Frank Miller & Jim Lee - All Star Batman and Robin
Frank Miller and Jim Lee tackle the world’s greatest detective and the boy wonder in this sister title to Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly’s All Star Superman. The first nine issues of the ongoing series are collected here, and like Morrison and Quietly’s retelling rather than reinvention of the man of steel’s myth, this is far from the iconoclastic storytelling of Miller’s Dark Knight Batman books or the creation of new Bat myths in Lee and Jeph Loeb’s Hush. Instead, it’s a reworking of the original story of Batman’s sidekick Robin.
To tell it, Miller’s shifted the narrative point of view from Batman/Bruce Wayne to various related characters: news reporter Vicky Vale (Gotham City’s Lois Lane), masked (and fishnet stocking-clad) crime fighter The Black Canary, super-powered members of the Justice League of America (before Batman joined the universe-policing team), The Joker and, perhaps most importantly given this is really his story, Dick Grayson aka Robin. Introducing these multiple perspectives is a smart move on Miller’s part. It takes the sole focus away from Batman, while cloaking him in a certain amount of mystery which is particularly effective in the second episode in which Batman kidnaps Grayson after his trapeze artist parents are murdered during a circus performance. This allows Miller to get to grips with what makes the boy wonder tick.
It all makes for a fresh take on the much-overworked Bat mythology. But it wouldn’t register without decent illustrations and happily, Lee’s artwork is as vigorous as ever, his angular cityscapes and bulging biceps exploding off the pages. Together he and Miller make for a dynamic duo, indeed.