Friday, September 20, 2013

Comic #4: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Author: Frank Miller, Klaus Janson (Illustrator),
             Lynn Varley (Illustrator)
Info: DC Comics, copyright 2002, 197 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): An aging masked crusader dons the mask to save a corrupt city.

Crime runs rampant in the streets, and the man who was Batman is still tortured by the memories of his parents' murders. As civil society crumbles around him, Bruce Wayne's long-suppressed vigilante side finally breaks free of its self-imposed shackles.

The Dark Knight returns in a blaze of fury, taking on a whole new generation of criminals and matching their level of violence. He is soon joined by this generation's Robin — a girl named Carrie Kelley, who proves to be just as invaluable as her predecessors.

But can Batman and Robin deal with the threat posed by their deadliest enemies, after years of incarceration have made them into perfect psychopaths? And more important, can anyone survive the coming fallout of an undeclared war between the superpowers - or a clash of what were once the world's greatest superheroes?

~Goodreads Description~

Sometime in the unknown future, Gotham has once again succombed to the forces of evil.  Left without a hero, Commissioner Gordon has been doing his best to keep the enemies of the night at bay, but with the release of Harvey Dent, the villain known as Two Face, and an army of miscreants known as The Mutants, he is losing the battle. 

In comes Batman.  Bruce Wayne has been failing at retirement, so he dons the cape and mask again to put an end to the string of violence. Harvey Dent, The Mutants, The Joker, Superman...he fights just about everyone in this four part story.

So far, I think I'm more of an Alan Moore girl; there's a smoothness to his writing that I found lacking in Miller's.  The story kept bouncing back in forth between inner-monologue and newscasts that it was kind of difficult to follow.  In fact, at some points, the entire story seemed to be told on the evening news.  I didn't realize Robin was a girl.  Has Robin always been a girl?  And I really enjoyed Dr. Wolper, an illustrate cross between Kurt Vonnegut and Adolf Hitler.  He's a pretty goofy looking man.

This dark tale is stuffed full with a lot to ponder.  Aging and broken, Bruce Wayne/Batman sees it has his duty to fight against evil even though it's killing him, even though there is a price on his head for doing good.  And where do vigilante's stand?  He never did kill anyone.  Does that make him a criminal?  Fighting evil forces in the night?  My only hiccup with Batman is bringing in an innocent.  Risking your own life is one thing, putting someone else in danger is another.  Not that girls can't totally kick butt...

Next Up: The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

 Today on -
"Don't Forget Your Reading Goals"

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