I know there a lot of poeple who are huge fans of Frank Miller, and that's fine. I respect that. Even I can admit that he did some really innovative things with Sin City and that The Dark Knight Returns is one of the more revered stories in Batman cannon.
And by mocked I mean even DC has gotten in on it:
There are two things you should be concerned about here, Vicky: 1) your breasts are about to make a break for it; and 2) Bruce Wayne is stalking a twleve year old boy.
That's another thing about this comic: Miller seems to be under the impression that his readers suffer from short term memory loss and are therefore unable to remember Dick's age:
It's like Frank Miller is trying to tell us something...maybe about how old Grayson, Dick is...I just wish I could understand him better.
So Bats basically kidnaps this poor twelve year old and gets really, really creepy:
Bad touch, bad touch! Also, judging by the way his face is angled in this panel that reflection is pretty damn impossible. But I love Jim Lee's art so much that I don't really care.
Next we cut to Black Canary where we get the nuanced and insightful way Frank Miller writes femal characters.
So Black Canary beats up a bunch of guys, feeds one his wedding ring, and then robs them because she's a hero.
And then we cut to this:
Yeah, Batman wanted to make a twleve year old boy eat rats. Oh, it gets even better! Apparently when he was but a wee insane Batlad, Bats up there voluntarily ate rats himself to prove to those other tragically orphaned vigilantes out there that there is no one, absolutely no one, as insane as him.
I have a quick aside to Frank Miller at this point: Is this seriously how you view Batman? As a giant crazy rat eating man who goes around kidnapping grief-stricken, just orhpaned children? Think about that for a bit and get back to me.
Head's up, people, because we are about to deal with a crapload of Frank Miller's issues with women. Behold his version of Wonder Woman:
So he takes the arguably best known femal superhero in the world, a member of DC's biggest tryptich, the strong warrior Amazon heroine Wonder Woman and turns her into a man hating bitch who, when confronted with some Superdickery like so:
Superdickery just used his artic breath to blow her into a wall because she was all "Kill Batman! Dude is crazy! He eats rats!" She has a point. So her response to this is not to retaliate with a sharp left jook to the jaw like I would had done, but with this:
That's right, girls, whenever a man abuses you and hits you, the appropraite response is to make out with him. Frank Miller is passing on a valuable lesson here: every woman just needs a good deep dicking to knock her into shape.
This is pretty much repeated with Black Canary later on. Black Canary may not have Wonder Woman levels of celebrity, she is one of DC's A list heroes, has been in multiple titles, shares one now with Green Arrow, and in general is pretty kick ass. So what does Frank Miller do? He makes her into a man hating bitch who force feeds men their wedding rings and makes out with Batman in the rain.
Your issues with women are showing, Frank Miller, and a comic book is not the place to work through them. Jesus.
And Frank Miller also decides to shove in a young fifteen year old Batgirl into here, and I cry a little on the inside.
So in ASBaRtBW Babs becomes Batgirl because Batman is just so very badass and dreamy he inspires all of these fifteen year old girls to don costumes and go fight hardened criminals at night. Like you do. This is, of course, before Babs learns Bats has manaical laughter to rival the Joker's (oh god, I still have to get to him) and goes around eating rats and kidnapping twelve year old tragically orphaned boys.
I'm not going to focus a lot on Babs here because there is Batgirl: Year One, which is far superior to this and in it Barbara is a real person with a personality, ambitions, and complex reasons for becoming Batgirl, most of which do not have to do with Bats. I am including this panel because Jim Lee's art continues to be amazing.
There's some crap with Jimmy Olsen and Vicki Vale (omg stupid) and I do not care, so let's skip ahead to the docks where Black Canary is beating up guys and taking their money, because she's a hero, and Frank Miller demonstrates his mastery over the English language.
Oh sweet zombie Jesus, what the hell, Frank Miller? I'm not sure if it's supposed to be Batman imitating the noise Jocko is making or if he really, truly is saying "blagg," but either way it is painfully stupid. I'm pretty sure that at some point Miller had a grasp of how to actually, you know, write, but that appears to have left with his sanity.
Next Batman sets some guys on fire. No, seriously.
I'm going to side with the thugs on this one and say burning alive is more painful than being punched in the face. Also, I'm pretty sure this goes against his "no killing" rule, but we have a lot more to cover, so let's keep moving.
He meets up with Black Canary and they make out, like you do, and then there is this exchange about his car:
This is totally Frank Miller whining about how everyone made fun of his awesome"Goddamn Batman" line, which was totally genius, what is wrong with us, can't we see how amazing Frank Miller is?
Bats gives Black Canary a ride back, where he was some pretty insane thoughts. Apparently she talks too much and then he decieds because of Thomas Jefferson and free speech he won't kick her out. Hey, don't look at me, I'm only commenting on this, not actually writing it.
Back at the Batcave Bats hauls out Jocko and gives him as a present to Dick, because this is the man who killed his parents. Dick responds thusly:
Batman is surprised by Dick's backtalk, because obvisouly he showed he cared for the boy by kidnapping him and trapping him in his crazy cave full of rats for the boy to feast upon.
