Monday, May 31, 2010

The Dark Knight Strikes Again Part 3

Photobucket
The comic that dares to ask "how much lower can Frank Miller go with his Batman depiction?" The answer: much.



94 comments:

Mountain King said...

Oh dear mate.

As much as I like the review, and believe me I do agree with most of the points made here, there is one problem I have to address. Superman's line of "they're too fragile". Sorry but you've missed the point.

If you want to hit the rewind button this was the reason behind Superman becoming human in Superman 2 or less subtly Clark Kent's problem with intimacy in Smallville. Sorry to be a little obvious, and far too direct, but at the moment is, shall we say, end of consummation people lose control. I hate to get a little too in depth but if someone with that much strength was to "mate" with a human all that would be left is a stain. This is if they are biologically compatible (which is the main problem of Superman's children, but that's another problem for your review of Returns)

While there are methods to prevent this (urm... see "Spooning with Spoony" about those) it kind of doesn't matter because the main problem is still there. Super strength plus climax equals soup. Without climax, no real point. One way or another Superman and sex don't quite mix.

The only show / medium to get this wrong was Lois and Clark. That got the biological incompatibility, but missed the strength problem.

As for The Dark Knight Strikes Again, I end up banging my head against a desk every time I try to read it. Once upon a time Miller could be argued as a competent writer. After first reading this I almost gave up on Batman. Fortunately I watched the 90's cartoon (and it's parody of DK1, heh, heh) again and my faith in the last icon of the old pulp fiction comics was restored.

Great review and a good few laughs. It was a little soon after The Sprit review and you could have done with pushing it back a few weeks, but in the end I'm glad to have this rotting pile of dog vomit out of the way so that we can move on to worse comics. I wonder if it's finally time for a One More Day review?

Don't have knightmares...

Thomas
AKA Mountain King

Yes not only did I do that pun, but I also used an ellipsis. May god, and Jack Kerby, have mercy on my soul

Alex Stritar said...

... I don't really know what to say. Can't think of anything witty or argumentative or whatever to add. Can't even think of anything to coment toward the inclusion of one of my fav superheroes, Green Lantern (well, at least Booster Gold was safe from this mess). All I really have to say is, why where people defending this comic when you did the first part?

Also, cute kitty. It made me happy. :)

Carry said...

Wowey...your foray to Miller's website just put DKSA on the same page as Cry for Justice. We KNOW that Frank Miller can do better than this, that he's an intelligent man, and yet he doesn't challenge his own skills by writing outside of his comfort zone.

Tragic, I tell you. Though that doesn't make this comic any less bad.

Finally, cute little kitten made me smile. ^^

raykelley said...

Man, thanks for tearing this one apart for us. I remember when this was coming out, I was holding out hope that the last issue might redeem it. The opposite, of course, was true. The ending is so nonsensical and stupid that I finally had to face the fact that Miller had done lost his mind.

Anonymous said...

Kinds surprised you didn't use "Combine Harvester" this time.

JeanJacket said...

Aw, Beppo's cute. His hat's not as cool as yours, though.

I don't understand this comic. The artwork looks like it was slapped together using half-finished clip art, everyone's out of character, superheroes are arguing about politics instead of doing their jobs, and the entire - Ooh, kitty! <3

Great review. Kudos on finishing this crap.

BloodySharpie said...

Will Peppo the Invisible Monkey become a recurring character? :D

Also, it's nice to see you finally burn another comic book.

Anonymous said...

Well, to be honest vigilantism IS illegal which means that superheroes are INDEED criminals in their own right unless they are employed by the government or an agency

Also let's be honest, is superpowered beings indeed existed and were as plentiful as in the DC or Marvel universe, they would sooner or later end-up overthrowing the government and taking the power for themselves
Society itself would end-up driving them into it (Magneto was right!)


Also love Benzie's interpretation of 300
(man I love that comic and movie)

Lew Smith said...

Best. I am a Mayun! EVAR!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, the second burning of comics in under a month? A Kickassia tie-in? Someone's spoiling his fans!

Wow, what to say about this comic? You are a stronger man than I, Linkara, at least you finished the damn thing. I got up to the part with Wonder Woman and Superman banging in the air and called it quits.

