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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

All-Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder

Volume 1 (Hardback)


Author: Frank Miller
Artists: Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair
Titan Books
RRP: £16.99, US $24.99
ISBN: 978 1 84576 291 9
Available 25 July 2008

Batman: the mythic comic hero, born in shadows and driven by violence, vengeance, and vigilantism. Enter Robin, the Boy Wonder: a bright bit of flash to offset the dark knight of Gotham. But the teen sidekick's roots dig into cruel depths as black as those of the Batman's. Two generations of victimised orphans unite in the war against crime - alone together in a never-ending street fight that consumes both body and soul...

All-Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder collects together issues #1-9 of the comic book of the same name. This is one of the most talked-about Batman stories of recent years, so it will come as no surprise that it was conceived by Frank Miller (Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns).

While I'm not a huge fan of origin tales, this collection shows Batman and Robin in a slightly more twisted light than fans will be used to. Batman's attitude and warped sense of humour are thrust centre stage as we finally get to see a costumed vigilante that we can believe in.

When Dick Grayson's parents are killed gangland execution style Batman, who has had his eyes on Grayson for some time, abducts him from the scene of the crime. Batman plans to unleash the caged anger inside Grayson in order to train him as a vigilante who can watch his back. This tale also sees that Robin has a bit of an attitude problem, and that he is not quite the helpless orphan, that he's usually portrayed as, when Batman abducts him.

Hard-core Batman fans will find something to smile at on nearly every page of this collection. I particularly loved the way we were introduced to the Bat Cave via a seemingly never ending foldout series of pages that allow us to marvel, like Robin, at how big it really it.

Frank Miller, once again, has redesigned the Batman universe, and the world is a better place for it.


Darren Rea

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