Review: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

Batman: The Dark Knight ReturnsBatman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

 


It is 1960s “Batman” vs. 1980s “Batman!” Guess which one will win!

BatmanBatman


Introduction:

For many years, I have actually grown up with the darker version of Batman when I was little, thanks to the animated TV series that came out of the 90s. But a few years back, I have realized that there was a 1960s TV series where Batman seems a bit campy, but I had enjoyed it for what it was. Now, I had heard of a particular “Batman” story that was the one that really changed Batman’s character over the years and that story happened to be “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” written by Frank Miller along with artwork by Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley. This is easily one of the most influential stories I have ever read from the “Batman” comics!


What is this story about?

Basically, this story is broken up into four different books detailing Batman’s adventures in Gotham City:

Book 1: The Dark Knight Returns: When Batman (who is now much older) retires, he then realizes that after all of the years he had retired, there is still crime rampaging in Gotham City. So, Batman decides to come out of retirement and save Gotham City, surprising the citizens of Gotham City.

Book 2: The Dark Knight Triumphant: When the mutant gang threatens Gotham City, it is up to Batman to stop the leader of the mutant gang, putting an end to their terror.

Book 3: Hunt the Dark Knight: When the citizens of Gotham City saw Batman as more of a threat then as a hero, they send out the new Commissioner, Commissioner Yindel, and she decides to go out of her way to arrest Batman.

Book 4: The Dark Knight Falls: When the Soviets start attacking Corto Maltese and Superman takes the job to stop them, this leads to a huge showdown between Superman and Batman to decide about their ideologies about protecting the world.


What I loved about this story:

Frank Miller’s writing: Frank Miller has once again proven that he is definitely a force to be reckoned with whenever he was writing for Batman! After reading his work in “Batman: Year One,” I just had to read more of his work on “Batman” and behold, this story was beyond anything fantastic I have read about Batman! I loved the way that Frank Miller portrayed Batman in this story as Batman seems darker and grittier than ever before and this really helped revolutionized the dark character that Batman would soon become in the future “Batman” stories. At first glance, there does seem to be so many events going on in this book (Batman’s return, Batman fighting the Mutant Gang, Batman’s battle with Superman) so, it was a bit hard to keep up with all of the events going on in this book (I was even confused at the beginning when I found out that Batman was much older than he was early on, only to realize this story takes place several years in the future). But the best thing about all of these events taking place in this book was that we were able to get so many amazing stories centered on Batman and his struggles in coming back out of retirement to fight the bad guys. I also loved the dark and gritty feel of this book as the Batman in this book is not afraid of hurting enemies to get what he wants and even recruits a young girl named Carrie Kelley, who is dressed up like Robin, to be his sidekick. Now there is one thing that I wanted to get out of my chest and it is this:


I DO NOT LIKE POLITICAL TIE INS IN THE STORIES I WANT TO READ!

I am getting this off my chest because of the Cold War themed story in “The Dark Knight Falls” and most of the time, I do not like reading about any kind of political wars in these stories because it is either the “us against them” mentality in these stories or sometimes they tend to interrupt the flow of the story. However, this is the one case that I did accept the political themed story in “The Dark Knight Falls” because it was using the Cold War theme to bring out a message about how Superman and Batman have different views on how to handle the situation in saving people’s lives as Batman seems to be anti-government while Superman seems to support the government and I loved the way that their views on the government was brought out through their actions and ultimately their showdown with each other.

Batman

I also loved the way that Frank Miller presented some news media segments in this story as we are able to gain a great insight on how the people of Gotham view Batman and how he is affecting the American society as a whole as it brought great depth to the story.

Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley’s artwork: Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley’s artwork is very well done in this story as the artwork has a dark and gritty feel to them. I loved the images of Batman being large and muscular and how he usually looks threatening to all the criminals. The colorings may seem a bit washed out and some of the artwork was a bit sloppy, but the artwork has that 80s feel that I really enjoyed and so, I really enjoyed the dark artwork being portrayed in this story.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

Some of the problems that some “Batman” fans might have with this story are that it is a bit too lengthy. There are a total of four volumes contained into one book and since so much is happening in this book, it might be a bit too much for some fans to take in. Also, this is probably one of the darkest “Batman” books I have ever read since Batman is shown to actually torture some of his enemies and there is some gore in this story as characters are punched and several scenes of characters being cut up.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” is a fantastic take on everyone’s favorite dark knight vigilante and with its many running themes about taking the law into your own hands, it will remain a classic in many “Batman” fans’ eyes!

5 pows

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Power Girl: Power Trip by Jimmy Palmiotti

Power Girl: Power TripPower Girl: Power Trip by Jimmy Palmiotti

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So…I dived into the latest Shallow buddy-read.

No one better than Power Girl to fulfil the criterion of an embarrassing amount of cleavage on display, am I right? I mean, she’s on the banner and all.
Though at this point it’s gone beyond the event horizon of cleavage…
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Justice League, Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1 by Geoff Johns

Justice League, Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1Justice League, Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What in the world is this story?

