Hey, first post guys, though I've been reading the boards a while, and thought I'd post a topic.
So I just got done reading the TPB of ASBAR, and while I understand completely why this interpretation is so polarizing, I found it to really be an awesome piece of work and I really hope that Frank Miller and Jim Lee can finish it up.
One thing which I find confusing is how anybody would interpret it to be satirical when I think clearly it's not .
I just found the characterization of everyone involved to be really sort of fascinating. Yes, Batman is acting like a complete, world-class A-hole throughout, but really reading his internal dialog, you realize it's entirely an act , and he's treating Dick so badly only because he feels he has to. It's Bruce at a young, brash, and despite his obvious intelligence, somewhat foolish stage, and in spite of his confidence in his own ability, in reality, he isn't nearly as sure as he makes himself out to be. I think, actually, the story and characterization really humanizes Batman in a way which hasn't really been done before. He's making mistakes, he's feeling doubt, and hiding it beneath this bravado of self-assuredness and, basically, meanness. He's playing like he's crazy, and in some respects, he is, but not nearly so much as he'd like everyone to believe. He does it as a mechanism to frighten criminals.
Then, as a striking contrast to that, you have Miller's interpretation of the joker, which I found to be completely frightening. The joker really is insane, and really is that mean and that much of a b*stard. It isn't a front, he isn't pretending or trying to compensate for something by acting that way like Batman is. He just is that way. I think Miller's really captured the core of the joker here, and why he's so scary. He's just chilling in his coldness and his apathy.
What I'm trying to say, I guess, is that Batman is pretending to be this cold, heartless son of a bi*ch, but beneath all of that, he really does care. He cares a lot . And then you've got the joker who actually is that cold, heartless son of a bi*ch, and the contrast within the story is apparent I think. And the difference between the two characters is apparent, but also at the same time, it's interesting how their difference is so perfectly opposite of one another, so much so, that it highlights the much talked about dynamic of how both Batman and the joker are two sides of the same coin, how they each represent the extreme sides of the same spectrum.
I think also the dynamic between Bruce and Dick is wonderful. I know this is a point of contention within the fan community, how Bruce treats Dick. But like I said earlier, I think it's to highlight Bruce's own uncertainty at that early stage in his career. This sort of need to be right, to be without doubt, and how he forces that on Dick, and then ends up paying for it. It's about Batman learning, I think, and not being perfect. Bruce doesn't really want to treat Dick like he does. But it isn't about what he wants. It's about what he thinks he needs . And in the process, forgetting what Dick needs.
I think a lot of people mischaracterized what Frank Miller was trying to do here, and took it at face value, when it really runs much deeper then that, I feel.
Just my opinion, of course. But thought I might share it. I really do hope they finish it up, because I'm really interested in seeing where this goes.
And, by the way, Jim Lee's art is simply fantastic too! He really is an awesome artist!