Great trilogy, Link. It's honestly my favorite three parter you've ever done. (And that's saying something, consitering that Silent Hill: Dying Inside was friggin' brilliant to me.)


P.S, say hi to Biffo the invisable monkey for me!

Caleb The Time Traveler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention how Catgirl said she loved Bruce and how that can be taken.

BuddhaBot said...

So ...... any explanations as to why Hal Jordan was an alien thingy?

Benjamin J said...

Hilarious Stuff. When you said you were going to take this comic in stride, I actually said out loud: "No, you won't."

George said...

I kinda think you shoehorned it that Benzaie joke. Worked better in the vlog. Would have NEVER thought you saved an I AM A MAYUN joke for a super mega rocket punch though.

D... DICK GRAYSON? How could logic fail so hard? I thought he was just crazy, not stupid! This issue was so jumbled and confusing, even your streamlining of it makes me baffled.

reservoirdogs said...

why do you have a gun aimed at grant morrison?

Mike said...

Hey, Linkara. Long time viewer, but first time posting a comment.

...Wow. The artwork throughout The Dark Knight Strikes Again is just painful (especially Luthor in boxing gloves and Converse sneakers). I don't know about you, but to me it certainly makes Silent Hill: Dying Inside look better. And I use the term "better" very, very loosely.

The artwork's so headache-inducing to me that I honestly can't engage my brain further to comment of the rest of this dreck. But excellent v-log cameo by Benzaie, that was... certainly interesting.

But seriously, Pollo's startting to order you around? Can't let the man - or rather, the little blue robot - keep you down, man. That way madness lies.

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"why do you have a gun aimed at grant morrison?"

...huh?

BobCat said...

Even worse, he's Hal Jordan, with Kyle Rayner's hair color, with Guy Gardner's hair style!

greenjeans said...

"This is if they are biologically compatible (which is the main problem of Superman's children, but that's another problem for your review of Returns)"

If there's going to be a review of SUPERMAN RETURNS, it had better catalog everything from the comics, previous movies, cartoons, and TV shows the movie used as source material...namely, every single, solitary story and design element in it. Because everything in it, good and bad, was already done in some incarnation or another, and it would be dishonest in the extreme to pretend otherwise.

As for DKSA...well, it's not like Frank Miller's ever done a good Batman story in the first place, so this garbage is nothing out of the norm. I couldn't even bring myself to be horrified by the volcano under the cave or Dick's head still talking after being lopped off. It's so textbook Miller that all I can do is roll my eyes at it.

Anonymous said...

why do you have a gun aimed at grant morrison?"

...huh?

its lex luthor.

Trey said...

I like that you've been boosting your bad comic arsenal with Power Ranger weapons. Should come in handy if the magic gun ever runs out of juice.

Film is a Theory said...

Alright, so Superman can control his strength, I get that. But what about involuntary bodily functions? What happens when Superman sneezes? The average speed of a human sneeze is supposed to be 12 mph, so how fast is a super-sneeze and what would the results of that be? As for actually being intimate with Lois, I cite Kevin Smith's analysis from Mallrats.

Great review, and it was really awesome seeing you burn a comic again.

Cenobite829 said...

Dude you broke out the battleizer for this. That was awsome. I was wondering what was your thoughts on the Ghost Rider story line "Revelations" from a few years back? This story line established that Ghost Rider is an angel and not a demon like we were told for years. Do you think it was a good character twist or that it was a cheap cop out? I'm putting this here because I'm having trouble using your email link.

Jeff said...

Miller seems to have ripped of the ending from "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker" (except he made it lame).

Yogurt said...

...and thus we get to the part forever made Miller dead to me.

Oh Frankie...where did we go so wrong?

Why turn Robin into a perverse caricature?

Why do we have people spouting insane socio-political crap (without any hint as to the real message of the work)?

WHY IS BATMAN SUCH AN ASSHAT?!

Grrrrrr!

Linkara, I think you qualify for a government grant for eliminating crap like this.

Anonymous said...

I believe he means the opening art has you pointing a gun at a bald man that resembles Grant Morrison while Batman acts as a distraction, even though that's probably suppose to be Frank Miller.

Evan Meadow said...

Caleb, that's the thing about all this that one hopes will actually work in the end.

