Comic Book / All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder
A.K.A. The Goddamn Batman (or Crazy Steve) and Dick Grayson, Age Twelve

"What, are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the Goddamn Batman."

The original All-Star DC Comics title. Ran from 2005 until 2008. When DC announced the book it was widely anticipated as Frank Miller's return to the site of two of his greatest books — Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, this time with the tale of Robin's origin, and illustrated by Jim Lee.

The series was infamous for, among other things, having an erratic release schedule. After the run came to an endnote , it was announced in 2010 that Frank Miller would write a Continuity Reboot called Dark Knight: Boy Wonder that would go on for 6 issues and compile the story that he wanted to tell originally. More than half a decade later, there's still no word on when exactly this series will arrive.

Not to be confused with Scott Snyder's 2016 series All-Star Batman, which Snyder heavily emphasizes has nothing to do with this.

This goddamn comic provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Jerkass: In this series, Batman is depicted as enjoying violence and inflicting pain, in contrast to his usual depiction.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Black Canary becomes Irish.
  • The Adjectival Superhero: He's the Goddamn Batman!
  • All Amazons Want Hercules:
    • Wonder Woman really hates men. That is, all men except Superman. After the two get into an argument, Supes stomps on the ground hard enough that it knocks her over. This turns her on and leads to the two making out.
    • The same goes for Black Canary and her feelings for Batman himself.
  • All There in the Manual: The story makes more sense as a sequel to Batman: Year One when you read issue #10 and some plot points, such as Batman's relationship with Green Lantern, become very interesting when compared to The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Also confirmed by Word of God is that the series is in the same universe as The Dark Knight Returns.
    • Interestingly enough, Miller has also noted that he never intended for Batman to be seen as truly "heroic" in this arc (quite the opposite), until near the end, where the Goddamn Batman tones down (with Robin's help) to become the "moral" Batman we all know. (See Character Development, below.)
  • Anti-Hero: The Goddamn Batman and Black Canary. Black Canary savagely beats up a bar full of men for rude behavior and steals their wallets, and Batman is a psychotic lunatic who brutalizes anyone in his way, even if they didn't do anything. They are the good guys of the story.
  • Ascended Meme: Starting with Issue 6, Frank started slipping in references to "the Goddamn Batman". Well, less "slip" and more "spraypaint 'goddamn' all over the goddamn place".
  • Author Appeal: Some of the more hostile criticisms regarding All Star Batman and Robin claim that the whole thing was used by Miller to vicariously live out his personal Batman fantasy; citing the disregard for Batman's moral code (especially during the scene where he rescues Robin from corrupt cops; never mind that he takes pleasure in harming them; but also nearly kills both Alfred and Vicki Vale in the process), the over-the top fan service, as well as his less than flattering portrayals of most of the other Justice League (particularly Superman and Green Lantern).
  • Author Avatar: It's pretty clear that the Goddamn Batman is how Miller sees himself if he were Batman.
  • Butt-Monkey: Green Lantern exists pretty much to be humiliated and insulted by the Goddamn Batman, then gets his neck injured by Robin so Batman gets to save his life.
  • Belated Backstory: For Dick Grayson (age 12) in The Dark Knight Strikes Again
  • Big Bad: The Joker is ultimately responsible for the murder of Robin's parents.
  • Character Development: The Goddamn Batman starts out completely insane and isolated but is slowly becoming more human thanks to the influence of Dick Grayson (age 12). Not very noticeable due to the large amount of padding but it's definitely there.
    • Miller himself has stated that this was the entire point: to explain why the Goddamn Batman needed a kid sidekick, anyway—to bring him back down to earth after a period of having too much fun with his crime-fighting. However, it rings pretty hollow when it's in issue seven (years into the series thanks to Schedule Slip) of a twelve-issue miniseries that that infamous bleach incident takes place. Far from ascending to herodom and influencing Batman to regain his humanity, Dick Grayson, Age Twelve has yet to take up the Robin mantle and was last seen being very impressed by all the deadly weaponry he was surrounded by. Meanwhile, Crazy Steve is deliberately burning crooks to death and enjoying it, while the equally derailed Black Canary swoons over him because apparently that's sexy. And whenever Dick Grayson, Age Twelve comes up in his narration, it's pretty much always with a "stuck with an annoying kid" comment as if he wasn't the one who KIDNAPPED HIM.
