Friday, February 16, 2007

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

from the diary: “Saturday 4/26/86

“Biked to [Rohnert Park] to see [David]. Sat around all day. Readed hiz copy of DARK KNIGHT, Frank Miller’s new batman comic. eh. Glad I dint shell out the bucks fer it. Ceptin’ it’s worth three an’ five times the coverprice now.”

The Dark Knight Returns was Frank Miller’s rehabilitation of Batman (or, The Batman, as the supposedly more serious formulation has it). I’ve never liked Batman. OK, that’s going a little far. I was always disappointed in Batman. He didn’t have any superpowers, just, as Jack Nicholson’s Joker said, “wonderful toys.” His villains didn’t have superpowers either, just goofy costumes. And lots of henchmen. Yeah, so I mostly knew Batman from the campy TV series. I liked Frank Miller’s noirish version of Marvel Comics’ Daredevil, a blind lawyer who ran around at night fighting crime. Daredevil has superpowers, but they are fairly mild – no rays shooting from fingers or eyes, no superduper strength, no ability to teleport or burst into flames. Daredevil has enhanced senses. Though he’s blind, his sense of touch is so extraordinary he can pick up the patterns of ink on paper so read, his hearing so acute he can judge the shapes of objects by the sound that bounces off them. Stuff like that. I hadn’t cared about Daredevil till Miller took him on.

The Dark Knight Returns is set in the future. Bruce Wayne is old. Yet still in fighting trim, it seems. I found I didn’t really care. Tim Burton’s movie rehabilitation of Batman seemed to owe a good deal to Miller.

If you want a minutely detailed synopsis ofBatman: The Dark Knight Returns there’s one here: Dark Knight Storylines

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