As bad as this stuff is, (and yeah, its bad), Miller's "intent" is to use All-Star B&R and the upcoming Boy Wonder mini to tell the set up that causes Dick to be this way and be one long, crazy, ridiculous story.

ShadowWing Tronix said...

So again I have to ask...how many morphers do you own? (If you don't think the Battleiser is a morpher, note that it does give him supermuscular armor and a jet pack so I think it counts.)

Glad to see you escape this comic. Too bad there are many more Miller comics to go. They're finishing All-Star Crazy Steve and Robin under a new name, after all.

arw1985 said...

"why do you have a gun aimed at grant morrison?"

You know, I thought that too at first! I think it's supposed to be Luthor in the title card.

ShadowWing Tronix said...

Oh, and about "evil" Dick, I wonder if this is Frank's way of showing his disappointment that Dick dropped the Robin routine to find his own way as Nightwing? Why would leave the awesomeness that is the Batman?

Uncle Mroowa said...

It is my first comment on your blog, and I'm not a native english speaker, so please forgive me my little mistakes or misspellings. At first I have to say, that I love Your show and watched every episode many times.
And still , There is one thing I thought it was lacking in this review: actually I think Batman is not being himself as well in this comic. Well, say what you want, but Batman is in fact a person who is very kind and gentle, yet doesn't want other people to recognize it. I think that relation between Batsy and Dick Grayson were very father-son like. Bruce loved the first Robin as his own son. There is no way that real Batman could say such a words to Dick Grayson. Look, he has taken care and gave home to a crook, that was trying to steel wheels from his batmobile. He gave him a costume and legacy of Robin. He trusted that kid with all his heart, despite the fact others turned theirs back on him. And above all that, he embraced Damian, his real son, even he wasn't still sure if he was really his at that point. Bruce Wayne could build an orphange with only his side-kicks inside.
As a Batman fan, I really don't get why many writers feel to have Superman and Batman as rivals or even enemies. Both characters are extremaly different and I allways felt that chemistry between those two is just charming. They litteraly complete each other. Batman would never suggest to Superman that he should use superpowers in any unecessary way.

In conclusion, That was just Creazy Steve again, not Batman.

But after all, great review as allways. Greets from Poland.

libraryguy said...

You are a MAN!

Miller comics are made much better when looked at through the Benzaie Lens. Who's with me?

Lew Smith said...

I think what "reservoirdogs" was referring to was the title card. I think he assumes that the bald guy is supposed to be Grant Morrison.

Also, I was so afraid that seeing the cute kitten in a video involving Frank Miller would have resulted in said kitten being melt by Samuel L. Jackson as he makes more ridiculous egg puns. Thankfully that wasn't the case.

Mace said...

The line " We strike like lightning and we melt into the night like ghosts." is eerily similar to "We strike hard and fade away into the night" from the firts issue of Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A book that was created as a parody to Frank Millar's Ronin as well as his run on Daredevil.

Just something I noticed.

Snapper Carr said...

Mountain King, with all due respect, Man of Steel, Woman of Tissue is not canon. At all. We're not 100% sure how Superman's super strength works, but it's canon that Lois and Clark have indeed, done the nasty.

Kavinsky said...

Great review linkara, although please stop using sweet dreams, I keep having flashbacks to the quattro scene from ashes to ashes 3x01 whenever someone uses that song.

and what the hell was with Sam Jacksons obsesion with eggs in the spirit? did an egg kill his mother?!

arw1985 said...

"why do you have a gun aimed at grant morrison?"

You know I thought that at first too. I think that's supposed to be Lex Luthor.

日本文化のマニアック said...

@Mountain King: "Super strength plus climax equals soup. Without climax, no real point."

Wow, what an unenlightened view of human sexuality and intimacy. I'll let the couple where the husband is in a wheelchair know that! There are all sorts of ways that Superman could avoid harming a human woman even if you accept the idea that people always "lost control" during sex. You seem squeamish about discussing these things, so I'll just leave it to your imagination.

As for the comic itself... really? No comment on the use of "telepath" as a verb, as in "he telepathed me"? OW!!

When I read this, I thought that the Kandor breakout was actually pretty epic. Unfortunately it was followed by the Dick Greyson revelation which was so WTF? that it hurt. Also, any idea of romance between Carrie and Batman is squicky.

