Monday, May 28, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Title: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Author: Frank Miller
Published: 1986
Synopsis from Goodreads

This masterpiece of modern comics storytelling brings to vivid life a dark world and an even darker man. Together with inker Klaus Janson and colorist Lynn Varley, writer/artist Frank Miller completely reinvents the legend of Batman in his saga of a near-future Gotham City gone to rot, ten years after the Dark Knight's retirement.

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?

Over fifteen years after its debut, 'Batman: The Dark Knight Returns' remains an undisputed classic and one of the most influential stories ever told in the comics medium.

Book One: The Dark Knight Returns
Bruce Wayne hasn't put on the Bat Suit in over a decade. He hasn't talked to Dick in seven years. And he has a MUSTACHE!!

Bruce while still built like a lumberjack is looking old.

But there's a voice inside his head who keeps reminding him who he was, what he needs to do, what has to be done.

Harvey Dent has been rehabilitated, or so his doctors say. His face has been reconstructed, he's served his time in Arkham Asylum, and is now a free man. He's even got an unscarred coin to prove how he's ready for the future.

Well, this is a Batman book... he's not going to just skip down the road and frolic in the meadow. What kind of story would that be?

Bruce's stash magically disappears one night. No really! Alfred is all like, "Yo dude! Where's that rockin' stash of yours?"

And because of that Bruce does the most rockin' thing and SUITS UP!!!!


And just in time because the city of Gatham totally needs some saving!

Book Two: The Dark Knight Triumphant
A new gang is taking over Gotham. A gang of mutants. At least that is what they call themselves. They attacked a girl earlier in Book 1 and Batman saved her. Now she wants to help him. And how you ask... well, she dresses up like Robin, of course!

Running to his aid we see Batman get the living breathing snot beat out of him. It kind of disturbed me. But Girl Wonder is there to help! And Batman digs her style.

Of course they catch the baddy and the baddy just causes more chaos but there might be one man who can understand what's going on... and I'm pretty sure he'll find it to be quite a laughing matter.

Book Three: Hunt the Dark Knight
The city of Gatham is still going bananas! But at least now Batman has a bit of help (even if she doesn't want to listen). Commissioner Gordon finally got his new watch and there's a new sheriff in town. And guess what? It's a woman!!! And she does NOT dig The Batman!

New Commissioner Ellen Yindel has put out a warrant for Batman's arrest. Oh snap! But Batman has bigger fish to fry because those dummies over at Arkham have released The Joker. What are they nuts? He's a free man and is about to do an interview with a late night personality that is sure to be explosive.

And wouldn't you know it? Seems like the President called in Superman to tell Bruce to chill out. And while he does it seems like the butterflies are really digging his pirate stance and flowy shirt and Bruce is like "YO dude! Go away! I play by my own rules". And this has me excited because if there was ever to be a Superman vs. Batman movie then that is how they would do it. Huzzah!

Book Four: The Dark Knight Falls
The Joker is going down in a big flaming way but now the good guys are after Batman! Don't they realize that he's on their side? At least they should realize that! He's ready to take back Gotham and the Sons of Batman are ready to follow in his footsteps.

The Soviets aren't really digging us at the moment and with a nuclear warhead headed straight at us it's up to Superman to save the day. For some reason this kinda ticks off Batman because he's sick and tired of the Man of Steel being all goody goody with anyone who wears a flag pin. So, it's time to bring him downtown!!

Which is freaking awesome because honestly... that's the movie! That has to be the plotline for the movie Hollywood has been talking about making for like EVER! Make it dang it! Make it!

But anyways... Superman is going DOWNTOWN! (say that in a REAL STEEL kinda way) and to get him there we get a cameo from one of my favorite characters.

A fight has begun and only one person is going to walk away.... Can you guess who?

Greta's Thoughts
Wow! This was done in 1986?!! This comic was so freaking ahead of it's time that it's unreal! Loves it! I was only 8 years old when this came out but I wish I would have known about it when I was 14!! But alas... I wasn't very cool so my knowledge of comics only stemmed to Heathcliff and Archie (which at the time were already dated).

I found the parody of David Letterman to be interesting. That would be who interviewed the Joker when he got out. It amazed me how that could still be used today.

Also, since the 80s fashions are back in style you wouldn't even know it was from nearly 30 years ago. BUT! I must admit that I thought the Mutants group looked like a bunch of Max Hedroom/Robocop/Club kids.

I also found the parody of Ronald Reagan to be pretty funny. I don't remember much about the Regan administration because of my age but I do remember my parents griping about him. I'm guessing that the author of the comic was not a Reagan fan.

The Darkness
It made me sad to think of Batman as an old man. I ... did... not... like! It scared me to think of how a hero has to come to an end. How they aren't immortal even though we want them to be. Everyone ages. But I did find it interesting for someone to come up with the idea of Batman having one last hurrah before heading back to the Bat Cave.

None of the Batman movies have been based on this comic book but I did find a couple similarities in the recent Christian Bale movies.

You don't have to be a Batman fan to understand what is going on in this comic book. If you know very little about Batman or have just seen the movies (Like me) or the animated series (me again) then you should do just fine. The side superheros don't require much knowledge either... Although, I have seen every episode of Smallville so that might have helped me out.

I recommend this to anyone who wants to read the comic that paved the way to the modern Batman. It's totally worth it. And once you keep reminding yourself how old the comic is... it will simply blow your mind.

Holy Time Warp Batman!!

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