Is This The Worst Batman Comic Ever?

From The Dark Knight Returns... to this?!

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DC Comics/Jim Lee

You'd struggle to find a name in comics that courts as much reverence and controversy as Frank Miller. The writer/artist revitalised Batman in the 1980s with works like The Dark Knight Returns and Year One, and presided over acclaimed runs on Daredevil, Wolverine, and later creator owned works like Sin City and 300.

At the same time, his legacy - while unquestionably influential - has been marred by a series of controversies over the last few decades. From bizarre tirades issued against the occupy movement in the late noughties, to the obvious racism of Holy Terror, Miller today is simply not the Miller of yore. And yet he keeps finding work, with DC evidently eager to rehabilitate the creator's image, and capitalise on the nostalgia there is for his classic and indeed seminal works.

Except, regardless of his own public controversies, Miller has also struggled critically over the last twenty years. The Dark Knight Strikes Again was touted as a long anticipated follow-up to TDKR, but it was poorly executed, and is today considered one of the worst Batman comics of the modern era. Likewise, further forays into Batman and Sin City also proved to be divisive, while 2019's Superman: Year One is quickly cementing itself as one of the most peculiar reads of the year.

For all the faults of Miller's recent bibliography though, one comic stands out above all others as being the most brazenly offensive - All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder.

DC Comics/Jim Lee

DC's All Star line was meant to pair the medium's biggest talents together, and when they twinned Miller with superstar artist Jim Lee, it was heralded as a match made in heaven. Miller would flesh out the world he created in TDKR with a comic set decades earlier, while Lee would get to continue his hot-streak after providing art for Batman: Hush, which had concluded towards the end of 2003.

Only, the end result proved to be anything but. By the time it had finished in 2008, All Star Batman & Robin was considered among the worst Batman stories ever told, with Miller's characterisation of the World's Greatest Detective drawing ire from pretty much every corner of the character's fanbase. Lee's art was impeccable as ever, but Miller had gone completely off the rails, leading the charge on a version of the Dark Knight who revelled in violence, ableist slurs, bizarre sexual encounters, and what would probably be considered child abuse by any lawyer or court worth their salt.

The end result is something quite impressive - but for all the wrong reasons. All Star Batman is an all star mess, and quite possibly the worst comic ever to feature the Caped Crusader...

Comics Editor
Comics Editor

WhatCulture's very own Comics Editor. Cats, comic books and spaghetti westerns are my thing. Talks about stuff @EwanRuinsThings