So yeah, it ended with me feeling cheated out of a good sequel to DKR. But please, continue review ASBRTBW just so that this will look superior in comparison.

Paul S. said...

If any comic deserved a "I am a Man" Punch it was this one.

Cobvious said...

I'm still surprised you didn't use the scene from Mallrats where Brody says, "Superman cums like a shotgun, straight through Lois' back. Wonder Woman is the only one with a womb strong enough to bear his child."

Benzaie said...

Hey Linkara, thanks a ton for the feature ^^ glad my pointless interpretation of 300 was put into good use ^^

Bryan said...

Goddammit! I was really looking to this part, hoping you could explain that damn ending with Dick but even you couldn't explain it! I hate this comic even more now.

StacyD said...

Linkara, you truly are a man of strength. To have endured this level of putrid, stupefying horror has confirmed your status of Made Man in my eyes. Those who mess with you mess with me.

Giving credit where indeed it's due, Miller is an engaging writer on the topic of comics. I remember finding an essay of his (I don't recall if it was in Wizard or another comics magazine) on the subject of Fredric Wertham and the Comics Code to be fascinating reading. He's one of those paradoxical creators like Warren Ellis or Garth Ennis in that when they're on point and in their wheelhouse they're amazing. . .and then I read something of theirs that makes me see blood red. It's maddening.

Okay, I was gonna let this slide but. . .the subject of superhumans and sex. First of all, ick. Second of all, it's a fantasy so I can accept that Clark and Lois can get frisky without Mallrats-level results. Thirdly. . .ick. Fourthly, if we accept such things on Superman's end of the spectrum, one can only imagine the dating challenges She-Hulk or Power Girl must face. Fifthly. . .ick. Let's table this avenue of discussion, shall we? Like Stan Lee said, it's a superhero secret.

Stac

Queen Anthai said...

BEST. AT4W. ENDING. EVER.

Can....can I have another kitten? <3

Anonymous said...

Great review. Not much else to comment on that you haven't already pointed out.

One question: are truly burning the comic or is it a clever fakeout?

Anonymous said...

It's like Frank Miller was told to make a satire comic by DC, then they figured out it wouldn't sell and just said "Shit, this isn't going to sell!, quick, put Batman in it!

Oufer Godsake said...

awwww a kitten! <3

Anyway great review. I'm really looking forward to the Q&A vid.

I think all these comics lately have one thing in common. The writers want to sound really philosophical and deep, but they don't know how.

I say, if you don't have anything to say, don't say anything. You sure as hell will seem smarter and less pretentious.

Matthew said...

Good god! How was this series allowed to ever take shape? I mean Miller does no justice to any of the characters involved, I would almost say that they are caricatures of what they are meant to be.

Though the thing that truly gets me is that there are people who like this stuff. I work in a comic book store and I get a few people a month who come in and want to talk about how awesome and true and accurate Frank Miller's portrayal of Batman is. I think it is a load of bull pucky myself. I even had one guy come in and tell me that this was how Batman should be, and that the art was amazing. The art made me want to gag, I think it is atrocious and some of the worst I have seen in any comic to date.

I have no idea what Frank Miller was thinking when he made this, but I think this is by far one of the worst portrayals of Batman I have ever seen.

William said...

I'm surprised the comic didn't grow to 40 stories tall after you killed it, requiring the calling of the mighty Fourth Wall Megazord.

Gyre said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. People actually get paid to write this? By now I've given up. I'm assuming that the rush to capitalize on the public's hatred of Bush (the lesser) meant that just about anything was published. Amazons Attack!, Civil War, this...as a leftwing would be technocrat I have to say that I actually find these comics incredibly insulting.

captions-host said...

This may be the ugliest comic I've ever seen. Did people actually find that art acceptable? Grim and gritty is one thing, this is just painful.

PWBOT said...

Whoa, flaming I-am-a-Man, if Mechakara ever comes back, he's gonna to be scrap in five seconds flat. Seriously Linkara, how many Power Rangers toys and morphers do you have now?

DavidB1111 said...

Loved your review, Linkara. I'm surprised you didn't end up going Superboy-Prime levels of insane over this.

Because I think I would.

You have a difficult job, reviewing comics that would make most people say some bad words. :)

And now for something completely different.
To Mountain King, as Snapper Carl said it best, Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex has never been cannon.
Superman has never had problems with intimacy.

