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YMMV / All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder

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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • "I touched my mother's breast." Okay, we know Frank didn't mean for that to sound sexual, but it still brings up unpleasant mental images.
    • Some of the things Batman says about Robin are worded very unfortunately, even with proper context. Just one example has him commenting on the boy's "fast hands [and] big mouth."
    • Alfred's description of Bruce as his "black eyed angel" doesn't sound too good either, especially since he also strips Dick naked and dresses him in his sleep.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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  • Arc Fatigue: The series had a lot of Padding with characters and subplots that don't seem to be important to the main narrative; it was infamous for its Schedule Slip, resulting in issues being released months apart (and Issues 4 and 5 had a full year between them), and the story being told didn't seem very good anyway. The result is that when the plot actually did begin to move forward, no one cared anymore. It has been noted that in all that time, not much actually happened. By the 10th and (unintentionally) final issue, much of the plot is still where it was in issue one, with plot points having been shown but not advanced as we cut back and forth.
  • Awesome Art: Say what you want to about the writing, but the art is amazing, both the interiors and the covers. The art is what sold the book; all the critics who absolutely hated the writing said DC could do the fans a better service by reprinting the books with blank speech bubbles.
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  • Author's Saving Throw: Miller apparently got wind of criticisms towards Batman making Robin eat rats, since there are lines of narration in Issue 10 where Batman explained he lived in Gotham's sewers and lived off of the rats in order to learn how to live without his inherited fortune...which begs the question of why he thought it'd make as much sense for Dick Grayson Age Twelve to follow suit, considering Dick wasn't exactly living a life of luxury growing up in a circus.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Neo-Nazi woman with swastika pasties standing guard outside a motel door. It's supposed to be a Continuity Nod to an extra that appeared in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns but...yeah, it's just too weird to work.
    • A lot of events in the comic go nowhere and have no importance to anything except for Padding. Black Canary, Catwoman, Batgirl, Vicki Vale, Jimmy Olsen, and the Justice League all feature in the series, but across ten issues they each only get one or two scenes in which they do little, if anything, of relevance. Given that Miller considers this series in-canon with his Dark Knight Returns saga, he's probably including them to build continuity...but the series is supposed to be about Batman and Robin distilled to the essence of what has made them enduring icons, yet Miller constantly cuts away to other characters.
  • Bile Fascination: The whole reason the book continued selling and people have tried to go back and read it archived: once word about it began to spread, those who hadn't read it yet just couldn't believe it was that bad.
  • Crack Pairing: Batman and Black Canary.
  • Crazy Awesome: What a lot of Batman's actions appear to be intended as. Unfortunately, he ends up looking just plain crazy.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Aside from the snail's paced story and all the Padding, most of the characters in the series are sociopathic jerks, incompetent idiots, or both. Between Batman brutally beating up criminals in ways that could kill them or cripple them for life, Black Canary and Batgirl being violent vigilantes who idolize Batman and emulate his behavior, the Justice League kowtowing to Batman for no reason (save for Wonder Woman, who wants to kill him, and otherwise viciously hates all men), and Jim Gordon cheating on his alcoholic wife, it's hard to feel sympathy for anyone in this comic. The exception to that is Dick Grayson, age twelve, but the kid is psychologically traumatized and physically and emotionally abused by Batman in a deliberate attempt to mold Dick into a "detective" like him, so Dick's presence also heightens how loathsome Batman is.
  • Designated Hero: The Goddamn Batman, who is psychotic, brutal, and an-all round Jerkass. He kidnaps Dick Grayson, age twelve (albeit from Dirty Cops that were about to kill the boy), and then forces him to live alone in the Batcave, expecting him to hunt the rats and bats in there for food. Then he complains about having Dick around and repeatedly insults and assaults him for getting on his nerves. He goes out on patrol laughing about how awesome he is and how much he loves being Batman as he gleefully poisons criminals, sets them on fire, and attacks police officers; while it isn't outright stated, Fridge Horror implies many of the victims of these incidents don't survive the encounter. And he thinks that if he had a Power Ring like Green Lantern, he would use it to enforce his will on the world, destroy (unspecified) enemies of the United States, and exile Superman from Earth—which is basically the backstory for Sinestro; using a Power Ring for selfish, tyrannical means was the reason he was cast out of the Green Lantern Corps. Why are readers supposed to like this depiction of Batman, exactly? It says something when the Villains Wiki has an entry for him.
