All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder 9. Scott has already reviewed this for us, but let me say two things. First let me plug the Batman book linked in the toolbar on the right; the essay I contributed to it explains why I love this title even though, like almost everyone else, I started out hating it. If you hate this book, my essay might turn you around. Second, as an artist as well as a writer you have to think Frank Miller's real reason to write this issue was to play up the visual absurdity -- yellow Batman and yellow Robin serving lemonade in a yellow room with the Green Lantern standing around unable to do anything about it. This issue continues to support the claims in my essay -- Miller brings the crazy, and the crazy is good for a character like Batman, who is such a franchise at this point. But their prank -- both with the yellow and with verbally harassing Green Lantern who is, in Miller's hands, more than a little dumb (Miller hates cops and hates space cops most of all) -- turns serious. The emotion is maudlin but it should be -- this is not a realistic portrayal of emotion. This is the emotion of a Mickey Spillane novel. And Mickey Spillane, if you missed the memo, is awesome. ALSO: how easy is it going to be for DC to roll out an anti-Green Lantern Batman action figure? All toy companies ever do is get a mold, then put slightly different paint jobs on it (jungle Batman, Winter Batman), and toss in some props (vine, sled). All they need now is some yellow spray paint and a drink pitcher from Barbie's pool set.
Batman 674. I liked Morrison's writing here, and now I am wondering if his Batman run will be a failed masterpiece along the lines of his New X-Men run -- some great ideas, some great stories, some great artists, some bad artists, some misfires, some serious weak points. At least he fully has my attention again. The answers to who are the other Batmen was pretty satisfying, as was the narration about the king of crime. The art is OK, and we will see where we go from here. As for Morrison's claim that his Batman is 35 and has basically been through everything the stories say he has, it surprising me that Morrison has such a rational explanation. To me the irrational history of these characters was the best part of them, because that chaos requires strong revision. And all of Morrison's frustration with Miller evidenced in interviews and the comic book itself suggest that this is not mere history for him.
Kick Ass 1. Not as pointlessly sadistic or unlikable as I heard over at Newsarama, though surely electrocuted testicles was too far -- being tied and beaten by criminals would have been enough for anyone who can think of violence as anything other than sexual. But overall, not great either. The main character is not as unlikable as Wesley Gibson, but there Millar wanted the audience to see themselves in the main character. Here I cannot help but think that his target audience is Hollywood, and we are all here to make that happen for him, like the friends drug up to see a band play for no reason other than that there is someone in the audience who could give them a contract and it would be best to hear us cheer.
There was a con but I did not keep up with it. Let me know if there is anything I should know in comics news.