Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: Jim Lee
Publisher: DC Comics
For two reasons, this issue isn’t as bad as past issues have been.
First, there’s nothing in this issue that allows Miller to mess up the chronology of his story as badly as he did in issues #1-4, but that may just be that I’m not looking hard enough for a problem in the chronology.
For instance, Miller is still using strange time stamps at the beginning of new scenes, such as when Barbara Gordon comes home to change into Batgirl and then leaves through her fifteenth floor bedroom window “Three Hours Ago,” or when Gotham Gazette cub reporter Jimmy Olson races to the hospital with flowers for Vicki Vale “Five Hours Ago.”
I suspect I might actually find a chronology problem if I compared those time stamps to the time stamps of other events shown in earlier issues, but I don’t have the inclination, so I’ll just accept that Miller might have gotten it right this time (but I doubt it).
Second, Miller’s characterization no longer grates on me. I’ve accepted that this isn’t the same Batman that he wrote in Batman: Year One. His All-Star Batman is his notion of what such a man might actually be like in real life—a mentally unstable character who has a perverse worldview due to having watched a man murder his parents when he was only 10 years old.
I can accept that take on the character—as well as Miller’s take on the idiosyncrasies of the other characters based on their respective backgrounds. However, if that’s the approach that Miller wants to take, then he better follow it through to the end. The series should eventually show Barbara Gordon being killed or crippled—the most likely fate of a teenage girl who jumps out of fifteen-story windows to imitate her perverse idol.
Dick Grayson should either escape to report his perverted kidnapper (and his British butler confidant) to the police, or he should show solid indications of suffering from Stockholm syndrome by the end of the series (and have a traumatic breakdown as he watches his perverted abductor being gunned down by the police).
A similar end-stage scenario should be worked out for the Irish Lass Who Dresses in Black Fishnets and a Bustier. In the end, I guess the point of the series will be that people suffering from severe psychoses meet with unfortunate ends when not treated—and that Miller’s work is far more “realistic” than Alan Moore’s Watchmen.
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