However, this is not the location to debate Superman and human relations.
Mallrats was wrong.
Sorry.

Jeff said...

Watched all three reviews at once tonight, and they were great. I'm a big fan of Dark Knight but I couldn't believe how far off the path this one had gotten! Jeez, what a mess.

Looking forward to the next one, stay classy.

Entertainer13 said...

Great review as always, highlighting pretty much every problem with the comic. To be fair, in the golden age, Captain Marvel's "transformation/switch places/whatever" concept was left vague and open to interpretation. However, ever since his post-crisis reboot, and the post Zero Hour one, he's clearly just Billy Batson with super powers.


RE: Woman of Tissue

If he breaks things with involuntary actions, I'd hate to see a toilet after he's done with it...

Celey said...

This is what I'm talking about! Much more satisfactory...

The I'm a Man Punch... the flames.... Everything... I feel like great justice has been accomplished now.

Bravo, Linkara! Bravo!

Anonymous said...

"Fourthly, if we accept such things on Superman's end of the spectrum, one can only imagine the dating challenges She-Hulk or Power Girl must face."

DEATH BY SNU-SNU!

but really, that's probably where the She-Hulk/Juggernaut shipping comes from

TheQuestion said...

So, Linkara, what are your opinions on Frank Millars next piece of work in the God-damn Bat-verse, with the upcoming "Holy Terror Batman" where Batman has to fight Islamic terrorists?

Jer Alford said...

Old Batman: "I had Jello today."

Shadowbird712 said...

Sir Linkara, for your masterful use of the Power Rangers in Space Battlizer device...I had already considered you full of win, but now it is a part of your very aura. I have no doubt you will use this power of win well.

techgirl3 said...

"Also, I was so afraid that seeing the cute kitten in a video involving Frank Miller would have resulted in said kitten being melt by Samuel L. Jackson as he makes more ridiculous egg puns. Thankfully that wasn't the case."

All cute little creatures are safe because Dr. Linksano is now the advoacte for cute little kittens everywhere.

And it's been said but, best "I am a MAN" punch EVER.

ginger_fan said...

but to be true, your bigger comic franchises are just high pay fanfiction?
and with the price of internet anyone who writes fanfiction is a comic book writer

Green Ninja said...

Thank Gork it's over. The revalation about Robin is really the part that pisses me off most about any Miller comic I ever read (to be honest, I was expecting you to rant a bit more about it).
Then again, it does make sense if this actually IS the same contunity as Crazy Steve.

Oracle said...

You punch that comic, Linkara. You punch it til it's dead!

In a mildly entertaining coincidence, just got my Losers comics back from being borrowed. I'm busy devouring them all over again, when a random background character says "WAY past Miller time." Gave me a grin.

Anyhoo, keep fighting the good fight.

Nitz the Bloody said...

Lewis,

When you objected to Miller using 9/11 imagery because it was " too soon ", were you also implying that any cartoonists who used their work to comment on the events shortly thereafter were also too soon, or simply that Miller was doing it poorly?

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"When you objected to Miller using 9/11 imagery because it was " too soon ", were you also implying that any cartoonists who used their work to comment on the events shortly thereafter were also too soon, or simply that Miller was doing it poorly?"

When they're commenting on the event, that's one thing. When you're evoking the imagery without cause in your crappy Batman story, that's offensive.

Nitz the Bloody said...

Thank you for clarifying. In which case, I strongly agree that a comic of Rule 34 versions of DC Superheroes against amateur Photoshop backgrounds is NOT the best place to bring up real-world tragedies.

Dg said...

God I couldn't get past the artwork in this piece of crap. Screw the useless satire and story, I couldn't even watch the video for how bad the art was. I actually had to play a game while listening to this just so I didn't end up puking at how horrific the drawings were. EVEN BIMBOS IN TIME DIDN'T DISGUST ME THIS MUCH ARTWISE D:

Cute kitten was cute <3

Erin said...

I was afraid that Gumby was going to turn out to be Martian Manhunter, but Green Lantern is infinately worse. And Dick Grayson's reason for going psycho and attempting man slaughter was he loved Batman? Whut?

I watched the other reviews again before watching this one and you deserve a case of beer and cookies for doing this, "The Spirit," and "Warrior" in a row.

