Frank Miller’s All Star Batman and Robin is a good enough reworking of the traditional “How Batman found a sidekick” story. It unhinges Batman a bit, really playing into the weirdo nature that would make someone dress up as a bat to fight crime. There’s no rationalization of why this makes sense beyond that the goddamn Batman gets off on it. Bringing in the whole kidnapping of a young boy whose parents have just been murdered aspect works well, as does the Justice League’s being aghast at the bullshit Batman is pulling in Gotham (in this continuity Batman is not part of the JL, which has Superman, Green Lantern, Plastic Man, and a very angry Wonder Woman). So yes, it’s not great in the way All Star Superman is great, but it’s a good book for seeing Batman embrace the insanity of his character.
Batman and the Monster Men is Matt Wagner’s story of a young Batman and his first case with Doctor Strange. It’s kind of a follow-up to Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One, and Batman is still kind of figuring out his role. It’s a similar kind of story arc to the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. He has a girlfriend and has been fighting Sal Maroni’s gangsters, not full on supervillains, but Dr. Strange is doing genetic experimentation and creating huge troll-like creatures to deal with the loan sharks he’s been borrowing from.
It’s a decent book, and you can tell it’s by the same guy writing Sandman Mystery Theatre. Very noirish, but the art in this is much better. It’s probably a bit more pulp than noir (especially with that title) but a good Batman story that doesn’t shake anything up too terribly.
I have been neglecting my reviewing duties. But don’t worry, I’ve still been reading. I haven’t given up on the printed word (and image). Just been slow in typing about them. So here is a list of the books I read before coming to Australia.