On paper, I agree it seems like a great idea…Darkseid vs another evil titan and this conflict taking place on Earth.

But the reality was more like…
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Injustice: Gods Among Us, Year 4, vol. 2

Injustice Gods Among Us Year Four Vol. 2Injustice Gods Among Us Year Four Vol. 2 by Brian Buccellato
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Greek pantheon was probably a poor choice of theme. The DC versions simply aren’t very interesting, especially since Buccellato seems to only remember that a handful of them exist. He didn’t even touch on all twelve of the Olympians, much less the plethora of more minor gods and demigods that Zeus should have been able to use. But I guess Apollo, Artemis, Nike, Eris, and Phobos are all on vacation or something. I’m not saying they all needed speaking parts or even panel time, just… maybe mention they exist? Of course, DC’s version of the Greek pantheon can’t sustain an entire year of Injustice, so the New Gods are brought in to actually make a story. That’s when things finally get interesting. On the bright side, it looks like the next year will be villains, and the issue that sets that up is really good, probably the best issue of the year. This year was just a misstep in theme. I think the book would have been much better served if it had been entirely New Gods

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Review: Batman: The Court of Owls Volume 1 by Scott Snyder

Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of OwlsBatman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Batman



“Beware the Court of Owls,

That watches all the time.

Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch,

Behind granite and lime.

They watch you at your hearth,

They watch you in your bed,

Speak not a whispered word of them,

Or they’ll send the Talon for your head!”


Introduction:

So, when I heard that DC Comics was doing a reboot on all of their comics, I will admit that I was pretty hesitant about trying out any of the rebooted comics, especially after I heard so many bad things about DC’s New 52 series (and it turns out that the backlash was understandable, especially with how some of the later titles in the New 52 turned out to be horrible, according to some of the fans). But, there was one series in the New 52 that fans felt was always consistently good and that was Scott Snyder’s run on “Batman!” So, when my fellow Batman comic buddies recommended me this title, I will admit that I was pretty interested with this volume and I ended up being quite impressed with how this volume turned out!


What is this story about?

Gotham is Batman’s city and he will not let any criminal ruin his town…until the Court of Owls came in. The Court of Owls is a mysterious organization that has been around Gotham ever since it was first built and their plan is to retake Gotham City for their own. The only obstacle in their way is none other than Bruce Wayne and they plan on killing Bruce Wayne to reclaim Gotham City.


Is the Court of Owls connected to Bruce Wayne’s ancestors in some way and will they break Batman in order to obtain their goals of claiming Gotham City?

Read this volume to find out!


What I loved about this story:

Scott Snyder’s writing: I have read Scott Snyder’s previous works on “Batman: The Black Mirror” and the “American Vampire” series and I have always loved his unique and intense writing style. His writing of this “Batman” story is no different and I just loved the way that Scott Snyder made this “Batman” story even more intense than the last! I really loved the fact that since this is a reboot of the “Batman” comics, we actually get to see new villains in the form of the Court of Owls and it was interesting trying to figure out what their true goals for Gotham are and how they knew about Bruce Wayne himself. It really made the Court of Owls such interesting villains and the fact that they were one of the few villains to give Batman a hard time was really different and intriguing for me as a “Batman” fan. But what really made me squeal with true fangirl anticipation was seeing Dick Grayson appear in this comic along with Damian Wayne and Tim Drake! When I saw all the former Robins together on one page, I was seriously excited at this moment since I enjoy seeing all the Robins come together to be with Bruce Wayne, their mentor! I also loved the way that Scott Snyder wrote Bruce Wayne’s relationship with Dick Grayson and Alfred as this reboot shows that Batman still has a close relationship with Dick Grayson and Alfred and I really enjoyed their moments together.

Greg Capullo’s artwork: Greg Capullo’s artwork perfectly captures the dark and gritty nature of this series and I loved how scratchy the ink work is as it gives the story an intense feeling. I also loved the fact that Greg Capullo’s artwork reminds me a bit of the artwork in Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” comic book, which slightly gave this volume a retro feel, especially if you are an old school “Batman” fan!

Batman


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because the story tended to be a bit slow in some parts and there were times where I was wishing that the story would have moved at a faster pace to keep me interested all the way through. Also, for anyone who does not like bloody violence in comics, there are some moments in this volume where the violence can get pretty bloody, especially whenever the characters get stabbed by knives.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Batman: The Court of Owls Volume One” was a pleasant surprise for me as it made me really enjoy what was being done with this reboot of “Batman” and I hope that the series continues to get better with each volume!

Rating ?

4.5 pows

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three, Vol. 1 by Tom Taylor

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three, Vol. 1Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three, Vol. 1 by Tom Taylor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Unpopular review time!

Am I the only one who wasn’t that impressed with this volume?

Scrolls through friends’ reviews

Yep.