  • Designated Villain: The Justice League are repeatedly insulted and mocked by Batman as a "joy luck club" for ineffectual morons. While this is accurate to how Miller is writing them, all the Justice League does in terms of their interactions with Batman is call him out on his crap, particularly that he's an insane nutjob that's making superheroes look bad and should try and tone it down a bit for the sake of everyone. And they're absolutely correct.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Alfred, for refusing to put up with Batman's crazy crap.
    • Hal Jordan, for calling out Batman on his terrible treatment of Dick Grayson, age twelve, and being pretty much the only hero that doesn't do or say anything horrible or offensive—which is ironic, given Frank's opinion of him.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Many fans like to believe that this story (and The Dark Knight Strikes Again) is in no way connected to Batman: Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. (However, they're just fine with ASBAR and Strikes Again being connected to each other; ASBAR Batman eventually toning down somewhat to become TDKSA Batman but it being too late and his horribleness being the catalyst for Robin's Face–Heel Turn makes total sense... almost too much sense for either book.)
  • Faux Symbolism:
    • The close up on Vicki Vale's panties reveal that the design is that of a Bat. This, much like Vicki Vale herself, has no real importance to anything.
    • When Dick Grayson, age twelve, is huddling alone in the Batcave, his shadow cast on the floor forms an "R." It's probably supposed to foreshadow that he's going to become Robin, but considering the series is called "All-Star Batman and Robin" and Dick is prominently featured on most of the covers, often in full Robin costume, it's not so much foreshadowing as it is symbolism for the sake of symbolism.
  • Fountain of Memes: It is, after all, Batman Turned Up to Eleven—now with extra crazy flakes.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: At one point, Jim Gordon complains about the possibilty of Jim Jr. becoming a hippie. Given some of the stuff Jim Jr. got up to in the main DCU, this Jim Jr. being a hippie is the last thing this Jim should worry about.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The 1994 Batman/Spawn crossovernote  had Batman riled up at Spawn's lethal methods, vexing him to the point where he chucked a batarang in Spawn's face when Spawn asked to shake hands. At the time it was understandable; in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, he never used lethal force. After his child abusing, cop-killing antics in All Star Batman his attitude towards Spawn killing seems flat out hypocritical. However, it's completely in line with Miller, as Spawn asks Batman why not kill the villain - and Batman can't think of anything. Face Palm.
    • Likewise, a lot of scenes from Year One. Especially the scene early on where Bruce breaks out of a cop car but winds up crashing it and still goes out of his way to save the two unconscious cops inside, even one of which is shown to be somewhat of a dick because of his willingness to let Bruce bleed to death, in light of the cop-killing scene early on in ASBAR.
    • As Linkara pointed out, Frank Miller once said he considered Batman the most pure and good of all DC superheroes. Fast forward to this comic and suddenly we have the Goddamn Batman smirking gleefully as he slams the Batmobile into cops, abducting Dick Grayson, Age Twelve, and being terrifyingly cruel to him, and generally running around acting so brutally out of character that Linkara dubs him "Crazy Steve" because even "Batman In Name Only" is still too much like Batman. Also, Holy Terror was conceived by Miller as a Batman story before being changed to a new character called The Fixer.note 
    • At one point in the story, Crazy Steve contemplates taking Green Lantern's ring for himself. Although the general idea of Batman becoming a heroic Green Lantern was explored in the One Shot Batman: In Darkest Night, Dark Nights: Metal (which came after ASBAR) features The Dawnbreaker, who's essentially what an unhinged Batman could be if he became a Green Lantern.
    • On the same token above, Batman laughs like a psycho, with Linkara comparing him with The Creeper. Considering how sociopathic this version of Batman is, no doubt someone would compare him with The Batman Who Laughs.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • This line:
    • The love scene between Batman and Black Canary also count. In the story, they make out while keeping their masks on. The scene might be Squick, sexy, or even outright funny to some people. Fast forward three years later, Batman and Catwoman have SEX with their masks on.
