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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight Returns
by Frank Miller
(3/5 stars)
I wasn't a big comic book fan even when I was a kid, so I missed out on when this first came up and by all accounts was a Really Big Deal.  It's pretty easy to tell this is the same guy who did the crummy "Robocop" sequels and equally crummy "The Spirit" because of the ridiculous plot, absurd newscasts, and hammy noir-ish narration.

As the title suggests, the story is about (initially) an older Bruce Wayne taking up the old cape and tights ten years after retiring.  Somehow this morphs into a plot involving Superman and nuclear holocaust.  Many of the familiar players like Commissioner Gordon, Two-Face, and the Joker are featured.  There's also a new, female Robin.

Since this was written in the mid '80s it focuses on the Cold War and ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation.  Alan Moore's "Watchmen" similarly covered this ground, only in a less heavy-handed, juvenile fashion.  They're both pretty dated, though this one feels more so.  If you were going to read just one major graphic novel from the '80s, read "Watchmen."

I obviously don't know much about artwork.  Sometimes the crude drawings were distracting.  Especially during some action scenes it was hard for me to tell what was going on.

Despite that I thought this was pretty silly, it was grimly fascinating.  And really it only takes a couple of hours to read through.  But I guess to really appreciate this you would have had to have read it when it first came out.

That is all.

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