Wednesday, November 30, 2005

fanboy musings

I love comic books. I love the escapism, I love the humor and melodrama, the angst. I love well constructed tales of two-fisted heroism and savvy social criticism crammed into 28 pages or so of four-color mayhem.

Love it. It makes me happy.

Which is why I have to agree with Mike on his assessment of the dialogue in All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. TM.

Now, without getting into the merits of Frank Miller's current writing ability or his tendency to repeat the same monosyllabic phrases several times over 4 pages, I think he's made his intentions on the book quite clear. And not in interviews. In the actual book itself. Now, it might not be your type of comic book. Perhaps you don't enjoy being laughed at or ridiculed after shelling out 3-4 bucks and waiting 6-7 months for the story. But, execution aside, I think Miller's setting up an actual character arc here with Batman, as well as Robin.

And to piggyback on Mike's comments, in the context of the story, Batman is not only trying to scare young Dick Grayson, he himself is a character in flux, an angry young man absorbed in his war on crime in danger of losing his humanity. This is a Batman who has not come into his own yet.

Let's take a quick historical look at who Batman was in 1940, before Robin burst into his life. Batman was a vigilante and a borderline psychopath who routinely killed corrupt thugs and enemies, without remorse or regret. Only after the introduction of Robin did Batman acquire his moral code and more acceptable ethical behavior. Seems to me like a Batman whose conduct is evolving is exactly the Batman of Miller's world right now. Maybe it's not just about Batman recruiting a little boy into his war on crime. Perhaps Miller is telling the story of a Batman who needs a Robin to temper him, who needs a Robin to protect his own humanity and prevent him from becoming like the common murderers he battles. This is a Batman who needs a Robin keep him from succumbing to the darkness of what he is desperately fighting against.

Perhaps All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder isn't about introducing the iconic characters of Batman and Robin as they are most famously known; instead, maybe it's about revealing the characters' journey, showing us how they became the iconic characters we know and love.

Or maybe Miller is simply laughing at everyone who ever liked his work when we were kids, slapping us around and screaming: "You can never go home again! Now watch me daterape your childhood. Slowly."

Only time will tell.

That being said, All Star Superman rocks all kinds of worlds and is all sorts of goodness which needs no further explanation. So there.

PS: A belated congrats and Mazel Tov to John Rogers on his latest endeavor at DC Comics. Can't wait to see an all-new Blue Beetle fight Lobo in a Japansese schoolgirl outfit. Now that's the kind of comic book madness I think we can all agree upon.