Friday, May 11, 2007

All-Star Batman and Robin: the Cliffs Notes Version

Next Wednesday is an exciting and monumental occasion. It is the day that All-Star Batman and Robin #5 finally drops. It's the comic that you love to hate. It will be a great day for comic bloggers everywhere.

Now, the last issue of the jaw-droppingly terrible series came out almost a year ago. Well before I started this blog. I don't want anyone's enjoyment of the upcoming issue to be diminished by the fact that they can't remember what the series is about in the first place, so I am doing everyone a favour. I am going to outline the key plot points of the first four issues, just so we're all up to speed. It's a very intricate and challenging plot to follow, so pay attention:

Issue 1

- Vicky Vale walks around in her underwear and eventually puts on a dress that is somehow more revealing than her underwear for her date with Bruce Wayne. (She is having a date with Bruce Wayne...this is repeated several times in case we can't follow).

- She has a date with Bruce Wayne. They go to the circus where Bruce reveals that he has had his eye on a young boy for some time (young Dick Grayson of the flying Graysons. SPOILER - he's going to be Robin).

- Dick's parents get shot in the head in the middle of the ring. Bruce changes into Batman and grows about an inch of stubble.

- Dick gets escorted out of the circus tent by some comically evil police officers. Vicky tries to stop them and gets her mouth smacked. She then pushes Alfred out of the way and highjacks the Wayne Rolls Royce to hunt chase down the police/Dick. She ends up getting shot, or hit with the Batmobile, or something.

- The cops are about to rough up Robin...because they are evil...when Batman shows up. He grabs poor Dick by the collar and tells him he's just been drafted into a war. Because Batman is also evil. He gasses Dick and literally throws the poor boy into the Batmobile and drives off.

Issue 2

- Vicky Vale has been wounded, and Alfred has torn off his shirt to use as bandages. Vicky regains consciousness and remembers everything, including the fact that the Graysons were murdered "Brutally. Brutally. It was brutal." Weird, overly-sexual Vicky/Alfred posturing ensues.

- While driving back to Wayne Manor, Batman calls Dick "retarded" and refers to himself as "the Goddamn Batman" (Goddamn Batman action figure comes with everything you see here...dead police officers sold separately). He then kills a bunch of cops who are following them, and turns the car into a Batplane. Robin wants to throw up, Batman does not allow it. Robin starts to cry, because his parents were just killed and everything, and Batman smacks him across the face. Batman has a quiet moment of reflection, wondering if maybe what he's doing is wrong. He decides that it isn't. Robin questions the killing of cops, and Batman calls him a little snot.

Issue 3

- Someone who looks and dresses like Black Canary, but who I really hope isn't Black Canary, works in a bar. Then she beats up and/or kills everyone in the bar and jumps on a motorcycle.

- Batman and Dick are still heading for Wayne Manor, now flying. This should really get them there faster. He turns the plane into a submarine, and Robin calls the word Batmobile "queer."

- 15 hours ago in Metropolis(??!!)...Clark Kent crushes a milk carton with Dick's face on it and gets a newspaper slid under his door. The cover story is about Batman kidnapping Dick. Clark burns the paper with his eyes and says "Damn!"

Issue 4

- Vicky Vale dies or something.

- Still en route to Wayne Manor, Dick wonders when they are going to get there, and remarks that it feels like he's been in the vehicle for days. I guess that's a joke. They finally arrive at a Batcave so spectacular, it can only be contained in a six-page fold-out. Batman wants Dick to acknowledge how "cool" the cave is. Dick thinks it's alright. He also tells us that Batman pipes classical music into the cave.

- Batman takes a moment to reflect on how much smarter than Superman he is.

- Dick asks if he can get some new clothes because he's "all sweaty and dirty and I've still got Mom and Dad's blood and stuff all over me." Batman thinks about it, and agrees to get him some clothes. But then he doesn't, and instead leaves Dick alone in the cave for the night. Dick is hungry, and Batman more or less tells him to eat a rat.

- Meanwhile, Superman is bringing a doctor over from France at Batman's request to help save Vicky's life. He's actually running on water, carrying a car. Saying "Damn."

- Alfred serves Dick a cheeseburger and fries. Batman is angry with Alfred, saying that the boy should be forced to eat rats or something. In his head, he calls Dick a brat for the hundredth time in this series.

So, there you go. You're all up-to-date on this masterpiece. I can't frigging wait for Wednesday.


Tiina said...

I can believe I have to look at that ridiculous image of Wonder Woman's bum all day on Wednesday.

Poor Wonder Woman. Poor us.

Anonymous said...

CanI read my copy in the store and then flush it down the toilet please?


Anonymous said...

I have to theories on the series-

1.) It could be seen as a prequel to Dick Grayson becoming the Joker in DKR2 which

2.) Like this series is probably making fun of its readers. I mean, doesn't Batman have a code against killing? Isn't that kinda what makes him Batman? Is Miller making fun of the 90's.

Its so difficult to read! Batman's such an ass here!


Derek said...

*chuckles at the previous comment*

Gigglepuss is not amused.

... tee hee hee...

Ben said...

You forgot to mention that Batman is building a giant robot dinosaur in his cave. It's not a souvenir, or a gift, it's his own prject, like a model or a wodd-burning kit.

It's what makes him human . . .