  • Cluster F-Bomb / Sir Swears-a-Lot: Almost every character talks like this, even the 15-year-old Batgirl. Especially the 15-year-old fucking Batgirl.
  • Continuity Nod: There are several to other Dark Knight Universe stories.
    • DKR's Battank being built in the Batcave.
    • The Batcave is full of these. Besides the aforementioned Bat-Tank, there are:
      • The Bat-Glider from Batman: Year One,
      • The Bat-Copter from The Dark Knight Returns,
      • The Bat-Shield Batmobile,
      • The 60s Show Batmobile,
      • And the Batwing from the 'Hush' storyline, also pencilled by Jim Lee.
    • Joker's henchgirl Bruno and Batman saying the We have to be Criminals line.
    • Also, Batman's character is identical to Frank Miller's in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, save for him being 20-30 years younger. When TDKR came out, the story seemed to imply it was the decades of superheroing that turned Batman into this sour, cynical person. This story retcons that into Batman having started out as more of a jerkass than in TDKR and growing more noble, responsible and humane as he grew old, probably thanks to Dick Grayson Age Twelve's influence.
      • This is a bit ironic if you consider that Grayson is revealed to be a complete psychopath in TDKSA. During their climatic battle, he implies that Bruce's negligence and lack of affection drove him insane. Miller's Batman predictably scoffs and pushes him into hot lava.
    • A subtle one is on the cover of the first issue, with Batman swinging over Gotham. His face is blacked out with only his eyes visible, similar to the covers for The Dark Knight Returns collected editions.
    • Gordon's story about taking a baseball bat to Flass occurs in Batman: Year One, though not the way he makes it sound.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • Even at his most pumped up, no holds barred, extreme moment in The Dark Knight Returns, Batman couldn't bring himself to kill the Joker. In All Star Batman he killed crooked cops without hesitation (sometimes plowing through and utterly destroying police cars with no way to know they were all crooked. He's also quite pleased with crooks killing each other in crossfires, and finishes off the rest by setting them ON FIRE.) This is a guy who places ZERO value on human life.
    • The Goddamn Batman rants to Robin about how he can call his "Batmobile" whatever he wants. In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Batman muses that it was Robin who came up with the term.
    • Barbara Gordon's existence. The story explicitly takes place a few years after the Joker's first appearance, which happened right at the end of Batman: Year One. In that story, the Gordons don't have any kids, with Jim even lamenting that it'd be wrong to bring a child into Gotham. Given Barbara's age, it's impossible that she was born after James. It's possible that she's Jim's niece in this version, but given that the series plays on the Silver Age quite a bit, it's more than likely she's his biological daughter and there's some snarl in effect.
  • Crapsack World: Usually true in a Batman story, but much much more so here.
  • Cut Short: The entire series. Issues #11 and #12 are likely never going to come out, and DC has been saying for years they'll reboot and finish the series with nothing concrete to back up the claims.
  • Darker and Edgier: Attempted (maybe parodied?) throughout the series, though the worst has to be the scowling, humorless hitman now claiming his people have sarcastically nicknamed him the Joker.
    "They call me the Joker. But I'm not very funny."
  • A Day in the Limelight: Issue 10 is mostly done from Lt. Jim Gordon's point of view.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Very often throughout the text. Again and again. There is repetition. Statements are made. Repeated. Hammered. Insistent. Again and again. Relentless. Tireless. Repeatedly. Again and again.note 
    • Dick Grayson. Age 12.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Frank Miller probably hasn't seen that Green Lantern is perfectly capable of dealing with a yellow room - it's like Batman is the first to ever try that obvious tactic.
    • Batman speculating that he could make people think his way with Green Lantern's ring... that's not how it works, Bruce.
  • Freudian Excuse: 12-year old Dick Grayson's evil in The Dark Knight Strikes Again is so understandable now.
  • Gosh Dangit To Heck: Since Superman and the Green Lantern are boy scouts compared to everyone else, their dialogue comes off as even sillier than the Cluster F Bombs. Although Superman's only line in his first few appearances is "DAMN!"
