Saturday, July 19, 2008

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

'Batman: The Dark Knight Returns' was originally a 1986 DC comic book series, written and drawn by Frank Miller. It revived Batman's 1930s roots as a damaged and edgy superhero.

Set in the 'near future', Batman has been 'retired', following the death of the second Robin, and a gang of schoolchildren calling themselves the 'Mutants' are terrorizing Gotham City.

Following a failed attempt to rehabilitate Harvey Dent (Two-face), Batman, erm, returns and defeats Two-face. But rather than hailing Batman as a hero the media questions his motives, portraying him as a dangerous, psychopathic vigilante.

And so begins a sprawling, complex adventure that includes the Joker, Green Arrow, Superman and a 13-year-old female Robin. The drawing and inking is uniformly excellent, and the writing is a good example of how you can maintain a strong narrative without pages of explanatory prose (Watchmen 'cheats' in this area).

If you think that graphic novels are just comics for semi-illiterate growed-ups, this is the book that may change your mind. If it doesn't, I can't think of one that would, except maybe Miller's equally superb Sin City series. Oh well, that's another blog to prepare.


Antony Billington said...

Far be it from me to say that ‘graphic novels are just comics for semi-illiterate growed-ups’... oh, wait a moment...

ibrahim abu touq said...

very nice