Dark Knight 2 COMIC BOOK review [Frank Miller/Lynn Varley]

Book Reviews
Dark Knight 2 COMIC BOOK review [Frank Miller/Lynn Varley]
Dec 16, 2002, 23:52

DARK KNIGHT 2: THE DARK NIGHT STRIKES AGAIN Issues 1 and 2 by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley; DC Comics, 2002

I admit it. I've got a problem with Frank Miller. I think his comics are pointlessly violent, needlessly elaborate, and overly reliant on a very limited bag of tricks to get the job done. On the other hand, I'll also admit that the classic Dark Knight Returns was one of the favorite comics of my youth. It was with conflicting emotions, then that I purchased the DK2 at my local comic shop. Would this mark the triumphal redemption of Miller? Or would this, like so many other recent projects, dull the memory of early creativity and masterful storytelling? It turns out that both these things are somewhat true. The first issue of DK2 is, really, quite a lot of fun. The story is predictably all encompassing. Lex Luthor runs a shadow government fronted by an imaginary president. He keeps the public pacified through streams of brain draining media. Superman is his servile tool. Against this backdrop of corruption Batman's underground army (gangs of street punks that he began to train at the close of DK1) are finally ready for action and the aging Bats is out to reclaim America. This isn't new territory for Miller. In fact, this is a fairly clean rendition of Miller's take on Batman ideology (and apparently Miller's belief about the state of American consciousness, ironic for someone who produces stuff as brain numbing as Sin City). What's fun about the comic is that the Bat militia goes about freeing/reviving every cool character in the DC ouvre. We get the Green Arrow, Plastic Man, the Atom, the Flash, and even (to my great joy and appreciation) the Question. On top of that, at the end of issue one, we get to see Bats kick Superman's ass. Again! Unfortunately, all the great promise of the first issue peters out in the second. Issue two is firmly on Sin City territory, except Miller and Varley's use of color serve to make the art even more confusing than ever. This comic has all the subtlety of a Jerry Bruckheimer film. Alas, the emperor wears no clothes.

-Jason Cons

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