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Gratuitous T&A Watch #1

DC launched All Star Batman and Robin: The Boy Wonder with much fanfare. Not only did they sign Frank Miller to write it, they also promised a dramatic retelling of the story of how Batman gained his famous sidekick.

The story opens with a character not seen in comics for a long time - Vicki Vale, the sassy journalist who was Bruce Wayne's flame around the time he met young Dick Grayson. However, Frank Miller decided to add a new... dimension to Vicki's character. The comic opens with the following splash.

Umm... so apparently, high-profile journalists like to walk around their apartments in lacy lingerie and high heels while sipping a martini and dictating their articles. (Mental note - ask Motheater, eM, Mangs, et al). This is an interpretation of Vicki we haven't seen before - at least Frank's keeping his word on the dramatic retelling part.

Having treated us to a long shot, we now get a close-up of Vicki's cleavage.

followed by a shot of her sucking on her finger for no apparent reason,

finishing off, quite naturally, with a butt shot (yeah, I know you want to see this one).


I hope nobody missed the innuendo in the text panels. I knew you were too busy gawking - go back and read them.

Now lets get something straight - Frank Miller is famous for this kind of blatant sex-and-violence approach to comic writing. All his men are remorseless killing machines, and all his women are hyper-sexualised pin-ups. However, while this formula was extremely successful in the dark, noir Sin City, it falls completely flat here. Sin City's Basin City was a decadent hellhole where every kind of perversion flourished and the characters beautifully exemplified the depths of its depravity. Batman's Gotham is crime-infested but not nearly as far beyond redemption. While his darker take on Batman himself is a good step, he spoils it all by throwing in the cheesecake - sex has NEVER been a driving force in Batman's life, and Miller should know that, having written the classic Dark Knight Returns and Batman:Year One. Also unlike the women of Sin City, Vicki is not a pole dancer or a two-bit whore - she is a rich, successful professional in a relationship with the city's richest and most eligible man. WHY was it necessary to write her as a sexpot?

The trail doesn't end there. After five pages of Vale in Victoria's Secret, we are treated to an extra-long sequence of her picking out a dress to wear to a date with Bruce Wayne, that is straight out of Betty and Veronica. In the end she chooses the dress that makes her look the most like a Vegas hooker, and heads for the circus. Then artist Jim Lee restores the gender balance by drawing a Robin who seems far too well-developed to be 12 years old (Nope - no pictures).

Towards the end of the book there is another de rigueur scene that harks back to Sin City - corrupt cop bitch-slaps the prostitute with the heart of gold. Take a look at this,

and now this.

Please note how he still hasn't given up on the innuendo.

I'm sorry Frank, but this book needs to be published with a large red 'R' posted across the cover. What happens in Sin City should stay in Sin City.

I don't know why I didn't comment on this before, but this IS jim lee. I mean the dude is known for drawing anatomically perfect beings. There is nothing wrong with that, but somehow it just seems to distract from the story and it doesn't feel right. Just like on the WB you will never see a fat person. EVER.

errr..you forgot the marauder

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