All Star Batman & Robin
(Not your parents’ @#&%ing Batman)
by Phil Perich for the Before the Bat podcast
With this week marking the release of Frank MIller’s Dark Knight III: the Master Race, the third installment of the author’s Dark Knight saga, I figured now would be a good time to re-explore one of his other works.
All Star Batman & Robin #1 was released in 2005 and was the first issue of what was supposed to be DC Comics new “All Star” line of books that took place outside regular continuity.
The only two books that were published under this line were All Star Batman & Robin & All Star Superman. The story begins with Bruce Wayne asking Vicki Vale out on a date to the Haly Circus. The night takes a disastrous turn when a hitman guns down the parents of DIck Grayson. Dick is then menacingly lead off by the Police. Bruce as Batman takes down the hitman, Jocko-Boy Vanzetti and then rescues Dick from the Police. Batman tells Dick he has been drafted into a war.
Batman then takes Dick back to the Batcave and leaves him there, telling him if he gets hungry he can eat any rats or bats he finds in the Batcave. Alfred later provides Dick with food and clothing much to the disapproval of Batman.
Later, the Justice League gets word of Batman’s very violent methods of crime fighting in Gotham City. They disapprove of his actions and debate on what to do about him. Although Wonder Woman wants to kill Batman, she agrees to wait until Green Lantern has talked to him.
Meanwhile, Batman encounters Black Canary fighting some thugs at the docks. Batman aids her in the fight and then gets very friendly with the new crime fighter.
Batman and Dick then interrogate Jocko-Boy and get the name of the person who hired him to kill the Graysons, the Joker. Dick wants to go after him right away but Batman tells him he needs a masked identity. Dick creates a hooded suit based on the legend of Robin Hood. Batman then shows him how impractical a hood is and how it can be turned against him. Alfred then gives Dick a costume he made for him.
Earlier Green Lantern told Batman he wanted to meet to talk. Batman surprises him and reveals he knows Green Lantern’s identity of Hal Jordan and sets up a time and place to meet in 12 hours. Green Lantern walks into a room painted all yellow and also Batman & Robin painted in head to toe yellow ( the Green Lantern ring’s weakness). After Green Lantern tells Batman the Justice League does not approve of his methods, Robin steals the ring off of his finger and almost beats him to death.
Meanwhile, Jim Gordon finds out his wife has been in an accident caused by her alcoholism and his teenage daughter Barbara is out fighting crime as Batgirl until she is arrested. A depressed Jim then calls his former lover Sarah after Barbara suggests it.
The series was racked with problems, such as scheduling. Only one issue was published in 2006. Issue #10 was postponed from April 9, 2008 to August 27. Issue #10 was then recalled after its initial release after a printing error caused censored curses to be visible under the black bars.
The series was supposed to return retitled as Dark Knight: Boy Wonder in 2011. Artist Jim Lee was unable to achieve this schedule due to his work on DC Comics New 52 reboot that started that year. At 2015’s New York Comic Con Frank Miller announced he had just started working on it with Jim Lee. Miller has gone on record as stating All Star Batman & Robin take place in the same universe as his other Batman tales (Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Strikes Again). DC has official designated MIller’s “Dark Knight” universe as Earth 31 in their multiverse.
What are YOUR opinions about this story and the other Frank Miller Batman tales? Let me know in any of the following ways:
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You can hear me talk Gotham and all things Batman with my friends on Before the Bat: the Gotham Podcast. I also write two other blogs, the Flash/Arrow Blog and the True Believers (Marvel) Blog. You can hear all my podcasts, blogs, and those of others at www.southgatemediagroup.com
Well thats it for this week. Go pick up Frank Miller’s Dark Knight III: the Master Race on November 25, 2015 and come back here next week. Be good! Remember, Justice can be crazy at times!