    • Although the "I'm the Goddamn Batman" is the most remembered part of the quote, right before it he says "Who the hell do you think I am?"
    • When 12-year-old Dick Grayson, age twelve, initially creates his costume with a hood, Batman cynically tells him to drop it, since according to him, this would be impractical in a fight. Flash-forward to Grant Morrison's mainstream Batman run, when Damian Wayne becomes the new Robin. His costume includes a hood. (Linkara has theorized Morrison might have done this on purpose as a Take That! to this comic.)
      • This is acknowledged in the comic itself. Dick (who has taken up the Batman mantle) mentions how Batman taught him that a hood would limit his line of sight, but Damian proves that, having been trained from a far younger age than Dick, he can fight perfectly fine with the hood.
      • A later comic by Morrison, though, has the Bruce Wayne Batman scold Damian for having a hood in his outfit.
    • This Batman's actions are very similar to those of The Red Death from the aforementioned Dark Nights: Metal.
      • He's even more akin to the gun-wielding Grim Knight of The Batman-Who-Laughs self-titled mini-series. In particular, the Grim Knight and Crazy Steve are both out and out fascists who rant and ramble about their superiority.
  • Idiot Plot: In numerous minor ways, the "plot" of the series, such as it is, only happens because everyone is stupid.
    • The main plotline Batman concerns himself with is tracking down Jocko Boy, the man who killed Dick's parents, and bringing him before Dick. Except that Batman had apprehended Jocko Boy the night of the murders, poisoned him, and then let him go while Batman dealt with Dick.
    • The Justice League strongly disapproves of Batman's methods, and Wonder Woman openly wants to kill him, but all they do is send Green Lantern to deal with him. Said "dealing" takes the form of basically a stern talking to and a finger wag. This despite the fact that any one of the League's members should easily be able to apprehend Batman on their own, never mind four-on-one, but in the hands of Frank Miller they're too stupid and ineffective to do anything but complain.
    • Batman has to try and cover up the fact that Dick Grayson, age twelve, is Robin...entirely because he took Dick in front of plenty of eyewitnesses, including Vicki Vale, who got photographs of it and was able to publish a newspaper article about Batman kidnapping a little boy.
  • Memetic Molester: It's often been pointed out that the way Batman treats Robin can get really uncomfortable. Says he's been watching him before Robin was orphaned, takes him away without the kid's consent, smiles as he thinks about putting the kid through hell...
    "Fast hands, my little Robin. Fast hands, big mouth."note 
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Several lines in the series, as well as the series itself:
    "I'm the Goddamn Batman."
    • And then Miller had exactly the wrong reaction to the Goddamn Batman meme, as he threw the word more and more into Batman's lines until it's practically a Verbal Tic.
    • Dick Grayson, age 12.
    • "Damn you and your lemonade!"
    • Thanks to a certain critic, referring to this series as "ASBAR".
  • Mis-blamed: It's common for people to put the blame on Frank Miller for the comic's Schedule Slip. However, Jim Lee stated that it was because of how long it took him to draw the book that it fell behind.
  • Narm: The entire comic. It's obviously trying to be dark, edgy, and gritter, but just comes off as bizarre and silly.
    • The dialogue has provided plenty of opportunity for memes and mockery, which characters constantly repeating themselves several times in a row, talking in sentence fragments, and just saying dumb things. At several points it's evident that the repetition and sentence fragments are supposed to be a Madness Mantra or because a character is excited, like when Vicki Vale keeps describing the murder of Dick's parents as "brutal", and Alfred keeps repeating himself because she's in shock from what she saw and the car crash she was just in and he's trying to calm her down; except, again, this is how most characters in the comic talk, so it just comes off as silly.
    • As if picking up on the Memetic Mutation, Miller starts overusing the hell out of "Goddamn Batman" like it's going out of style, bordering on once an issue at least. It stops reading like a serious exclamation and more like that's just his hero name now, and it becomes a signature phrase for Frank Miller to the point that his later works liberally toss around "goddamn" all the goddamn time.
    "What, you've got a car? You're the goddamn Batman and you need yourself a goddamn car?"
    "Sure I do. ... Batmobile, find me."
    "Not one word. I've taken enough grief for 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."