What are your thoughts on this from "Batman 697?"

Ein said...

If that were a Frank Miller kitten it'd be a suicidal coke fiend in fishnets.

NGT said...

You've really been low-energy in your reviews lately, and this isn't an exception. The ending is awesome in its own way, but it lacks the raw enthusaism of the Superman At Earth's End one.

Kickassia really took it out of you, I guess. Take a week off man, recharge. We'll be fine for that long.

Anonymous said...

I wish the real Batman was here,

He'd say something corny about his psycho self, and Then Punch him out ala Brave and the Bold.
and Set right what has gone horribly wrong... with the Blue Beetle and Aquaman backing him up!

deuxhero said...

No reason for Robin to be evil?

http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/linkara/at4w/13422-asbr01

Pay attention to 25:10 on...

Scott said...

Was that the actual comic burning? :0 Hope it was. Glad to see something burn again~

Wayne said...

I disagree with anyone that calls the artwork in this book "bad". The coloring is awful, but thats what Frank gets for letting his wife do it in Photoshop 6. The inking is great, I love the heavy style. It's interesting to look at. I never understand complaints about stylized artwork like this. Sure the story is all over the place and really needed a few rewrites with close attention from an editor, but the artwork is fine to me.

I cannot say this for the standard DC or Marvel comic style - especially in this new digital coloring, digital inking age. Sure it's nice to have consistency, but it gets boring very quickly. It's dull. You can barely tell one artist from another, which may be the point of adopting a "house style", but to me it, on top of all these event comics, make it hard to care. Don't get me started on the digital oil painting style thats used in comics like the newer darkhorse Conan. That stuff is truly awful.

Green Ninja said...

"When they're commenting on the event, that's one thing. When you're evoking the imagery without cause in your crappy Batman story, that's offensive."

Speaking of which, what are your thoughts on the 9/11 Spider-Man Story?

Pavi'sOldFace said...

Dick Grayson was the Joker! Why, I'd never have guessed that! Such an original idea! You know, except for the fact Bruce Timm and Paul Dini did it over a year earlier.

greenjeans said...

"The inking is great, I love the heavy style. It's interesting to look at. I never understand complaints about stylized artwork like this."

There's a fundamental difference between stylized art and the grotesque, disproportionate, distorted slop here. It may be "interesting" in the same way a car wreck is, but that doesn't make it good.

Spiral said...

http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/1142/bitchesandwhoresy.jpg

I think you'll find this relevant to the comic, Mr. Lewis.

If only I could throw Frank Miller into a TV...

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing "and assorted drugs" instead of "dinosaurs and trucks" in your intro and giggling like mad because it makes so much more sense for some of the (not-existing) plots and art in the comics, if the people who came up with it were on drugs. :-D I like pretty much all of your reviews and Miller time is special indeed, but the Dark Knight is going to be my absolute favorite. Goddamn Batman …. I mean All star Batman, sorry, was bad, but much more in a squeky way and at least the artwork was still kind of enjoyable. But the Dark Knight is simply hilarious. Who is that blue-haired boy with a halo talking to a bum about sex? Oh, it is Supergirl and Superman! Wow, I didn't realize that Supes was broke and Supergirl was attempting a career as a female bodybuilder. And that one panel pictured Batman? Aka Bruce Wayne, one of the most sought after bachelors in Gotham? Oh, I didn't know that a gold diggers standards had to be thaaaat low. How can anyone take him as a crime-fighting hero seriously is beyond me, if someone looking like that would tell me off for some crime I would probably say something along the lines of "Thinking again you are eleven years old and playacting your favorite superhero, Gramps? Whrere have you lost your teeth now? Lets get you to your rocking chair " If it were my first comic, I certainly would have had a similar reaction to comics like I had to my first manga ("People think this is cool? They think the drawings are to die for? No way I am spending my money on this shit." And then I found some series that made me reevaluate my opinion of genre.) I can live stylised artsy drawings, I even liked a panel here and there because it looked refreshingly uncluttered and simple (similarly I liked some of the panels in Silent hill, though it gets too much and too sloppy too fast). But for the most part it is only people with horryfingly distorted bodies and unnatural looking faces like blow-up dolls that make me go "ewww".

- greenbean -

Anonymous said...