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The Goddamn Batman and Black Canary. Batgirl and Robin are Heroic Comedic Sociopaths-in-training.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Much more blatant Fanservice than is usual in comic books, including a beautifully drawn make-out session in the rain between costumed Black Canary and Batman ("The costumes make it better" line might be a reference to Watchmen: we refer the reader to that book's page for the explanation of why this is so: suffice to say, it's not simply a fetish).
  • Idiot Ball: Green Lantern accepts Batman's offer to meet at a time and place of Bats' choosing, instead of just picking him up with his ring and keeping him manacled with it til he spills the beans.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Not exactly immediate, but in one issue, the Goddamn Batman calls Green Lantern a moron, then soon after says Green Lantern is a great man.
  • In-Name-Only: Pretty much everyone is insanely Out of Character, but Black Canary is given an entirely new back story and motivation, turning from a Legacy Character of her mother into an Irish immigrant from a large family working at a sleazy bar, who was inspired into crime-fighting (and, well, crime) by the Goddamn Batman.
  • Indecisive Deconstruction: The entire comic explores, at its heart, the classic-team up between Batman and Robin, the role of the Kid Sidekick, and the nature of the Kid Sidekick as an Audience Surrogate to make the hero relatable, but it raises these points without following on, nor does it properly cohere with the rest of the book:
    • Essentially the early issues, about Dick Grayson being "drafted" by Batman into his war on crime, the Training from Hell sequences, and the Justice League raising issues about Batman potentially kidnapping an orphan, mirror common complaints about Batman and Robin, namely that a Kid Sidekick travelling alongside a hero is reckless child endangerment, and the way the various Robins become Batman's partner-in-crime, can be seen as drafting Child Soldiers rather than its original intent (i.e. a medium for allowing the kids to share a fantasy of being a part of the hero's adventures). The problem is that rather than tackle the subtext of the trope and bring it to light, Miller literally has Batman kidnap and draft Robin as a child-soldier, subject him to emotional, physical, and psychological abuse, and more or less gaslights him into accepting that Batman is boss, and not to be second-guessed, all of which is played as an unironic mutually cathartic team-building exercise rather than a Marshal Law type spoof, and the comic itself isn't clear if this is a good or bad thing.
    • Furthermore, critiquing the idea of Robin as an Audience Surrogate and how he vicariously enjoys the superhero fantasy that a young audience identifies with, doesn't quite follow when most of the book is openly presented from Batman's point of view, and it isn't Robin gradually coming to see Batman's strange and bizarre world as normal and worth living in, by surrendering his agency, so much as Batman slowly imposing his view and authority on a small child. In addition the comic is clearly aimed at teenagers and adults in its content, its tone, and violence, and deconstructing the idea of Robin without actually addressing the audience the kid sidekick is intended for, more or less prevents it from having anything to say, unlike Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker which was addressed to children and largely did play the same trope for dramatic effect and tragedy.
    • On a meta-level, Batman and comics in general hasn't been a Kid-Appeal Character since The '80s, thanks largely to Frank Miller himself, and none of the Robins in Batman's main continuity at the time of this comic's publication had been "Age 12". The kid sidekick concept which Robin popularized hasn't been as common and prevalent as it was in the Silver Age, so in a large sense the comic mainly works for those readers who know and remember the old Robin from the Bill Finger-Dick Sprang era, without meaningfully having anything to say to the Nostalgia Filter or broader historical meaning of that connection.
    • The other theme in the book is that Batman's negative, dark, and violent personality has a negative influence on society and culture. With Black Canary and Batgirl being inspired to becoming violent superheroes by following his example, except only in the case of Batgirl is it portrayed as a bad thing. And in another instance where Batman saves a woman from rape, she on seeing Batman attack her assailant grins at seeing his cathartic violence. So the comic itself is not sure whether Batman's violence and behavior is a good and bad thing, and as such the big dramatic moment where Dick Grayson injures Hal Jordan's larynx and Bruce chastises himself and Robin doesn't make internal or external sense, or go anywhere.
  • Insistent Terminology: The series makes sure you know Dick Grayson is age twelve.
  • Jerkass: Everybody but Superman, Alfred and Robin is some kind of a jerkass.
    • Given that Robin nearly murders Hal Jordan at one point... you can probably put him on the Jerkass list too. Though to be fair, this was a 12-year-old boy who'd just watched his parents get murdered, kidnapped by a belligerent man-child dressed like a giant bat who tells him he's going to be a 'detective', and forced to live in a cave where he's told to eat cave-dwelling rodents. His attempt to murder Hal could be seen as the reaction of a severely traumatized preteen.
