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Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Dark Knight Returns - Comics From The Basement


Hello and Welcome to Comics From The Basement…

Today my cousin Elissa is getting married and of course I’m going to be in attendance… not wearing this mind you, this episode was recorded yesterday (hence the date at the start of the video)

But on this joyous day… a comic book is being put through the grinder that is my biased  point of view, and even though I’ve been called a corporate sell out, no one has paid me any anything… except attention when it comes to the occasional ‘like’, ‘dislike’, ‘subscriber’ or comments on my videos.


This week’s comic… is one that I consider the biggest burden on the Batman franchise… the one that basically made it ‘Batman is the most over-powered, over-rated superhero of all time’… I am of course talking about Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns…

Now here me out, I am no fan of Frank Miller, but I like some of his stuff, particularly with Daredevil… but this story, which was a four-issue mini-series released in 1986, has been like a noose around the franchise’s neck for 30 years, and we saw how that strangle hold was clear on display with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year, with the forever excuse of ‘if Batman has enough prep time he can win’ nonsense being basically introduced in this story to the main-stream audience
For those of you who may not know, The Dark Knight Returns basically sees Bruce Wayne returning to the role as Batman after 10 year retirement when things in the world causes him to just snap. Stepping back into his familiar cape and cowl, Batman deals with old foes like Two-Face and The Joker (who has been in a catatonic state) , and new ones like the new Police Commissioner, Mutants and Superman…


You see, in this warped timeline, Superman has basically become a tool for the United States government, putting him and Batman at odds, when after diverting a Soviet Nuke, the United States is plunged into chaos with an electromagnetic pulse… and the US Government is embarrassed when Gotham city ends up the safest in the world thanks to Batman merging two violent groups into a vigilante force… and Superman is ordered to take Batman out…. And if you saw Batman V Superman, you saw how the fight plays out… nearly scene for scene, with the exception of the Green Arrow’s involvement with a Kryptonite arrow (instead of a spear) and Batman basically wins, before dying of a heart attack (if only…)

This comic has some good points, I will grant it that, basically the first three chapters, from setting up the world, how times have changed all the way up until the final confrontation with the Joker is very solid. The introduction of Carrie Kelley and her becoming Robin is very well done…  There is some snarky remarks from Alfred towards Bruce’s decision to return to the life of being Batman, the excessive ‘talking head’ debate that runs rampant through most of the story certainly foreshadowed how TV is these days,


But the final chapter, called “The Dark Knight Falls’ where this story fails, putting Superman and Batman at odds for no reason other than Superman works for the government and they are embarrassed that a rouge like Batman has made the most crime-filled city in the nation ‘safe’ . Superman hates the position he’s in, but it’s how he can protect and save people… he tries to reason with him, but Batman ‘has everything planned out’ to show how ‘superior he is’… and what a load of bunk…

Let’s keep something in mind here: Superman does not want to fight Batman, it’s Batman who provokes the fight and escalates it. If Superman wanted to fight, he’d just melt Bats down with his heat-vision from a safe distance, or fly him up into space, or any other of impressive feats.

And I’m not even diving into Catwoman being a proprietor of an Escort Service, is is later dressed up as Wonder Woman, bound and apparently severely beaten by The Joker...

The artwork in this book… well… Frank Miller is not a good artist… even when he was sane, but there are some bits that look down right impressive, in particular the splash pages. However, this book is extremely wordy and the print at times came be pretty small.

So what’s the verdict with this…  despite my own issues with the story, you have to read it and judge it for yourself, even if everything that is wrong with Batman as a character is introduced in it.

Now where can you get it… well, this one here is the 2012 trade paperback re-print and you basically can go anywhere, mycomicshop.com, eBay or Amazon to find a copy at various prices… hell a 30th Anniversary Edition game out just a few months ago. And you can get your digital version through comixology.com. So no one has an excuse not to read it at least once to make their own judgment call on it.

Next Week… I think I’ll look at something totally different… maybe something involving a brigade… till then, have a good one!

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