Now we get to move on to the Joker, and I don't know if I can handle this. Deep breaths, Jayne. You're almost done.
So the next issue opens with this:
On the plus side, at least Frank Miller didn't turn the Joker gay to show what's "wrong" with him. On the other hand, OMG WHAT THE FUCK FRANK MILLER? This is a supposedly well educated woman who just had sex with a clown. Most people acknowledge that clowns are terrifying, so can you imagine sleeping with one? And she doesn't wonder why his make-up didn't come off? The thought of sex with a clown just made me throw up in my mouth a little. You're a sick bastard, Frank Miller.
So after he kills her (what a shocker), he opens to the door to greet his personal bodyguard. Remember they are in a hotel that presumably has other people in it. With that in mind we see this:
It is at this point that I am forced to admit that Frank Miller is so insane that he managed to come up with something that is twisted brilliance because at no point in my life would I have imagined a female Nazie with a buzzcut and swastikas over her boobs just hanging out in a hotel lobby. Only one so insane as to have no concept of reality could come up with this.
ASTBaRtBW is so DARK and GRIM that Frank Miller can do away completely with Batman's defining trait of no killing and have him do this to poor Jocko:
Poor Batman doesn't realize yet that this is how DC villians are made. Oh and there's this:
Because the rest of this series totally meets the standards of decency. Oh god, I hate Editor's Notes, especially when they are used in this retarded manner.
Next we have a lot of stuff with Hal Jordan and I am forced, once again, to give Frank Miller some credit because this
is sort of awesome in a dickish way. Batman offering Hal a glass of water in an all yellow room is such a dick move that I can't help but admire it. Fine, Frank Miller, you earn a "heh" out of me, mainly because I'm not a big fan of Hal Jordan, although I don't hate him as much as you seem to, as seen by him being taken down by a twelve year old boy and Batman has to perform an emergency tratechtomy on him with a pen (let's hope it's not yellow!).
The best part is that Bats is all surprsied that the grielf stricken, kidnapped boy he's kept locked up in a cave with rats is unstable enough to attack and almost kill someone, especially when Batman taught him how. Bats is retarded.There's some stuff about Catwoman, which I'm not going to go into much detail about, because if you want to see her complicated relationship with Batman, and have her actually be a person and not a Frank Miller cardboard cutout, go pick up some trades of the Catwoman title. You won't be disappointed.
I will note that the first place Bruce and Selina had sex was here
Next to a river of raw sewage. Must have been so romantic.
Next we cut to Black Canary, who is still going around beating people and taking their money. Look, Frank Miller, I am all for exploring the gray area of trying to be hero and keep people safe but not being an out and out bad guy, and god knows I love anti-heroes, but what you have done here is none of these things. For example:
She just intentionally murdered a bunch of people. That's not a gray area, that is not an anti-hero that is murder. This is not being edgy; this is taking a well-established hero and turning her into a murdering bitch, who wants to recruit other women heroes to help her murder and steal because she doesn't want to develop mannish muscles (seriously), thus dragging down the awesome Birds of Prey all to fullfill your little fantasy world where women are whores. Once again, Frank Miller, a comic books is no place for you issues. Goddamn.
Deep breaths, Jayne, we're almost done.
Oh, there's this retarded, I mean XTREEM panel:
Jim Lee art aside, this is really, really, painfully stupid. God.
Moving on because I feel I've been doing this for as long as Batman and Robin were in the Batmobile, which is approximately elevenity years.
So Gordon's wife gets in an accident and Babs get caught by the police and confronted by her father thusly.
Hey, Frank Miller, since this is not the first comic novel you've ever written, I'm assuming you understand how layout works. By that I mean I shouldn't have to play Where's Waldo with your stupid narrative boxes to find the two people in this panel. Trust me when I say that you're writing is not nearly good enough to warrant such covering up of Jim Lee's art.
And finally ASBaRtBW Issue #10 ends with this:
With Jim calling some woman on the phone who we don't even know while having an internal monologue about crazy-ass Batman. That's some ending, Frank Miller. And by that I mean it really, really isn't.
So this monthly comic book puts out about three issues per years, but I can understand that because it takes time to work up the fine crazy that we've seen here. I mean, you don't just expect Frank Miller to turn Batman into a cruel, sadistic, tewleve year old boy kidnapping, rat eating lunatic overnight, do you? Let's not forget the time it took him to make Dick a little sociopath, either. And it took him longer to fully shape the complex character of man hating Wonder Woman, and even longer to take Black Canary and absolutely destory all her previous decades of characterization. Like fine wine, you have to age this crazy.
Say what you will about Miller's other work, ASBaRtBW is not even close to his best or even most coherent effort. His dialogue is awful, his pacing, as seen by Batman and Robin being in the Batmobile for about eight years, is non existent, and he has absolutely no clue as to the pacing of time within the comic itself. This remains one of DC's top selling titles, when it eventually comes out, mainly because it is so hilariously godawful that people buy it for the mocking value alone, not too mention the ongoing train wreck that is Frank Miller's insanity.
Since I've just about broken this blog with this sinfully long post, I shall pose the final question to you, dear reader: Is Frank Miller just a plain crazy mofo or the craziest mofo? Tell me what you think in the comments!