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Friday, February 03, 2006

All Star Batman and Robin, published by D.C. Comics, 40 pages, $2.99

One of the most highly-anticipated Batman projects to come along in years is here. Hip, hip....hooray..? In case you can't tell, the first two issues of All-Star Batman and Robin have left me cold. Despite being helmed by two of the most talented and popular professionals in comics, there is, quite frankly, nothing inspired, nothing new in the first two issues. Upon hearing that, some may decry, "You have to give it more than two issues!" To which I say, at three bucks a pop, I want to be dazzled. Or, at least interested. This book fails in both counts.

Writer Frank Miller created arguably one of the best Batman stories of all time with his Dark Knight miniseries in the '80's. His current Batman, however, simply isn't up to snuff. In his initial contact with Dick Grayson, the boy who will be Robin, the caped crusader proceeds to curse at him and smack him around. Am I the only one who thinks Batman can be scary without abusing a minor? The gruff, grizzled Batman of the Dark Knight series, one would assume, was the product of years of crime-fighting. Yet, Miller's young Knight would seem to be the same character; where's the progression? I'm not sure what Miller's going for here, but it doesn't look good.

The lagging story is wrapped in beautiful art work by Jim Lee; work which may be the best of his career. Dynamic, realistic, dramatic....a flash-bang action flick come to the comic book page. Then again, do you know how many action movies I've bailed on due to lack of story? The problem of lack of imagination in the storyline succeeds in poking it's ugly head up, even in the midst of a bunch of pretty pictures.

All Star is not recommended, despite the artwork. If you are so inclined, however, find it at your local comics shop and online retailers or auctions.

Mark Allen