cover image All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, Vol. 1

All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, Vol. 1

Frank Miller, . . DC, $24.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4012-1681-8

Miller, the man who kicked off the grim and gritty era of superhero comics with the 1986 Batman tale The Dark Knight Returns , returns to write the iconic character once again in a series that takes the tropes of superhero excess and explodes them into satire. Miller casts Batman as an obsessive lunatic who enlists traumatized children into his war on crime, calls himself “the goddamn Batman” and is prone to cackling maniacally. Sex and violence are constant preoccupations, but even during sex scenes, Miller can hardly keep a straight face. After a shared rampage against corrupt cops that includes the interjection, “Eat glass, lawman!” Batman and heroine Black Canary celebrate with an intimate encounter on a burning pier during a lightning storm. Although the bombastic, repetitive narration and decompressed storytelling (two and a half issues pass before Batman and Robin leave the Batmobile) often borders on hilarious, Miller aims for more obvious jokes later in the series. It's an over the top in-joke for the superhero crowd, though its irreverence may not have the most zealous and “serious” superhero fans laughing. (June)