  • Large Ham: This Batman is a far cry from the Batman we usually know. This Batman's dialogue is incredibly bombastic (case in point: "I'm the Goddamn Batman!"), frequently shown grinning in maniacal glee, throws one-liners like there's no tomorrow whenever he's in a fight and even announces himself by cackling like a lunatic.
  • Lingerie Scene: Vicki Vale's first appearance is three pages of her parading around her apartment in pink lingerie and high heels. Doubles as Sex Sells.
    • Some editions feature Miller's script for this scene, which gets pretty disturbing as he goes on and on about how detailed her underwear should be, and even calls himself shameless when he asks for a closeup of her ass.
  • Male Gaze:
  • Ms. Fanservice: Vicki Vale. To make that point even more blunt, her first ever appearance in the story has her standing in her apartment talking about Batman... wearing nothing but pink lingerie.
  • Mood Whiplash: Issue 9 was when Batman meets Green Lantern in a yellow room, at first is incredibly funny (DAMN YOU AND YOUR LEMONADE!!) and when Robin starts fighting Green Lantern it's still hilarious and Batman is in on the joke but the fun stops abruptly with a splash page of Robin punching Green Lantern in the throat, almost killing him if it weren't for Batman. Then it's followed by a crowning moment of Heartwarming.
    • In universe and out, Batman and Canary have been making out under the rain and "under the hood", when Batman mentions he can drive her home... in his Batmobile. Canary shows disappointment with her idol's naming choice. Which instantly kills the mood for everyone involved, including the readership, because this (Goddamn) Batman is really touchy about his stuff and his person not being as awesome as he thinks it is.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of Black Canary's sleazy customers strongly resembles Oliver Queen.
    • Dick Grayson, age 12, initially wants to be an archery-themed superhero called The Hood, a nod to his father's love of the old Robin Hood movies. In real life, the 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood was one of the inspirations behind the creation of Robin.
  • Never My Fault: Several moments in the story have Goddamned Batman repeatedly blame Dick Grayson, age 12, for coming into his life and becoming his sidekick, completely ignoring the fact that he's the one who abducted the boy against his will in the first place.
  • Only Sane Man: Alfred finds himself making crazy suggestions like, "Maybe we shouldn't force Dick Grayson age twelve to survive by eating rats."
  • Pacing Problems: The story is very guilty of this, with a lot of pointless conversations, taking too long to get to key events (like Dick Grayson, age 12, actually becoming Robin), and focusing on some other character to the detriment of the protagonists. The fact that the series has an infamously bad release schedule is a contender.
    • As if to lampshade this, a milk carton with 12-year-old Dick Grayson's face on it is seen by Superman... While Grayson is still in the Batmobile, being driven away from the scene of his parent's murder, towards the Batcave. This journey takes several issues.
  • Peeping Tom: Happens when Jimmy Olsen visits Vicki Vale in the hospital. The reader is repeatedly informed by the narration boxes that Jimmy doesn't watch, but he is clearly shown turning his head near the bottom of the page.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Anyone who is not the Goddamn Batman or disagrees with what he's doing is ineffectual, stupid, and/or evil. Anyone who is the Goddamn Batman or agrees with his methods is heroic and awesome.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: In addition to the joy he takes in violence, the Goddamn Batman has the temperament of a child, getting incredibly moody and angry whenever someone isn't impressed with his cave or gadgets. Possibly done as a deconstruction of Batman. We hope.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Black Canary is a barmaid who wears a stripperiffic outfit as part of her job. One night, the accumulated tension of unattractive men hitting on her in the most vulgar way wears her patience so thin she is ready to explode. Then one of them actually gropes her. She snaps, and beats the everliving crap out everyone, to unconsciousness. She makes a point of making one of them swallow his wedding ring, for obvious reasons. She loots their bodies. She torches the place. She runs away on a motorbike by jumping over a ramp and into the air. Coincidentally, Detective Gordon's car was passing right under. He brushes it off, saying they've got bigger things to worry about. As a matter of fact, he is right. Allstar Gotham is only marginally less insane than Sin City.
