Monday, February 4, 2008

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns review by Athena

My regard for comics is positive for the most part, but I would not venture to say I am an avid fan. Part of is the lack of continuity, and the revisionist and changing nature of characters and stories. I do like a lot of superhero characters and am familiar with most major comic book heroes due to my exposure of the 1990s cartoons. Case in point, I loved Batman: The Animated Series when it first came out in 1992 (ended 1995), and it has remained my favourite version of the Dark Knight. Few animated shows have been that well done or engaging. Kevin Conroy's Batman will always be my personal Batman. The writing on the show was stellar; it is the reason that I find Batman the most fascinating of superhero characters. He is definitely my favourite from the DC JL gang. The animated series was inspired by the Tim Burton movies which was inspired by this Batman serial written by Frank Miller in 1986.

One of the reasons Batman is fascinating and unique (at least in the DC universe) is his darkness, his humanity, and his lack of superhero powers. He's a very flawed man with a lot of personal demons. This serial was influential in marking that return to the noir Batman. It's very well written and illustrated. The plot was fine, but I do not recommend it to people who do not know the character. I did not agree with all of Miller's takes to the Batverse, but I liked that he created a female Robin. There is some commentary within the panels about the media, public security, civil liberties, obsessions, vengenace, and the grey area of vigilantism. It's non-canon and there is a sequel, but I do not think I'll read it. Most of it is that I am too attached to the Batman I know from TAS, and I can't warm to Miller's Dark Knight. Maybe I just don't like Batman when he is old because I was not able to watch Batman Beyond either. (cross posted from

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