The Literature Hub
COmic Books & graphic novels
Guest reviewed by Cameron Corban
Writer: Frank Miller (w/Klaus Janson & Lynn Varley)
Publisher & Pages: DC Comics
Audience: General. Any fan of Batman-this is a must.
Blurb: It’s been 10 years since the last sighting of Batman in Gotham City. No one knows if he died, was kidnapped or simply disappeared. Society is crumbling in the once great city of Gotham thanks to the new threat of a gang simply known as ‘The Mutants’.
Bruce Wayne, now 55 years old is watching the work he put in fighting crime burn all around him. Hanging up the black cape after the death of Jason Todd (Robin), he has resigned himself to a life of a thrill seeking, close to suicidal, philanthropist.
With Gotham facing new threats, old foes returning and the worlds remaining heroes being used as tools for the White House, Batman is needed now more than ever. The Dark Knight Rises follows Bruce Wayne’s battle with his own mortality, his own moral code and his former friend-Superman.
Highlight: The Batman/Superman fight. The dialogue and tone is perfect-one of DC’s greatest moments in comic history.
Caution: A darker tone makes it one of the more violent stories in Batman’s history.
Highlight: Frank Miller is really the first Batman artist to display Joker and Batman’s relationship as a Yin & Yang system. Perfect for any Batman fan.
Review: This is the story that set the tone for the next 20 years of Batman story telling. Miller turned Batman into the more aggressive crime fighter that hes known for today as opposed to the sometimes campy version that had been previously portrayed.
The Dark Knight Returns challenges everything that Batman stood for up until this point. He has to battle with both his age and his choices of the past as well as deal with the fallout of his original code of ethics.
This is a must read for any comic fan, no matter if you’re a DC fan or not. The illustrations lend subtle details to the story at hand with uncomplicated panels but vivid imagery such as a scene that depicts Jim Gordon sitting on his bed, mulling over his current situation. His wife lays in bed asleep, the sheet askew while Jim’s side of the bed is uncreased and untouched. A beautiful little hint that he hasn’t even attempted sleep, adding an additional layer to not only the dialogue in that panel but the story as a whole.
The concept of a fight between DC’s two top characters of Superman and Batman had not been properly looked into until this stage. Two icons clashing it out, one a mere man while one was depicted as a God, the right hand man of the United States President.
The basis of the fight in fact is used in the recent DC Film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s that good and Miller & Co do both characters great justice in the fight and include one hell of a finishing line from Batman to Superman.
Story Rating: 4.5/5 The story is unique; it offers an alternative look into how the death of Jason Todd had long term ramifications to Bruce Wayne and gives us a glance of how much one man can influence an entire city when he disappears. One of the best DC stories you’ll find. Its ahead of its time and really shaped the next couple of decades for Batman.
Illustrations Rating: 4/5 Not overly complicated but lends a dark tone of mystery to the Batman character. Did exactly what it needed to-make Batman ‘cool’ again to a new generation of Bat-fans.
Overall Rating: 4/5 It’s hard to find a comic book that can be picked up and enjoyed by both hardcore comic fans and the casual movie goer who may be reading a comic for the first time. A must for anyone to read.