I love you Linkara, but I get the impression you're in at least a bit over your head discussing a work of political satire, Brainy Specs or no.

For example: twice in your review of this series (once in regard to the nude news, and concerning the sexy ad for the investment service) you imply that certain elements of Miller's satire of commercial culture are somehow lame because they're unrealistic. The fact that investment companies don't actually use posters of barely-dressed women to sell their services is what makes it satire; exaggeration is in play. Ditto with the "nude news", which you seem to think is unfunny and pointless because news anchors in reality aren't known for their revealing attire. Again, that's missing the point: plenty of media critics have raised the argument that television news shows are superficial and pander for ratings with sensationalism, simplistic debates, and yeah, even sex. Miller's just taking existing ridiculous media trends to their illogical extremes. Satire ensues.

Also, I don't meant to be a jerk, but when you say things like "and then there's this guy with a tie talking and I don't know who he is" or "and there are children on the news for some reason, okay, moving on", it doesn't leave me with a lot of faith in your knowledge of the specific, real-world things Miller referencing. You seemingly missed the point of the Bush-like holographic president with Lex Luthor as its controller (it's a 'Dick Cheney is a supervillain' joke) and seemed curiously offended by the somber 9/11 imagery when Metropolis was destroyed while finding the whole thing where Batman crashes his airplane into Lex Luthor's skyscraper awesome -- even when he calls this "striking terror". You brought up the famous Golden Age quote where Batman describes criminals as "cowardly and superstitious" to protest a quote where it's suggested that vigilante heroes are by their nature criminals. Except that this has always been a weird hole in Batman's logic, since beating up criminals and whatnot is technically not legal. (That last one isn't specifically political, but shouldn't exploring an existing contradiction in the character's ideals be fair game?)

I'm not saying DK2 is good or bad, but here's the thing: it obviously has stuff on its mind. Why review it at all if you're going to throw out every part of it that's contradictory or provocative or difficult without doing any research or giving any thought to the what the work might be trying to say? Do you believe that all comics MUST be fun and light and instantly understandable without any thought? I don't. Maybe I like comics more than you?

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"Why review it at all if you're going to throw out every part of it that's contradictory or provocative or difficult without doing any research or giving any thought to the what the work might be trying to say? Do you believe that all comics MUST be fun and light and instantly understandable without any thought? I don't. Maybe I like comics more than you?"

Because I criticize it from the standpoint that the satire is utterly pointless to the story, that it interrupts the flow, and that this was not billed as a satire or an intelligent deconstruction of modern-day society. And frankly if the figures are not recognizable then the joke and the satire fall on deaf ears.

I like a full range of comics, both dark and light. Sandman, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Starman, Kingdom Come. These are tales with dark moments of their own, or in fact their entire mood is somewhat down, but I believe they hold much more substance to them then a thinly-veiled parody of President Bush and Lex Luthor controlling a hologram of him.

Just because a text has subtext does not mean that the subtext is valuable or is well-executed. I contend that it is not and everything just becomes a confusing, annoying mess. Furthermore, the Dark Knight Returns managed to weave its satire in with its story, and while I admit that I found it distracting at times it seemed to serve a greater point and the focus was still on Batman himself rather than on the parody and satire, which this book throws out constantly, attacking dozens of celebrities and personalities without focusing on a point being made.

Anonymous said...

You say "if the figures aren't recognizable, then the satire falls on deaf ears". I agree with that. The problem is that I'm not convinced the figures are really unrecognizable. I mean, I recognized more than a few of them. Where does that leave us?

Granted, it's lame that DK2 was marketed as a Batman adventure when satire was clearly Miller's main agenda here, but given that it's hard to get a license to use DC's flagship characters without at least pretending you're working on something mass-marketable, that strikes me as more of an economic reality than a statement about how the book should be taken. As to whether the satire is any good, I'd really have to reread it to weigh in. But my point isn't that it's good. My point is that reviewing it mainly as a Batman story isn't reviewing the thing on its own terms, and that's a bummer.

Re-reading my comment above, I realize I came off like something of a flaming douchebag, for which I apologize. The problem I'm having is that in the course of this review, you seem to dismiss a lot of stuff as being meaningless or pointless without giving any hint that you knew what specifically was being referenced. That gives the impression -- fair or not -- that you were mostly just pissed off at DK2 for being about media culture rather than about Batman, and were willing to brand the satire as poor without actually giving the book's political content much thought. Shitty satire deserves to be made fun of (mercilessly) for its satirical failings, not for being confusing and annoying when taken at face value.

