Book Review: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Millar

darkknightBatman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again by Frank Miller
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Faking his own death and creating an underworld civilization, Bruce Wayne has been keeping his eye on the world above. And as that false Camelot reaches it’s breaking point, it is up to the Dark Knight to emerge from the underground shadows and once again restore order to chaos.

It’s been three years since the events of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and everything is just fine. At least on the surface. What the world at large doesnt know is that it’s a total sham. A perfectly choreographed, pretty little world where everything that is ugly, or even potentially disturbing is all nicely wrapped up with neat little ribbons and swept under the carpet. Only he knows better. He’s watched it fester to near breaking point and it’s time for the only free man left who can effect any real change to bring it all down around their ears once and for all

Written and illustrated by Frank Millar with colours by Lynn Varley.

Batman is in hiding. The JLA has been disbanded and is split between two main fault lines: the holier-than-thou-must protect-the-weak-humans ideology of Superman and the lets-get-it-fixed-no-matter-the-cost attitude of the “missing” Batman.

Batman – who barely appears in a third of the strips – has decided it is time to fight back against all he sees as wrong. The President of the USA is a hologram of a figure who doesnt exist and is controlled by Lex Luthor. People have forgotten about their heroes and believe they either never existed or are dead. Wearing tights is seen as a fashion statement News channels produce inane coverage of just about anything

Oh where to begin (or end?). The illustrations are poor and messy. The inclusion of Catgirl (Carrie, who used to be Robin) and Lara (the daughter of Superman and Wonderwoman) does not counteract the presence of Superchix or the depiction of Wonderwoman herself (and her relationship with Superman). The following sentence, issued by Wonderwoman herself, gives an indication (even in 2002) the graphic novel’s attitude toward women:

Where is the hero who thew me to the ground and took me as his rightful prize?

So are we talking Rape? Forced sex? A touch of BDSM? What?

Anyway, not impressed with this collection, and Mr Millar will not be one I will too eager to follow up on

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