To clarify, it wasn’t bad, I just thought it didn’t live up to the first two volumes of the series. Or the last. Not all of it, anyway.
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Review: Batman: Year One by Frank Miller

Batman: Year OneBatman: Year One by Frank Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Brief History:

To be honest, I have actually first heard about Batman through the 90s cartoon series “Batman: The Animated Series,” which apparently, I have actually had my first exposure to the world of comics through so many animated series throughout the 90s. Since I have been reading a lot of comics lately, especially the “X-Men” comics, I wanted to try a different comic book series and that is where I started reading up on “Batman.” So, the first “Batman” comic I have actually came upon recently is a little gem that I have just noticed lately and that is “Batman: Year One” by Frank Miller along with artwork by David Mazzucchelli along with coloring by Richmond Lewis. “Batman: Year One” is truly a brilliant comic book that newer fans of “Batman” can easily get into!


What is this story about?

This story basically retells the origins of Bruce Wayne as Batman as it details Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman and all the struggles he overcomes in his new role as Batman. This story also details about Commissioner James Gordon’s first year as a lieutenant of the police force before he became a commissioner.


What I loved about this story:

Frank Miller’s writing: Frank Miller’s writing was so amazing and simple to read through, especially if you are new to the “Batman” comics and you need a good place to jump right in the series. Frank Miller has created a more modern spin on the origins of Batman without changing the original history of Batman (his parents are killed before him when he was a child and he decides to become the famous caped crusader he is today) and I especially loved the way that Frank Miller details Batman’s first year fighting crime as being difficult since Bruce Wayne had difficulties in becoming the crime fighting caped crusader since the public viewed him as a menace the moment he started fighting crime. I also loved the way that Frank Miller shown the months that all of this was taking place from January fourth to December third which gave an extremely detailed timeline of this story. What really interested me about this story was learning about the origins of Commissioner James Gordon since I have not really been exposed to his origins and it was interesting to see how James Gordon actually started out as a lieutenant of a police force that was corrupted by the crimes of Gotham City and how he tried to do his best to protect the citizens of Gotham City from such criminal activities.

David Mazzucchelli and Richmond Lewis’ artwork: David Mazzucchelli and Richmond Lewis’ artwork is simplistic yet gives a dramatic feel to the story, especially during the scenes where the characters are in shadows and they give out an eerie feel to the scene they are associated with, like during the scene where James Gordon is attacked by hit men and Richmond Lewis’ red coloring that flashes on the characters’ faces makes this scene extremely intense as you can see the pain and sorrow on James Gordon’s face. I also loved the shadowing that Richmond Lewis applies to Batman as Batman is usually shown in the dark and the dark shadowing makes him look menacing.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The only problem with this comic book novel is that there is some blood in some scenes, especially during the scenes where some of the characters are shot. Also, there is some language in this book that might offend some readers, so if you do not like dark themed books that deal with crimes in the cities, then this graphic novel might be hard to read through.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Batman: Year One” is not only a brilliant read for “Batman” fans everywhere, but it is also a great place to get into the “Batman” comic series, especially for new fans who are just getting into the “Batman” comics and want to know how Batman’s origins came about!

Rating?

5 pows

Art Ops

Art Ops Vol. 1Art Ops Vol. 1 by Shaun Simon
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

(Received from Netgalley for review.)

What a miss. At first glance, the premise sounded interesting. Unfortunately, it’s half baked. First, there’s the concept of “saving” art by relocating the human figure inside it. Which means, I guess, that art without human figures is somehow less real? Put aside, I guess, how totally cool the people in the paintings are with being people in paintings, and with a modern world they really shouldn’t know much about. Ok, whatever. Now let’s get to the villain, who’s apparently motivated by the fact that people looked at her painting less because she’s “ugly”. She’s drawn in a sort of cubist style, which we all know is totally unpopular and that absolutely nobody spends hours obsessing over the works. Oh, wait, they totally do. It’s very strange that this book equates (morally) good art with conventional notions of beauty, and (morally) bad art with anything that isn’t strictly representational. It’s a bizarrely regressive view of art. If I felt like the author was setting up that view to knock it down, that would be one thing. It would be a point a few decades past its prime, but I could follow that. I sincerely don’t get that sense here.

Aside from that, the main character is obnoxious and I cringed every time he was on the page. Most of the characters are at least a little annoying, but that’s mostly because they’re blandly characterized. Mona Lisa in the real world could be any number of previously sheltered princesses, and there’s absolutely nothing about her that follows from being a centuries old painting. Main character Reggie Riot (ugh, seriously?) is on a totally different level. He’s the sort of juvenile wannabe punk who thinks it’s hilarious to tie up a cashier because he doesn’t like the clothes sold in the store she works in. I wanted to slap him.

There’s an interesting premise in here, but it isn’t executed very well, and the views on art are weirdly outdated.

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Teen Titans, Vol. 14: Team Building by J.T. Krul

Teen Titans, Vol. 14: Team Building Teen Titans, Vol. 14: Team Building by J.T. Krul
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Breaking News – The Damian Wayne Robin is a major sociopath and needs immediate fixing before he breaks Batman’s patience (which, considering it’s Dick Grayson, is no mean feat). It has been decided that the best way to deal with this is to drop him into a group of teenage heroes with their own issues. Stay tuned to see how well this does not work.
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