Tag Archives: Frank Miller

Best and Worst Comics LitFlix 2014

We did this last year, and it was a lot of fun. What were the best and worst movie adaptations from existing source material? What we have to work from are our LitFlix, the movies we see after reading the source material. I’ll be writing about the comics adaptations of the year today, and Holly will cover the books tomorrow.

We’ve fallen behind some this fall, so the list of what we have to go from is smaller than the overall list of movie adaptations. I think the biggest deal is that we didn’t see Gone Girl, which people seems to have loved. Oh, and we haven’t seen Battle of the Five Armies yet, but expect that in the coming weeks…

Comics-wise, we are pretty good. And what a year for comics! Four big-name Marvel movies, some great independent comic adaptations, and a number of ones that may not be quite as good… which we may not have seen! So let me lay out my favorites both as a movie, and as an adaptation!

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The Dark Knight Returns and Moral Relativism

Absolute Dark Knight Cover

Cover to Absolute Dark Knight

I don’t know why, but I’ve had a big mental block against doing this post. In our quest to review books and comics, the next one on my list was The Dark Knight Returns. However, I don’t think I can just review it. For one thing, we already have an excellent review of this comic, in two parts:

  1. Batman, retired? Are you kidding me?
  2. The Dark Knight v. The Man of Steel

Thanks again to our guest blogger Gene’O of Sourcerer and Just Gene’O for those!

So I don’t want to just re-do something that’s already been done well. However, it’s in part because of reading these reviews that I read these comics in the first place. As the PBS Idea Channel says, there can be advantages to reading something with spoilers, like I did with this. It was a ton of fun. Great comic.

I thought about writing a LitFlix, but I feel like it boils down to “yep, Nolan’s Dark Knight series relied on these comics a lot.” But instead, I’ve decided to focus in on one aspect, and one which is by no means unique to The Dark Knight Returns, but which is laid out plain as day in the comic: Moral Relativism. What I mean by this, at least in the context of this comic, is the idea that if we can find the psychological cause to their actions, then they are no longer responsible. Onward!

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Batman: Year One: Review and thoughts on Gotham

Batman Year One CoverFrank Miller did a lot to build up Batman with his comics in the 80s. Gene’O of Sourcerer wrote a twopart review of The Dark Knight Returns last month. It sounded great, and I requested it from the library. But it was checked out, and I got Batman: Year One first. Well, that’s good too, right?

It sounds like Frank Miller wrote this comic after his Dark Knight comics. Because while Batman had a known origin story, which was good and which worked, there was still room to go back to the early days. To go back to the beginning. So that’s what this comic does: Bruce Wayne has just returned from his 12 years abroad, and Gordon has just moved to Gotham as well. The comic follows not only the origin of Batman, but the origin of Gordon as well.

And really, it’s Gordon’s story that I found much more compelling in this. Batman becomes Batman! Who knew? Everybody knows. But what Gordon had to go through? A good cop in a bad town? That’s a story. So that leaves me excited for the new show this fall, Gotham, which won’t star Batman, but instead the cops, the early Gordon. So I’ll close with that!

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – A LitFlix

Sin City: Volume 1, The Hard Goodbye

Sin City: Volume 1, The Hard Goodbye

This is a LitFlix that has been a long time coming. For one thing, this movie was originally slated to come out last year, so I’ve had the comics for this for over a year! For another thing, the movies came out two weeks ago, we saw it in its second weekend, and here I am finally writing about it.

I think some of the delay is because, honestly, I don’t know that I have much to say. We did come home from seeing Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and immediately rewatched the first film, Sin City. So there’s that to say for it. The movie has also made barely any money, so I will lead with this: if you liked Sin City, you’ll probably like A Dame to Kill For. But you might not have much longer to see it in theaters – I know it’s already gone from our local theaters!

Spoilers to follow for both Sin City movies, but not all too many!

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The Dark Knight v. The Man of Steel: The Dark Knight Returns, part 2

As I read Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Clark Kent and Batman are not DKR crimealleylandingexactly friends. They are more like veterans of the same unit who maintain cordial relations. Kent is barely present at all in the first two books, but he definitely looms in the background. We know almost from the beginning that a collision between the two must be inevitable. Kent is the last active superhero. He takes orders directly from the President; and we all know how Batman responds to authorities who try to shut him down.

I’m referring to Superman as Clark Kent throughout this post because I don’t think the name “Superman” appears anywhere in this novel. There’s a suggestion in book three that the word has been censored from the media and just using it is an FCC violation. Miller depicts Superman as a role and Clark Kent at the real identity rather than the disguise. Even the soldiers who work directly with Kent during operations refer to him by his last name. That’s an interesting piece of characterization, because Batman/Bruce Wayne is drawn from the opposite angle. Once he goes back into action, it’s clear that Batman is the true identity, not Wayne.

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