    • In the midst of an attempt at a dark, gritty, and bleak storyline where Batman is a straight up Sociopathic Hero, there's his method of dealing with the Green Lantern powers: by painting himself, Robin and an entire house yellow (and seemingly even his own teeth judging by one panel) and then offering Hal a cup of lemonade to rub in their immunity to his powers. It's like a quick trip into a wackier and zanier comic than this one tries to be, right down to the immortal line "Damn you and your lemonade!".
    • The fact that Robin—in both narration and spoken dialogue—is constantly referred to as "Dick Grayson, age 12", almost as if "age 12" was part of his name. This often happens several times an issue.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Batman, when he isn't being completely ridiculous.
  • No Yay: "I touched my mother's breast. It bled on me."
    • Similarly, Alfred discussing Bruce in disturbing romantic terms...
  • Older Than They Think: Some readers take exception to the Joker being emotionless and grim, a far cry from his usual depictions. However, his early Golden Age appearances did have the Joker as a more morose character compared to how he would later become known.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Although each issue is arguably infamous in some way, issue 10 was the only one to get recalled—due to a printing error, the text boxes that blacken out profanity were made see-through, and a certain word that would otherwise have been blocked out was visible. As such, any discussion of the issue will inevitably bring up said scene.
  • Padding: The series suffers terribly from this. One critic noted the book felt like Miller was spreading 4 issues of story across 20. To put it in perspective, Batman meets Dick Grayson, age twelve, in Issue 1. They arrive at the Batcave in Issue 4. The time in between (the entirety of Issues 2 and 3) is focused on either repetitive inner monologue from one of them or scenes focusing on other characters (despite this being a book about Batman and Robin). Black Canary's introductory scene takes up half of Issue 3, but all that happens is her getting harassed and her beating up a room full of people, and then she isn't seen again until Issue 6. The Justice League appears in Issue 5 to talk about confronting Batman, but nothing happens about that until Issue 8, and the actual confrontation happens in Issue 9. Finally, while Dick's parents getting killed was the event that began the series, it wasn't until Issue 7 that we actually learn who hired Jocko Boy to carry out the murders, and when the series was cancelled after Issue 10, we still had no hints why they were killed.
  • Signature Line: "Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the Goddamn Batman."
  • So Bad, It's Good: The fact is that most people think this is an awful Batman story. That doesn't stop them from finding it absolutely hilarious.
  • 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.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Swap everyone with their Earth-3 or Antimatter counterparts and you'd actually have a pretty neat rendition of Owlman and Talon's version of Batman and Robin meeting.
  • Strawman Has a Point: When Green Lantern confronts Batman, he points out that Batman is hospitalizing people with his excessive violence and endangering a boy as young as Dick Grayson, age 12.
  • Tear Jerker: The ending pages of issue 9, where Batman throws Dick Grayson, age 12, a bone by visiting his parents' graves so he can properly grieve, only for both of them to dissolve into tears. Even with how messy the rest of the series is, it's a legitimately powerful and almost uncharacteristically sincere scene.
    "We mourn lives lost. Including our own."
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
  • Watch It for the Meme: Many fans just read it to see Batman declare "I'm the goddamn Batman!"
  • What an Idiot!: If Green Lantern had a brain cell in his head, he'd have dismissed Batman's offer to meet him at a time and place of his specification, and just captured him then and there with the power ring on his own terms. Or, at their actual meeting in the yellow house, used his ring to manipulate normal objects that aren't painted yellow—like, say, controlling a normal pair of handcuffs to arrest them, or throwing heavy objects at them (such as bricks).
    • For that matter, there's Batman's plan to begin with. As Linkara pointed out in his review of ASBAR, Booster Gold encountered Sinestro while Sinestro was a Green Lantern in an issue of BG's series, but despite the fact that BG's outfit naturally featured large amounts of yellownote  (which led BG to assume he would be fine against Sinestro), BG lost because Sinestro used methods that didn't involve touching him—meaning that if Hal was at least written semi-competently, all he would have to do was either cover the yellow paint with dirt, or grab something outside the room that Batman didn't paint yellow. (It would be one thing if Batman had sealed all the exits after Hal had entered, but that's not what happened.)


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