  • Running Gag: The Batmobile being a "queer name" for a car. Lampshaded in hilarious fashion.
    Batman: Not one word. I've taken enough grief about calling my goddamn car the goddamn Batmobile. I'm the goddamn Batman and I can call my goddamn car whatever the hell I want to call it.
    • Not played for comedy but done completely straight is saying Dick Grayson, Age 12.
  • Scenery Porn: One of the few good, not So Bad, It's Good, things about the series.
  • Slasher Smile: Not from the guy you'd expect, but Batman himself, to Go Nagai levels!
  • Splash Panel: The Batcave is introduced in a six-page spread.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Batman says he'd been scoping out Dick Grayson, age 12, as a sidekick for months before his parents were even killed.
  • Start of Darkness: An unintentional one for Dark Knight Strikes Again!Dick Grayson.
  • Straw Feminist: Wonder Woman, who is introduced shoving a guy out of her way while growling "Out of my way, sperm bank." It seems she's mostly unsatisfied by men's failure to live up to her expectations, rather than actually claiming superiority or even equality as a woman: men are overhyped, weaker than they are supposed to be, than they should be. Superman proves to be a subversion: his boy-scout, simple morals clash with her pragmatism and warrior ethos, but he has the power, strength, and intimidation to enforce his law, and that really turns her on.
  • Stupid Good: Green Lantern and Superman both come off this way, more out of ignorance than actual stupidity.
    • And in Frank Miller stories, the Goddamn Batman is always goddamn right. Always.
  • Squick: Batman talking about how his mother's breast bled on him after he touched it. Ignoring the fact that it's an implied bullet wound, the overtones are unpleasant to think about.
  • Take That!: Frank Miller has stated in interviews that he thinks Green Lantern is worthless, and it shows.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Frank Miller grade, triple distilled.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The Joker's muscular, shirtless henchwoman. With swastika pasties over her breasts. It's a Continuity Nod to a minor character in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Training from Hell: Clearly what the Goddamn Batman intended for Robin.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: The Goddamn Batmobile is also a Goddamn Delorean:
    "Fifteen hours ago". That means one of two things. Clark Kent either drank this carton of milk fifteen hours before Dick Grayson, age 12, was kidnapped by Batman, and thus it is a magical prescient carton of milk, OR it's actually been a long enough ride in the Batmobile for Dick to have been reported missing, for his name to get to the missing persons groups, for them to submit his information to the milk company, for the milk company to print the cartons, distribute the cartons, and then for Clark Kent to go to the grocery store and buy the carton of milk. Let's see, by my rough estimate, that means that Batman and Dick have been on the way to the Batcave for, oh, about FIVE FUCKING WEEKS now.
    • A lot of these issues come up. The series goes over two or three nights, depending on how you look at it, yet Miller seems to forget this since the books took so long to come out. Especially in issue nine. Batman arranges a meeting with Hal Jordan 'in twelve hours' in issue eight; yet in issue nine, Batman is reminiscing about multiple training sessions and Dick Grayson, age 12, being in the cave with him for weeks. Also, apparently an entire clinic was bribed, Dick made a press conference and then they could paint an entire apartment yellow with "nearly an hour to spare" before Jordan arrived for his meeting twelve hours since issue eight.
    • This is probably because Frank Miller is utilizing non-linear storytelling. Sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the "11 hours earlier" in the same issue.
    "WHAT TIME IS IT?!" - Linkara and many others frustrated about all the X hours earlier"
  • Unusual Euphemism and Inherently Funny Words: Black Canary is called lovechunks.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Both Robin and The Green Lantern call out Batman for his Bat-shit crazy behavior. Ironically, Batman also gets to call out Robin when Robin crushes Green Lantern's throat.
  • Who Are You?: The second issue included this memetic exchange (which effectively set the tone for the series as a whole):
    Dick Grayson, Age 12: Who the hell are you anyway, giving out orders like this?
    (Goddamn) Batman: What are you, dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the Goddamn Batman.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Goddamn Batman fantasizes about what he could do with Green Lantern's ring - force everyone to think his way. God help us.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Poor Superman and Green Lantern are oblivious to the fact that they're in a post-9/11 Frank Miller comic. Because of this, the Goddamn Batman can easily manipulate them both.

"A rotten joint; it sits there like something that came out of the back end of a horse."