All-Star Batman and Robin: the Cliffs Notes Version

Next Wednesday is an exciting and monumental occasion. It is the day that All-Star Batman and Robin #5 finally drops. It's the comic that you love to hate. It will be a great day for comic bloggers everywhere.

Now, the last issue of the jaw-droppingly terrible series came out almost a year ago. Well before I started this blog. I don't want anyone's enjoyment of the upcoming issue to be diminished by the fact that they can't remember what the series is about in the first place, so I am doing everyone a favour. I am going to outline the key plot points of the first four issues, just so we're all up to speed. It's a very intricate and challenging plot to follow, so pay attention:

Issue 1

- Vicky Vale walks around in her underwear and eventually puts on a dress that is somehow more revealing than her underwear for her date with Bruce Wayne. (She is having a date with Bruce Wayne...this is repeated several times in case we can't follow).

- She has a date with Bruce Wayne. They go to the circus where Bruce reveals that he has had his eye on a young boy for some time (young Dick Grayson of the flying Graysons. SPOILER - he's going to be Robin).

- Dick's parents get shot in the head in the middle of the ring. Bruce changes into Batman and grows about an inch of stubble.

- Dick gets escorted out of the circus tent by some comically evil police officers. Vicky tries to stop them and gets her mouth smacked. She then pushes Alfred out of the way and highjacks the Wayne Rolls Royce to hunt chase down the police/Dick. She ends up getting shot, or hit with the Batmobile, or something.

- The cops are about to rough up Robin...because they are evil...when Batman shows up. He grabs poor Dick by the collar and tells him he's just been drafted into a war. Because Batman is also evil. He gasses Dick and literally throws the poor boy into the Batmobile and drives off.

Issue 2

- Vicky Vale has been wounded, and Alfred has torn off his shirt to use as bandages. Vicky regains consciousness and remembers everything, including the fact that the Graysons were murdered "Brutally. Brutally. It was brutal." Weird, overly-sexual Vicky/Alfred posturing ensues.

- While driving back to Wayne Manor, Batman calls Dick "retarded" and refers to himself as "the Goddamn Batman" (Goddamn Batman action figure comes with everything you see here...dead police officers sold separately). He then kills a bunch of cops who are following them, and turns the car into a Batplane. Robin wants to throw up, Batman does not allow it. Robin starts to cry, because his parents were just killed and everything, and Batman smacks him across the face. Batman has a quiet moment of reflection, wondering if maybe what he's doing is wrong. He decides that it isn't. Robin questions the killing of cops, and Batman calls him a little snot.

Issue 3

- Someone who looks and dresses like Black Canary, but who I really hope isn't Black Canary, works in a bar. Then she beats up and/or kills everyone in the bar and jumps on a motorcycle.

- Batman and Dick are still heading for Wayne Manor, now flying. This should really get them there faster. He turns the plane into a submarine, and Robin calls the word Batmobile "queer."

- 15 hours ago in Metropolis(??!!)...Clark Kent crushes a milk carton with Dick's face on it and gets a newspaper slid under his door. The cover story is about Batman kidnapping Dick. Clark burns the paper with his eyes and says "Damn!"

Issue 4

- Vicky Vale dies or something.

- Still en route to Wayne Manor, Dick wonders when they are going to get there, and remarks that it feels like he's been in the vehicle for days. I guess that's a joke. They finally arrive at a Batcave so spectacular, it can only be contained in a six-page fold-out. Batman wants Dick to acknowledge how "cool" the cave is. Dick thinks it's alright. He also tells us that Batman pipes classical music into the cave.

- Batman takes a moment to reflect on how much smarter than Superman he is.

- Dick asks if he can get some new clothes because he's "all sweaty and dirty and I've still got Mom and Dad's blood and stuff all over me." Batman thinks about it, and agrees to get him some clothes. But then he doesn't, and instead leaves Dick alone in the cave for the night. Dick is hungry, and Batman more or less tells him to eat a rat.

- Meanwhile, Superman is bringing a doctor over from France at Batman's request to help save Vicky's life. He's actually running on water, carrying a car. Saying "Damn."

- Alfred serves Dick a cheeseburger and fries. Batman is angry with Alfred, saying that the boy should be forced to eat rats or something. In his head, he calls Dick a brat for the hundredth time in this series.

So, there you go. You're all up-to-date on this masterpiece. I can't frigging wait for Wednesday.