Saturday, December 01, 2007

All Star Batman & Robin #8 (1/5)

All Star Batman & Robin #8 (1/5)

This review should be unnecessary. This kind of piss-poor writing and snail paced plot should be dismissed and choked to death with lack of sales. Except that the name Frank Miller is on the cover, which for some people is the mark of quality no matter what. After all this is the man who's comics are turned into box office money and one of the few names non-comic book readers actually recognize. So when his name is on the cover people give him the benefit of the doubt, far too much benefit and far too little doubt.

I'm not a Frank Miller hater by any means. I think he's got a great sense of pulp and I even enjoyed The Dark Knight Strikes Again which was a hilarious send up of the Bush administration. Most people defend All Star Batman & Robin by saying it's a parody of DC comics and shouldn't be taken seriously. I'm all for poking fun at comic book conventions but there's not much that's actually funny. Thanks to Miller's lazy writing most issues have focused on a superhero from the DC showing up briefly but not doing anything to further the plot. In this issue it's Hal Jordan's Green Lantern and the "gag" is he's dumb. The entire scene consists of a rooftop exchange between Hal and Batman. Hal is eating a hot dog (hilarious!) and he's unable to find Batman hiding in the shadows for the first half of the conversation (what a Laruel and Hardy combo!). Batman then calls him a "moron" about fifty times and tells him they'll meet later. In eight issues there has been an issue and a half worth of plot (and this is being generous). The pointless cameos have ground this series to a halt.

If anything All Star Batman & Robin is a parody of Miller's writing style. The over the top violence and "grit" lose all meaning because it's so absurd, and when you start making fun of yourself without realizing it readers are going to look over past work and wonder if they stand up as well as they once thought. The Joker is portrayed as a date raping serial killer. The psychopath Joker characterization too often leads to striping the character of any of his defining personality. Where are the twisted punch lines and tortured logic that's his m.o.? All Miller did was make a generic sociopath and give him white skin and green hair. This is the kind of thing a Frank Miller wannabe does, not the original.

I remember reading that Miller said this series was supposed to be a prequel to his classic The Dark Knight Returns, but I don't get that feeling anywhere. The first sign of of a connection is that the weird shirtless Nazi woman with swastikas painted on her chest makes a brief cameo. So if there are any fans of that flash in the pan Frank Miller creation feel free to pick up this issue but for anyone else stop inflating this man's ego.

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