Mississippi Goddamn: Graeme goes to Gotham, 7/25.

In a mad rush! In a mad rush! Flying to San Diego tomorrow to embarrass Douglas Wolk on his panel on Saturday, and that can mean only one thing: Lots and lots of stuff to deal with at work in order for me not to have a nervous breakdown over the weekend. Well, two things: It also means short reviews, so...

ALL-STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER #6: The following lines of dialogue appear in this issue: "I've got a whole different problem with the goddamn Batman." "What really bugs me about the goddamn Batman is what he's turned into." "The goddamn Batman has become a goddamn urban legend." "Oh, sweet Jesus! It's the goddamn Batman!" FRANK. I GET IT. Please, just move on already, will you?

(Mind you, if moving on means more dialogue like the Black Canary's weird Irish-esque monologue - "Oh, you tease a poor Colleen, don't you now? These aren't my daily dainties" - then maybe you should stick with the goddamn thing for awhile longer.)

What's become the most interesting thing about this book is the way that it's completely passed the point of self-parody by now. Not only is there no real plot development in this issue to speak of (Instead, we get the introduction of another new character, after #5's Justice League - well, really, Wonder Woman - and Black Canary in either #4 or #3, because I can't remember back that far; this time, it's Batgirl, who again doesn't really add that much to the story other than playing the Carrie Kelley role from Dark Knight in the same way that Black Canary plays the Catwoman role from Year One. The new characters have gotten so important to this book, it seems, that poor Robin doesn't appear at all this issue, despite his name being the biggest thing on the cover), but I didn't even expect any when I started to read it, in the same way that I expected crappy dialogue and cliched narration and Jim Lee to be Jim Lee. While I feel that, on any serious scale, this would be a crappy comic, somehow by sheer force of will, ASBARTW has transcended beyond that; all I can really say is that it's a very All-Star-Batman-And-Robin-The-Boy-Wonder-y issue of the series and that, taken on its own terms, it's actually Good. Just don't go anywhere near it if you didn't like the first five issues.

BATMAN #666: There's a thread on Newsarama where fans go on about how terrible they found this issue, but I've managed to convince myself that they're reading an entirely different comic book than I was; this one-issue flash forward into a hellish Gotham (Hey, it's #666!) where both the hero and the villain have made deals with the devil was fast-moving, fun and nonsensical in the best way - like coming in on the final ten minutes of a movie that you really wish you'd caught the start of. Good if not great, but with enough style that you don't care, anyway.

Tomorrow: Maybe no reviews, or maybe even shorter ones...