All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder #2 (November, 2005)
Writer – Frank Miller
Penciller – Jim Lee
Inker – Scott Williams
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Letterer – Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor – Brandon Montclare
Editor – Bob Schreck
Cover Price: $2.99
After reading the first issue of this series yesterday, I sez to myself “Self… if you’re going to cover All Star Batman and Robin, you’re gonna have to talk about that Gee-Dee issue.”
And so, here we are…
We pick up shortly after we left off last issue… Batman has nyoinked Dick Grayson into the Batmobile… and is trying to, get this… put him to sleep with knockout gas. Elsewhere, Alfred is attending to Vicki Vale’s injuries… apparently they were in a wreck? I don’t recall seeing this happen last issue… but, whattayagonna do? Vicki remembers everything that went down… and we get the first few “Gee-Dee”s of the issue.
She flashes back to The Flying Graysons being murdered at the circus… the youngest Grayson being swept away by the Gotham City Police… then, the poor tot being kidnapped by the Batman.
Then… she passes out, in the most melodramatic way possible.
Back to the Batmobile… where Batman is surprised to learn that this kid actually shrugged off the kayo-gas.
Dick asks what’s going on… and just who the hell this Bat-dressed-man might be. Batman… smiles a creepy smile, and refers to Dick as both a “punk” and “my ward”. This really isn’t a good look. This Batman is a complete psychopath.
Then… we get that panel. You’re welcome (and, I’m sorry).
As Batman informs Dick that he’s… either the best friend he’d ever hope to have… or the worst enemy he could ever imagine. Wanna remind you that Dick is a twelve-year old boy, who just hours earlier witnessed the murder of both of his parents.
Then… the GCPD catches up. Dick suggests maybe they pull over… but, Batman ain’t havin’ none of it. Instead, he starts… laughing like a madman!
Still laughing, Batman spins the Batmobile around… and runs it off a jump directly on top of the police cruisers.
Then… the Batmobile sprouts wings and takes to the air. I’ll say one thing, this is giving Jim Lee a lot of opportunity to draw cool stuff!
Dick, naturally, starts freaking out. I mean, what the hell, right? Then… he thinks back to his parents, and completely loses it. Batman’s reaction? He backhands the mourning pre-teen.
Batman’s narration reveals that he feels bad for what he’s doing to the boy… but, he has to keep him “mad” so he can join his “war”. If he lets Dick deal with his emotions, he’ll grieve… which will lead to acceptance, and finally forgiveness. Can’t have none’a that!
He then drops some knowledge on Dick regarding the corrupt Gotham City Police. He tells him that cops are mostly pretty great… except for those who work in Gotham City. Those’ll “kill you as soon as look at you”.
Batman then invites Dick to join him in Crime Fighting… and asks the twelve-year old boy to be brave. I gotta say, if you’re a twelve-year old child… and a strange man in a leather outfit asks you to “be brave”, just run away as fast as your feet’ll take you. Dick, instead says “Yes, sir.”
Okay… you all know me, I try to veer away from the “hive mind” as much as possible… but, this is one’a those books that just… I dunno, defies explanation. I mean, how does a book like this go to press?
I mean, I know how it went to press… I’m pretty sure Frank Miller and Jim Lee could’ve photographed their used tissues, and DC would’ve published it… and, ya know what… that might’ve made a bit more sense than what we just experienced here.
Let’s start with the very first bit… Batman has his hand covering Dick’s mouth… and, while admiring the lad tries to kayo him with some gas. I’m struggling to think of a way where this scene doesn’t look predatory. It’s really insane to me how this was okayed.
Then… just the way Batman speaks to the boy. I mean, what the hell did we just read?! He threatens to put Dick “through holy hell”… ehhhh? Wait, make that “Holy hell, or the next best thing.” What in all frigs does that mean?! Then… he refers to him as both a “punk” and “my ward”. Whaaaaa?
Now, we learned last issue that Bruce Wayne had been keeping an eye on Dick Grayson for quite some time, right? Did he always have an eye toward adopting him?! Was he (Bruce) behind the murders of the elder Graysons? I mean, how else would this be moving so quickly? I’m so confused.
It’s really saying something when the “Gee Dee Batman” panel is among the tamest of the issue. After finally seeing it in context… I gotta say, it almost seems like the most normal panel in the book! We’ve got Batman literally abusing the boy… emotionally, psychologically… even physically in this issue! Sure, we get a bit of Batman’s internal monologue where even he asks himself if he’s gone too far… but, that doesn’t excuse or undo any of it!
I’m really grasping for more to say about this… but at this point, I’m just babbling. I will say, Jim Lee’s art really shines here. Miller’s bat-stuff insane script afforded him plenty of opportunity to draw some cool stuff.
Is this worth a read? Absolutely. It’s not every day you get to bear witness to something this flat-out insane. You’re either gonna hate it… or love it for all the wrong reasons, but… I couldn’t suggest anyone not read it. It’s the kind of issue that comes once in a generation… and really needs to be seen to be believed.