Anonymous said...

Your jokes rock, man.)

It doesn't really seem to me though, that Superman "either raped Wonder Woman or made her his property". I think this version of Diana is a Red Sonja-like "the only man who can have me is the one who defeats me in fair fight". Granted, it isn't too much in-character for her either but it's sure a MUCH lesser stretch. In any case the line about taking her heart implies that sex between them was totally concensual.

Maybe I'm giving Miller too much of a credit here, but when I read it I thought he was deliberately pushing characters' flaws (as percieved by public consciousness) to their extremes to show that they should change the world not simply mantain status quo. Not that it was very successful. Crazy Dick as Joker seems to be a snipe at his presence making Batman mythos goofier and more "kids-friendly" like the 60' live-action series or Batman and Robin.

ConMan said...

I don't see Annie Lennox so much as David Bowie on the cover of "Reality". Which this comic predates by a year, interestingly.

Ming said...

You know, looking at All Star Batman and Robin (which still hasn't been completed), with Crazy Steve's treatment of young Dick Grayson, I'd say his villainous tendencies actually start to make sense.

Anyway, I've got a lot of respect for Frank Miller, for works like Dark Knight Returns, 300, and Sin City. But Dark Knight Strikes Again is the moment where Miller has lost his touch. This is the worst Batman story ever, worse than Batman Fortunate Son.

Great review on Dark Knight Strikes Again. The scene where you destroy the comic with your Battlizer -- epic win!!!

Captain Sake Mangusto said...

After watching your performance on this Miller Time i'm starting to think you are using me as a sparring in preparation for your next Miller Time, that would explain a lot and makes a lot more sense everytime your response is full of anger, frustration and despair.

And Frank Miller a fascist ??? Come on, you are the one advocating extreme censorship management against allegedly bad comics a.k.a. "BURNING THEM ATOP THE FOURTH WALL!!!"

Oh the irony.

Elijah Wilcott said...

Hepcat linkara = Badass.

Johnel Lance said...

You know I checked his website once but the first thing I saw was an unhinged rant about the occupy movement and he called them rapists. So are we talking about the same Frank Miller or did he have another crazy spell after the time this review was made?

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"You know I checked his website once but the first thing I saw was an unhinged rant about the occupy movement and he called them rapists. So are we talking about the same Frank Miller or did he have another crazy spell after the time this review was made?"

He had another crazy spell. XD

CaptainJZH said...

I believe the answer to why Dick Grayson went crazy and wanted to kill Bruce can be found in All-Star Batman & Robin. Batman (Technically Crazy Steve, but Robin wouldn't know that, so in his eyes, the insane pedo-hobo psychopath IS Batman) kidnaps him, keeps him in his cave expecting him to eat rats, and all throughout is completely bonkers.

Chase Howard said...

...still not as bad as Batman Year Two Part 4...shudder....

BBriz said...

I believe there is a kind of mentality growing -not especially in comics, but maybe in comics it is most clearly exposed- that basically says ugliness is beauty, stupidity is strength, and... uh, rationality and a sense of proportion is weakness.

In comics it maybe had its fuse lit with the mutant leader in the Dark Knight Returns. Maybe too many kids in the 80s saw that insanely muscled, filed-teeth & nailed moral idiot and thought "rad!" instead of being alarmed? It's like Hannibal Lector being made into an anti-hero. Never mind all the horrific things he does, he cracks wise and spouts pseudo-philosophy while he does it so he's EXTREME and we gotta see a sequel.

Press it hard enough (actually like any addiction one can't press it hard enough) and "horrific" becomes a camp phrase and nothing is "fun" unless it means something like Robin becoming an indestructible, frothing-mad murderer.

I'm reminded of the place in 1984 where O'Brian tells Smith that he will no longer know the difference between beauty and ugliness, he will have no curiosity, no enjoyment of the processes of life...

I am so sick of this garbage. I am glad I can laugh at it here. Pardon me for stale phrases; it's late, I'm tired, and trying to figure it out is like staring at moldy bread.