And though I had slain a thousand foes less one,
The thousandth knife found my liver;
The thousandth enemy said to me,
'Now you shall die,
Now none shall know.'
And the fool, looking down, believed this,
Not seeing, above his shoulders, the naked stars,
Each one remembering.
--John M. Ford, The Final Reflection

The Asylum Director

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"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any." - Russel Baker

Monday, May 11, 2009


The Dark Knight Returns

I don't usually keep up with comics. Too expensive to keep buying issues and update my knowledge of the twisted plots and storylines. The best I can do as a fan of certain characters is to just read wiki entries and try to get the gist of what's currently going on. Still, once in a while, when they come out with compilations or (better yet) graphic novels, I do what I can to grab a copy. Among the finest I've ever read is this: The Dark Knight Returns.

It has a Batman coming out of retirement, looking as if he's pushing 60, because the Bat in Bruce Wayne won't give up the fight. The book hits hard, as we see the effects of age and time finally catching up with the Bat. He's not as young, as strong, or as fast. But ultimately, he is still the Batman. It doesn't feature his whole rogues' gallery, but it does feature prominent names in it. Including, rightfully so, the Joker. The confrontations do not disappoint, though it'd spoil things to say who he faces.

I also liked how Frank Miller added in commentary and analysis on the Batman. On how he might be the cause of the very crimes he punishes. On the fact that he became a criminal to stop criminals, and understands that. On the fact that there will always be people who think he's a menace, even as there are those that support him. It even touches upon something that most comic books don't, and that's somewhere, deep inside the popular consciousness, the common people they save are the most terrified of superheroes. A line from the comic says it best:

"We must not remind them that gods walks the earth."

This is one of Frank Miller's finest works, and is arguably the best rendition of the Batman ever made in any medium. It also ushered in the modern portrayal of the Batman as a grim, obsessive force of justice in the shadows. The force of vengeance and justice. A hunter.

It repairs the damage done by the campy portrayal of Adam West and perhaps reminded fans and artists alike of how the Batman should be portrayed. Not as a joke, and not as someone openly cooperating with the police and the authority, like Superman. Batman is a figure that borders on urban legend, a nightmarish enforcer that Jim Gordon has to bend laws and break rules to accommodate, simply because he gets the job done when law enforcement's hands are tied.

This is definitely worth the read. Batman at his dark, brutal best.

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