Johnathan said...

If it is an elaborate joke then Miller should have clued everyone in a while ago.

Me, I think that he's lost it - this is like every symptom of Bad Batman Writing (BBW) times one hundred.

Caleb said...

I actually totally love this series. And your Cliffs Notes version explains exactly why. "And that Batman turns the Batmobile into a Batplane." Yes! "Superman is running on water, carryng a car." Yes!

I can't wait for Wednesday!

Anonymous said...

Miller did *kinda* clue us in in the interviews he did with Will Eisner in Eisner/Miller. I think he said something about how he likes to irritate the hardcore Batman fans who don't want thier character changed. Or something to that extent.
-The Gigglepuss

rachelle said...

Well, mission accomplished, I guess.

Toug said...

I can't or the life of me figure out why I stopped reading this after issue #1.

Clearly I'm retarded or something.

Anonymous said...

It is *kind of* a cool idea I think. The devotion to these 40-60 year old characters is a little absurd, at times, and Miller's trying to get a commentary on that. They way we ignore/hate Carnage, wring thier hands at Civil War and the outcome of minor character, Miller is making fun of this idea by destroying the character he helped popularize. The most famous Batman writer is destroying the character with the most respected mainstream artist at hand. If the schedule was better the experiment would *work* better. Also putting this as part of a big new world, complete with the All-Star logo may have been a bit of an error.

Heck, if anything else, its interesting and experimental. Which is better than too much of the Ultimates line, or most mainstream comics actually.

What else could a cover of Wonder Woman's bum be anything *but* a joke?

Shawn said...

I'm reminded of Miller's final words on the documentary from the Daredevil DVD: "I got into comics because I wanted to make them more like movies - I remain in comics now because I want to make them less like movies."

Looking back, I could see that mission statement in Dark Knight Strikes Again. All-star Batman? Not so much.

Maybe it's just as well he's not involved in the Daredevil: End of Days mini...

Robert said...

Your summary was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. I particularly liked how Batman paused to reflect on how he's much smarter than Superman. I'll remember that for a long time.

jake! said...

Ahhh, c'mon. It's like reading a story about the Midnighter before he had Apollo to even him out a little.

SallyP said...

Rachelle, my dear, you are a genius. A better summing up, I have never heard. Or in this case, read.

Needless to say, I'll be passing on this. Just like all the previous issues. I'll stick to All-Star Superman, which is actually GOOD!

rachelle said...

If this series is indeed a joke (and I don't think that it is), then it might be brilliant.

But I'm pretty sure it's earnest. And that's sad.

Quotes from 2005 interview with Frank Miller:

They wanted me to cut loose with Batman and Robin. I mean, they didn’t want me to turn them into characters they wouldn’t be, but nobody’s every really told this story, as far as I know. I’m taking my time with it, in that it’s a very detailed origin story of Robin. I’m going to be using a lot of DC characters in it. Especially since I’m working with Jim Lee, I’ll be using a lot of the girls…

You can read the rest of the interview here. It actually makes me sad because, reading the interview, you actually wonder where everything went so wrong. It sounds like it's going to be a great series!

John Foley said...

"I’m taking my time with it"

Well, he got that part right, at least.
I can't believe this is the same guy who wrote the brilliant Batman: Year One.

Batmanisgrim said...

I shouldn't really be typing this, but I catch All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder a break. The reason for this is that it is an All Star comic so it is not supposed to be the Batman we know.
That interview with Frank Miller doesn't make any sense with the comic he wrote. If this was meant to be a "very detailed origin story of Robin" why would it be an All Star title? Is it possible that this started out a regular DC comic and the All Star line was created because the stuff was so different?
This Batman does kill and he acts rather extreme, so maybe it is the influence of Robin that causes him to change into the Batman we know. When Batman first debuted in Detective Comics #27, Batman did kill people so maybe this is why Frank Miller's Batman kills in All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder.
Even if you hate Frank Miller's writing in this, it should not take away his previous successes.

Adam said...

Bah! All I want is more inappropriate Alfred/Vicki banter.

rachel said...

You forgot to mention that Batman PICKS ALFRED UP AND SHOVES HIM AGAINST A WALL.
I hate this Batman, and that's saying something because I respect every writer's different interpretation of Batman...except this one. Batman's an asshole sometimes, he's oblivious to people's feelings sometimes, but this? No. NO. He does not PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY ABUSE Alfred and Dick.

But mostly, I hate it for Alfred's sake. No matter how someone writes Batman, Alfred is the constant. He's the most steady character, and he's always awesome. Miller is the first person to fuck with Alfred. The Alfred-as-a-romance-novel-cover freaked me out, and ok, Alfred was a little awesome by giving Dick food against his clearly psychotic ward's will, Veto. I thought the damn series was done, I'm so mad that it's continuing.

It depresses the hell out of me that Dick is So Pretty in this, it's such a waste.

rachelle said...


It's funny because just today I was saying that the only thing I like about the series is how great Dick looks. It really is a shame.

I like to think that Alfred would walk out on such an obvious psychopath, rather than stay and help him. I really can't wait to see what this latest issue offers. Batman eats a baby?

Shawn said...

The first few pages of issue #5 have been posted as an online preview.

Apparently Wonder Woman hates men. Maybe she saw the MJ and Supergirl statues?