I don’t usually like reviewing a comic that’s been out for several weeks. I feel like I’m late to the party… as though I’ve delayed my article for so long that people just won’t care when it finally does show up.
All Star Batman and Robin #5 doesn’t count though. I feel totally justified in delaying my review, since DC seems to feel totally justified in their delay of this issue. My first reaction when I saw this comic sitting in my pile was that of awe… I could hardly believe that it was still in production. After flipping to the DC Nation page I was even more shocked to find that there are plans for a 6th issue!
My second reaction was that of near trepidation… now that I had this comic, I’d actually have to read it, not a comforting thought. Issues 1-4 of All Star Batman and Robin had been nothing but an incredibly manic Batman trying his best to frighten the crap out of young Dick Grayson. Those four issues amounted to a heaping pile of unimaginative dribble… a retelling of a story told too many times.
After forcing myself to read issue #5, I can say in all honesty that it not only kept me entertained, but had me looking forward to the upcoming sixth issue. Although it didn’t forgive the transgressions of it’s predecessors, it did manage to transition away from a boring story in to something promising. Just in time too. I had lost all faith in Frank Miller prior to this issue.
This issue opens with a meeting between legends… Superman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Plastic Man… the Justice League. There they discuss how to handle the Batman situation. Although I’m not sure how to feel about Wonder Woman’s overcharged hatred of men, I do love the fact that the Justice League is now hunting down Batman in order to sort him out.
Previous to this issue I wasn’t too happy with Miller’s take on the Dark Knight; he comes off as an impetuous psychopath. He swoops down upon his victims from rooftops, cackling like a madman on crack. I’m sure many people feel that Miller is messing with the legends, warping them to fit his own tale. After this issue I disagree. I believe he’s just enhancing their oddities. Let’s not forget, this is an “All Star” book. While All Star writers are no doubt constrained by a few choice rules (Wayne’s parents must remain dead) it seems to me that they are allowed to take a few liberties with their interpretation of the characters, much like an artist is allowed to put his own spin on the work he produces.
We already know Batman is nearly insane, Frank Miller is just emphasizing that point.
As for Jim Lee’s art, it’s flawless as usual. While Jim Lee isn’t my all-time favorite artist, I do love his dramatic flare and attention to detail. He seems to be a perfect fit for DC Comics characters.
All praise aside, this book as a whole is not what I hoped it would be. I’ve read much better stories by Frank Miller. A comic book shouldn’t have to salvage itself after the 4th issue… especially one that claims to be created by “All Stars”.