Tag Archives: The Dark Knight Returns

How we got to Civil War

One of the more highly anticipated movies of the year (now that Deadpool is out…) is the next Marvel movie, and the beginning of their Phase 3: Captain America: Civil War.

And there’s a lot of reasons to be excited: not only a bunch of returning characters from throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe (like most of the newly-expanded roster of Avengers), but also the first appearances of Black Panther, Spider-Man (who hasn’t shown up in any trailers yet!), and maybe more.

Add to that the fact that Civil War was a big deal in the comics, showing up regularly as a top storyline for Marvel. It ran as a massive crossover (hitting pretty much every title) from 2006-2007. So, before I got back into comics – not one that I got into when it was first out. Indeed, I only got to it for the LitFlix for Winter Soldier – and after seeing that movie, and reading the comics, I knew that Civil War was coming next.

But Marvel’s Civil War was by no means the first time that this storyline was seen – the decision that superheroes had gone too far, that they had too much free reign. Indeed, not the second time. Not the third. I would say at least the fourth – so let’s look through these titles before we get back to Civil War!

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Is Gotham Changing the Mythos of the Batman Universe?

Batman is one of those characters that keeps coming back, in new movies, in TV shows, in comics. Even as one series of Batman movies ended, another series is starting up to include him – the Dark Knight returns, indeed.

As such, the very idea of Gotham is kind of refreshing. With so many instances of Batman out there, it’s nice to sit back and take a look at the famous fictional city before the Bat. A city full of greed and crime and corruption. A city run by organized crime. A city with a frightening place called Arkham Asylum that always ran a little too full.

I’ve been working through reading many of the iconic Batman comics in recent months, like Year OneThe Long Halloween, and The Dark Knight Returns. In reading those, there is a strong point made that before Batman, crime in Gotham seemed pretty mundane – there was just a lot of it. Once Batman arrived on the scene, though, you started seeing super villains, and increasingly hear the psychological argument that it’s Batman who made this happen, made the crazies take over the crime business. You see this shift in the recent Dark Knight movie trilogy as well.

And it is this idea which I think Gotham is turning on its head, and I’m not sure what I think of that. So let me lay out the progression, but then you tell me what you think – is Gotham re-writing the script on Batman?

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Batman: The Long Halloween Review

I recently finished reading Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. I was excited to read this, as Jeph Loeb is one of the main names in superhero television, working on shows like Heroes, Smallville, and Agents of SHIELD. I also heard this comic compared to The Dark Knight, so that piqued my interest.

The Long HalloweenThe Long Halloween was published over the course of a little over a year from 1996-1997, and follows the monthly, holiday-based serial killings of Gotham City mobsters. It gets Batman into his detective role, with a case that is incredibly hard to crack.

I don’t think I have too much to say about this comic, but I’ll try. More than anything, like other comics LitFlix I have read (comics with a film based on them), it is and it isn’t The Dark Knight. So many of the ideas are there, but at the same time, it is a different story. More than anything, they share one major thread: the origin story of Two Face. So read on for my review of this comic series, spoilers in tow!

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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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