Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stand Alone Complex: All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder # 9

Hello Internet!

Eamon here, it has been a while since I have written about my one true love, comics, so I thought I would try to get back into the swing of things. For 'Stand Alone Complex' entries I'm going to write about a single issue of a comic that I like or find notable in some way. For the first entry, I thought I would tackle issue number 9 of the much maligned All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder, written by Frank Miller with Art by Jim Lee, inks by Scott Williams, colors by Alex Sinclair and letters by Jared K. Fletcher.

As far as I am aware, the All Star comics line was started to give creators carte blanche to do whatever they wanted with DC characters without being held hostage by decades of continuity...and who better to tackle Batman than Frank Miller, one of the most important Batman scribes living! I never checked it out back in 2008, and have recently been picking up random issues.

 Page one of issue 9 makes it immediately apparent that this Bats isn't the one we're used to...from the pen of Frank Miller or anybody else. Batman is in Green Lantern's face, and, as conveyed by his narration in the captions, brags about how rich he is, relishes an opportunity to potentially beat the snot out of a fellow hero, proceeds to insult and belittle that same hero along with Superman, and describes how he would use Lantern's power sending some tidal waves to "Knock out a few enemy fleets" and bring "some real firepower to a nasty ground war or two." So yeah...not the Bats we are used to.

Oh, I forgot to mention, Batman is also painted yellow on the opening page. For those of you who don't know, the Green Lantern's only weakness is the color yellow. His power ring doesn't work against it. Comics, right?

The whole Batman painted yellow thing is really why I wanted to write about this issue, and share it with the 'net. I never expected any part of this series, which is pretty unanimously ridiculed, to be so funny. Batman has to meet with Green Lantern, who on behalf of the Justice League wants Batman to tone it down. To be on the safe side Batman has the meeting in one of his safe houses, and has Robin paint everything yellow. Everything. For well over half of this issue Batman and Robin are yellow, in a yellow room with yellow floors, walls, pipes and furniture.

Batman even has lemonade to drink, and Robin has some yellow ice cream. Batman smirks, sneers and leers as he drinks his Lemonade, "Refreshing" he says as he takes a sip. Green Lantern declines a glass.

Don't be a rude guest, Lantern!
In this panel both Green Lantern and the reader must wait for Batman to finish his lemonade.

Robin is also very entertaining in this scene, in the background eating his ice cream, ready to catch a falling glass of lemonade when Green Lantern decides that Batman needs a punch in the face, pouring Batman another glass for when he is ready for another sip. He is also reading The Yellow Kid comics, for you comics history buffs out there.

Please pay particular attention to Robin on this page. Spectacular storytelling. Very funny.

The focus on the Lemonade is bizarre and distracting. I also find it hilarious. I don't know if Robin's antics were called for in the script, or if Jim Lee decided to do that stuff on his own, but its a real hoot. Green Lantern is a real lunkhead in this series, who can't figure out that Robin is really Dick Grayson, a boy Batman kidnapped in an earlier issue, and seems to have a real temper does every character in this issue. After taking Lantern's ring, Robin does some flip kicks and karate chops Lantern's neck, almost killing him. This causes Batman to flip out and punch Robin, who is probably ten years old, really hard in the face, twice.

The rest of the book is moping, gloom and doom, but darn if the yellow Batman and Robin pages weren't fun. Definitely something I was not expecting. I would highly recommend checking this issue out. If there are any readers out there, are there any other issues this funny from this title? Let me know in the comments!


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