Pick of the Week

December 29, 2005 – All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder #3

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Avg Rating: 4.0
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Size: pages

Story by Frank Miller
Art by Jim Lee
Inks by Scott Williamson
Colors by Alex Sinclair
Letters by Jared K. Fletcher

Published by DC Comics | $2.99

Wait, what?

This book is the Pick of the Week?

This crazy book whose first issue I really liked, but whose second issue I have ranted against to anyone who has listened? What happened? It’s quite simple, really. I had an epiphany whilst reading the first page.

But let’s hold on and take a step back. We’ll get back to my epiphany in a moment.

Josh said last week that he had a good, solid week of comic books resulting in a hard choice for Pick of the Week. This was a great week for me too, with a high percentage of quality books in my stack. Among those that were excellent, but didn’t take the top spot: Ultimate Spider-Man #88, X-Factor #2, Daredevil #80, The New Avengers #14, and JLA: Classified #15. Put together with the Pick of the Week, that’s six high quality books out of the nine I bought. Technically speaking, Batman #648 was of “high quality” too — good writing, excellent art — but I am so turned off by the Jason Todd is alive! storyline that I can’t approve of the book.

Okay, so my epiphany.

I really liked the first issue of this series. It had a bit of that pulpy, noir-ish edge that only Frank Miller can seem to pull of without seeming ridiculous or over-the-top. And then issue two went ridiculous and over-the-top. Instead of rescuing Dick Grayson after his parents are killed, Batman kidnapped him and was calling Dick a little bastard as Dick made sarcastic jokes in the passenger seat of the Batmobile. My mouth hung open for most of the second issue, and not in a good way. In this, the third issue, the action is set firmly in the ridiculous and over-the-top arena, but suddenly it all made sense to me. In one of our previous shows, I made the joke that All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder was Batman as Sin City, and you know what? That’s exactly what this is. While reading the opening page it suddenly hit me that it would all make sense if I looked at this book as an Elseworlds tale: What would the DC characters be like if they existed in the Sin City universe? And that was all I needed. Suddenly I wasn’t angry anymore and was enjoying the hell out of this book.

See, that’s the thing about comics: they have to make sense in the head of the individual reader. It’s the only way you can read about characters who have been around for up to 70 years and whose history and continuity is roughly 90% contradictory. Every fan has to find a way to reconcile these books for themselves in their own heads to reach a maximum enjoyment level and to keep from ending up in a cell with padded walls from trying to make logical sense from comic book timelines and storylines.

In order to fully enjoy this book I thought of this Gotham City as being just down the coast from Basin City.

And it’s a lot of fun that way! In this world, Black Canary is a from County Monaghan in Ireland and is the hottest bartender in Gotham. She also practically maims everyone in her bar after realizing that not a single one of the drunken leeches (who clumsily and/or revoltingly try to flirt with her when they’re not pawing at her ass) is even a fraction of a man that Batman is.

Crazy? Possibly. But it was a hell of a good time to read.

Meanwhile, taking a page from the Ultimate Vision storytelling playbook, Batman and Dick Grayson are still driving to the Batcave. Oh, and Metropolis must be just down the coast from Basin City too, because Superman’s a-comin’ and he looks appropriately pissed off (for this universe).

Now, instead of dreading the rest of this series, I can’t wait to see the Sin Citified versions of the rest of the DC Universe.

Conor Kilpatrick
Nirvana has been reached.

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