The Dark Knight Strikes Again Review by Deffinition
Being the only issue written after 9/11, Book 3 severely shifts the tone of The Dark Knight Strikes Again.
Devastated by the Brainiac ship from last Issue, Metropolis is in ruins. Clearly inspired by the devastation after the Twin Towers, the art is a lot more striking in these sections due to its realistic tone. Buildings are in ruins, citizens are battered and there is a smog of dust that overlaps everything, blocking out all light.
Heroes search for their family amongst the rubble and whilst initially never meant to be in the book it actually feels like it’s strongest, most poignant moment.
Unfortunately this depth lasts as long as the Cheeky Girl’s career and we are quickly thrust into the nonsensical, over bearing news reports on the events.
Carrying over from the prior issue are the Superchix a quasi online/super hero inspired rock group. Poorly drawn and oversexualised, they feel like the worst element of every page they appear on. They will make you wish that the Cheeky Girl’s career had lasted longer.
That joke has come full circle. I’m awesome!
Demonstrating how out of touch Frank Miller is with youth culture these seem to represent the internet generation. Millennials who go to abstract creations to tell them what to think and feel.
Honestly it’s terrible. When a revolt is started at one of their concerts in order for Batman to gain troops, it feels like a bad version of the mutant uprising in The Dark Knight Returns.
In the source material that motif was fresh and invigorating but here it feels more annoying than that fat girl who cries at every party. Yeah at first we were like I need to do something about This but now it’s like ‘just leave her alone, McDonald’s is open 24/7 so I don’t know what she’s complaining about.’
That metaphor doesn’t work but it just shows that when things happen over and over eventually you lose your interest in them. Like #StopKony2012.
But I digress.
The World’s Finest
Tracking down Superman due to a homing device that the Atom placed in his ear, Batman confronts the blue Boy Scout. After revealing that he is a pawn for the government due to Kandor being in Lex’ possession, The Dark Knight decides to help him.
It would be a triumphant moment…but…Batman decides to go round telling everyone that if they want his help that they work for him. He shouts ‘You Work For Me!’ Going on a crazy power trip like that one guy at work who gets paid 10 pence an hour more than you so thinks you’re a no good, dole scum, full time yummy mummy.
Lara rebel’s against This but Clark informs her that Bruce can speak to her anyway he likes because he’s in charge. Which is a face palming moment.
I love Batman but when he’s made out as an unlikeable, Justin Bieber type, Ego Maniac, it’s hard to.
This is worse than when Bieber said that Anne Frank would’ve been his fan. Oh yes I’m sure she would’ve loved playing your music in the attic through her iPod headphones Justin, I’m sure.
The Final Showdown
The heroes launch their attack on Luthor and Brainiac. At some point Batman has been captured and is tortured repeatedly at the mercy of Lex. Of course this is a trap, Batman meant to get caught yada yada yada, you’ve heard it a million times. Wanting to distract Luthor so that Green Lantern could foil his plan it seems slightly counter-intuitive. Batman, whilst cunning, isn’t stupid and he would never allow himself to be beaten so badly just to see the look on someone’s face when he got the drop on him. He’s insane, not a maniac.
Whilst analytically the ending doesn’t work that well, in its moment and presentation it is actually a good send off to the main plot. The book should end at this point, however Miller has other plans.
Operating in the background, Dick Grayson has slowly stalked Carrie Kelly. Taking on the appearance of the Joker he makes his final move. In the Batcave he attacks the Girl Wonder and has her at Death’s Door until the caped Crusader turns up.
Whilst in the right hands this left field twist could have ended the book on a devastating final showdown, Miller’s goofy portrayal of a regenerating, invincible Grayson is lacking.
He gets beheaded, catches his head, sticks it back on his body, loses limbs, they grow back and it’s just…goofy.
Miller never really set up for this twist, we get no insight into the previous Robin’s motives and it just seems like an unwarranted turn for the character. Never in all of his history has he been presented as unhinged and for it to just appear here at the end, it comes across as completely underdeveloped.
It has no reason to be in the book. It adds nothing and feels completely ridiculous.
Bruce beats the boy wonder, destroying the cave and the World returns to normal.
It’s a bland finish that doesn’t quite end on the poetic triumph that the prior storyline did.
Whilst nowhere near as bad as the awful second issue, Book 3 still under-delivers. The fact Miller took a year to work on this Issue is completely unbelievable, I have no idea what he was doing but it certainly wasn’t writing or taking art lessons.
Possessing moments of genius in the 9/11 inspired sections, it’s even more crushing to see these pages padded out with scantily clad women spouting dribble.
There is so much potential here but Miller completely drops the ball in an almost unforgivable fashion.
That’s why this Issue gets a 4/10.
The Dark Knight Strikes Again was never going to live up to it’s predecessor. However, one could expect at least some of the quality from the ground breaking title to carry over in some way.
Side by side the books feel like they were created by a completely different team, so it’s unbelievable to see that most of the creative talent behind the primary story still remain. I really don’t know what happened here. It’s poorly drawn, paced and written.
Possessing more cons than it does pros it’s difficult to recommend this book to anyone other than the most diehard of fans. The first issue is a fun ride but none of the goodwill from that initial experience carry’s over and by the end of the book you will just want it to end.
The best thing about that book is that it in no way impacts the Dark Knight Returns. Frank Miller didn’t have any element that retconned the previous title and because of that it doesn’t completely ruin your childhood. He’s not George Lucas.
I suppose in the same way that Lucas never showed a young Han Solo running around playing football with kid Chewbacca, Miller creates a book that has no consequence.
So I suppose that’s a good thing?
Of course it’s not.
I can’t blame Miller for everything, I’m sure his drug dealer played a big part too. I’M JOKING I’M JOKING FOR LEGAL PURPOSES I HAVE TO POINT OUT THAT I’M JOKING.
A book that every Bat fan should read at least once to see how bad it is…
Overall this gets a…