I just picked up the “Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again” TPB today. I regret this. The original “Dark Knight Returns” is one of my favourite comics of all time, and say what you want about Frank “I like whores” Miller, it shows how good of a writer he can be, and the art style was brilliant and really helped visualise the media run quasi police-state of future America. It was superbly written, amazingly visualised, and brilliantly paced. Dark Knight Strikes Again is none of those things.
It just feels like someone drove a big sack of money up to Miller’s house, said “Sequel please” and drove off before Frank could say “Actually I’d rather not.” It feels rushed and half-hearted at best. From the Superman/Wonder Woman sex-scene to Lex Luthor and Brainiac ruling America with virtual presidents, it’s feels like Miller couldn’t be bothered to do a properly well thought out and written script and just threw in as many DC characters as he could to fill up the pages. Speaking of sex, in DKR the few sexual references were rather more subtle and added some sub-text to the story, the sheer amount of “hey look, TITS” stuff in this one just feels like bunging it in for the sake of it. I realise it’s meant to be a commentry on where Miller felt the media was going, but it’s far more heavy-handed than similar commentary in DKR.
The things that annoy me most happen at the end of the book. Through the book you have a Joker look-a-alike murdering people, who is in it for about, what, six to ten pages? Then he turns up at the end, tries to kill Catgirl, and then reveals he’s Dick Grayson. In explaining why he isn’t dead, and seems to be able to heal all we get is “oh I got genetic modification,” and that’s it. No further explanation before he gets blown up. And then there’s Superman. I’m not a huge fan but I know as well as anybody else that Superman does not use his god like powers to rule because of the staunch belief that he doesn’t have the right, and he should use them to help people. This is the key to the moral conflict that he goes through in the original story. But here? At the end he does a complete 180 and decides on the very last page he’s going to rule the world? Why? Because his daughter said so. Oh fuck off.