on board, the story line meanders, growing ever more extreme and skirting silliness as Miller introduces his irreverent versions of Superman, Wonder Woman, and other Justice Leaguers. This time out, drawing duties are assumed by Jim Lee, whose admittedly gorgeous but ultimately shallow approach substitutes overrendered flash for the thoughtful economy and innovative storytelling techniques Miller used in Dark Knight. Controversial among fans and not nearly as artistically successful as its companion, Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman, Miller’s new Batman still has been DC’s top seller of late, guaranteeing this compilation an eager audience. --Gordon Flagg
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Product Details

  • Series: All-Star Batman & Robin
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401216811
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401216818
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"All-Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder, Vol. 1"
Written by Frank Miller
Illustrated by Jim Lee, et al
(DC Comics, 2009)
---------------------------------------------------------
I was really looking forward to reading this book, and greatly disappointed by the contents. In another Amazon review, I saw someone describe Frank Miller's world view as "fascistic," which I thought was pretty harsh and name-cally, but after reading this book, I may be forced to agree. This book was unbelievably vapid and aggressively devoted to the mindless adoration of violence for its own sake. Many DC characters were shown behaving completely out of character -- Batman is a deranged, uncommunicative, unfocussed sadist; Wonder Woman appears as a grouchy, violent, foulmouthed, kill-'em-all-let-Athena-sort-'em-out man-hater; Superman and Green Lantern both appear as dim-bulb Boy Scouts, and GL in particular is depicted as a total tool, while Black Canary is a violence-addicted, thrill-seeking bimbette. And the entire Gotham police force is comprised of monstrous criminals who respond to a child's parents getting murdered (Robin's) by grabbing the kid and taking him off into the woods so they can beat and rape him. Riiiiiiight. That makes sense... why? It doesn't. None of it does, it's just there because it's violent, mean-spirited and moronic.

In general, this whole retconning of the Batman world seems designed for one purpose alone, and that is for Miller and Lee to be able to graphically depict teeth being knocked out of people's bloody gums. Wow. How groovy. Oh, yeah - and to show a lot of gratuitous T&A: the first five pages of the book are devoted to several softcore spreads of reporter Vicki Vale cavorting about in lingerie; similar sequences appear throughout.
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If I could give the artwork it's own score, I'd give it 5 stars. Jim Lee is amazing. His Batman artwork is so fantastic; ever since "Hush", every other Batman artwork seems life-less compared to his.
That being said, if I could give the WRITING a lesser score than 1 star, I would. To make it sound like Frank Millar's idea of Batman, "This Godd*amn book was such a Godd*mn embarrassment that Bob Kane is rolling over in his Godd*mn grave at how Godd*mn horrible the writing of this Godd*mn collection of stories was". If I had a least-favorite Batman story line, it would be this one. The characters are written poorly; Batman is written as more crazy than the Joker; Superman is written as a joke... Seriously, George Lucas and Frank Millar should compare notes on how to take a fan-favorite franchise and drive it off a cliff... Pathetic.
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Format: Paperback
If All-Star Batman & Robin had been my introduction to the characters, I never would have read another Batman comic. This is, without a doubt, the worst characterization of Batman I've ever read, and I'm speaking as someone who has read Andrew Vacchs' Batman: The Ultimate Evil. Miller's portrayal of the character as psychotic, self-indulgent, crass, and amoral flies in the face of 70+ years of development.

Frank Miller was once an excellent comics writer. His runs on Daredevil in the '80s, his Wolverine mini-series, and his seminal The Dark Knight Returns combined extraordinary line work with innovative storytelling, ushering in the new, grim, and "adult" era of superhero comics. But his recent work, reaching what seems like a nadir with All-Star Batman & Robin has been increasingly a portrayal of adolescent revenge fantasy peppered with misogyny and crudity, lacking any of the sophistication and intelligence of his earlier work. The final four pages of alleged redemption rang so false and contrived after the previous 200+ pages of self-absorption and cruelty that I literally scoffed out loud. Batman's treatment of Dick Grayson as a "soldier" makes R. Lee Ermey's drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket look like a Cub Scout den mother. The last time I checked the long boxes, Batman wasn't a sadist. Nor did he speak like an unhinged offensive coach for an NFL all-felon expansion team. This comic can be offered as a reply to anyone looking for the antonym of "subtle."

Jim Lee shouldn't be left off the hook here. While he can sketch a dynamic page and deliver quality action scenes, he also has never met a crotch shot he didn't like. The Black Canary, Catwoman, and even Batgirl are drawn in poses that can only be described as lascivious.
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Format: Paperback
I completely and utterly disapprove of the way Millar portrays Batman. He comes off as a raving lunatic and has spouts cheesy Spiderman-like lines as he beats up bad guys. I sometimes got confused and thought that it was Wolverine in a Batman suit, with all the "bub," "kiddo," and "snot-nosed punk" dialogue. I'm pretty sure that he or somebody else says "Shut up!" like 900 times in the 200 or so pages that the story takes to unfold. And nothing really does unfold at that. This is mainly the reinventing of the story of the Boy Wonder's recruitment into the Bat family and it starts with Batman kidnapping and psychologically torturing Grayson after the hit on his parents. Miller's Batman is a disgusting, unlikable brute with none of the detective skills or sense of morality that separates the Dark Knight from a street thug. Maybe that's what he was going for, but I found it dispiriting and utterly unheroic. By the end, I found myself in complete agreement with Clark that Batman had to be stopped and that he was more dangerous than some of the criminals on the street. He laughs like a lunatic as he springs into action, takes joy in how many bones he's broken over the course of the evening and says things like, "I love being the goddamn Batman." Maybe that works for the Punisher, but I like my Bruce Wayne to stick a little closer to the light side of the gray line.
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