Miller Time: All-Star Batman and Robin #8

At4w all star batman and robin 8 by mtc studios-d7u55yx-1024x452.png

August 11, 2014
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Let's put a frown on that face!

Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. (suddenly looks up in thought) Say... (takes out a pocket watch and looks at it) It's Miller Time!

("Miller Time" title is shown)

Linkara: Welcome once again to "Miller Time", which is less an actual time and more like a shattered mirror of time hastily glued back together again in the wrong shape.

(The cover for Frank Miller's "Holy Terror" is shown)

Linkara (v/o): Yes, we're having a "Miller Time" rather soon after the evisceration of "Holy Terror", a review that, according to one commenter, they stopped watching when I said we should give Al-Qaeda the benefit of the doubt.

Linkara: It must be really fun living in your own made-up world where I say and do things that didn't actually happen. Perhaps, in some people's eyes, I'm actually a badger that reviews late-night talk shows. However, here in the real world, I have to review another issue of "ASBAR".

(Cut to black)

Linkara (v/o): (dramatically) Previously on the "All-Star Batman and Robin" reviews...

(Shots of the "ASBAR" series up to this point are shown)

Linkara (v/o): Insane, dangerously psychotic hobo Crazy Steve has broken into Bruce Wayne's mansion and now thinks he's Batman. He kidnaps a traumatized child named Dick Grayson, aged 12, and proceeds to cripple and violently attack criminals. In addition, Black Canary is inspired by Batman to stop being a Hooters waitress, violently attack people, ride around on a motorcycle for six months, and then potentially have sex with Batman in the rain. Also, the Justice League is apparently around and meeting in dingy abandoned factories, where Superman can be grumpy and Wonder Woman can be grumpy and Green Lantern can be ineffectual and Plastic Man can be a dick. Vicki Vale is also around, but she has no bearing on the plot; she is there for fanservice, because Frank Miller is a dirty old man. And that's pretty much all that's happened in seven issues!! Oh, and I guess the Joker was responsible for the murder of Dick Grayson's parents. Because that sure is a novel concept and not just really contrived and stupid.

Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "All-Star Batman and Robin #8" and see how deep this rabbit hole goes.

(AT4W title sequence plays, and the title card has "Hooked On Polkas" by Weird Al Yankovic playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the cover)

Linkara (v/o): Our cover is blecch and bland! It's the Joker, with the giant tattoo of a dragon for some reason, wiping off blood on his hands with the Batman cowl.

Linkara: Spoilers: Crazy Steve and the Joker do not encounter one another in this comic, and Steve never takes off his cowl. Someday, I should write a book about this. (holds up hand to say the title of his book) "Lies This Cover Told Me".

Linkara (v/o): Oh, and a random blood splatter, I think, in the background. While this was drawn by Jim Lee and not Miller himself, the splatter thing is also kind of a trademark of Miller's art, to a lesser degree. Maybe he's just trying to remind us that his art could be worse. It could just be him randomly throwing paint splotches everywhere. And yet, I'm not convinced it wouldn't make for a better representation of the human body than his art. And you know, I'm usually on board with Jim Lee's art, but this rendering of the Joker is kind of awful, unless the Joker is supposed to have a really tiny butt and legs not much thicker than his arms.

(The comic opens to the first page)

Linkara (v/o): We open with the Joker narrating to himself.

Joker: (narrating) Gotham City CRIES. Gotham is an UGLY city, full of SHAME far beyond REDEMPTION. She's a sad old WHORE.

Linkara: Because with Frankie, it always invariably comes back to prostitution.

Joker: But she's BEAUTIFUL when she CRIES. I LOVE her when she CRIES. I love her only when she cries.

Linkara: (frustrated) Oh, my God, Frank Miller, just go and have sex with a building already!

Linkara (v/o): Even the villains are gushing about how much they love their friggin' city! Hey, I know! Let's play a game called "Good Writer, Bad Writer".

(Cut to a black screen with the words "GOOD WRITER" written on it in blue)

Linkara (v/o): Good writer: Scott Synder.

(Cut to shots of two Batman comics: "Gates of Gotham" and "The Court of Owls")

Linkara (v/o): In his Batman books, in particular, "Gates of Gotham" and the "Court of Owls" storyline, he talks extensively about the architecture of Gotham, the symbolic meaning behind every brick and mortar, and then creating storylines where that architecture comes into play and asking the question of who really in charge of said city.

(Cut again to the black screen, this time with the words "BAD WRITER" written on it in red)

Linkara (v/o): Bad writer: Frank Miller.

(Cut to a montage of shots of "ASBAR")

Linkara (v/o): (melodramatically) "I love this city because of vague poetic metaphor! Purple prose, purple prose, purple prose!"

(Cut to a clip of The Spirit)

Linkara (v/o): "Because I love it! I love it! The buildings are like my penis – erect! Because I love it!"

(Cut back to the "ASBAR" comic)

Linkara (v/o): Although, from a narrative perspective, I do get why the Joker is suddenly talking like this, even though he has never talked about Gotham like this before. He's being set up as a dark reflection of Batman, who talks about Gotham as this (as Batman) beautiful, sad thing (normal again) that he also wants to bang. I'll give credit for the attempt, but unfortunately, it really can't get around the fact that it's horrendous writing, continuing Frank's trend of writing everyone in this thing as if it was Sin City. So, what's the Clown Prince of Crime been up to in this comic? Why, he just finished having sex with a lady. Of course.

Woman: I was just joking that maybe you slipped something into my drink. It's really not my style, doing...well, this sort of thing. Not with somebody I just barely met.

Linkara: (laughs) Casual joking about date rape! Frank, I hope you get punched in the crotch by an ornery child.

Woman: I don't think I even got your name.

Joker: They call me the Joker. But I'm not very funny.

(Cut to a clip of an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, showing various Batman villains all staring in awkward silence)

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