The original Dark Knight Returns saga by Frank Miller was a defining moment for The Batman, Miller’s alternate take on the much loved Superhero cast the character in an even more extreme grim, gritty and violent setting, with the caped crusader himself a dour and sullen character whose inner demons continually haunt him as the weight of age and a life of brutal violence takes its toll. We follow an ageing Bruce Wayne as he struggles with these psychological demons, and attempts to hold back his rage and inefficacy through alcohol addiction and suicidal abandon of his life through varying extreme motor sports.
Miller’s classic 80’s series, alongside classics – Watchmen and V For Vendetta, shook up an atrophying comic book industry and presented a much more adult and psychologically emotional depth to Superhero comics, defining the future of the industry in a monumental way.
Miller returned to his raison d’etre in the 2001 follow up mini series The Dark Knight Strikes Again, yet, unlike its groundbreaking predecessor, this was not favourably received by fans or critics alike (myself included) the book was little more than a parody of previous events, and Miller’s artwork had taken a severe downturn in quality.
Jump forward 14 years and Dark Knight III: The Master Race debuted, the newest chapter in the alternative Batverse, and it’s been… mostly OK, I guess, unfortunately the original series was such a phenomenon that any subsequent take has fared rather badly, unable to match the originals magnificence.
That said, there have been some defining moments (mainly visual) in this ongoing series that have certainly taken the breath away from this particular Batfan, and the gorgeous Bill Sienkiewicz variant cover is one of those marvellous moments. It evokes so beautifully a man haunted by his past, a broken figure who has ultimately accepted his failing to protect the city and people he loves, yet will fight on even though it will probably mean his own demise… this image, to me, defines The Batman irrevocably, and contains more emotional substance than both the second and third chapters of the Dark Knight trilogy put together.
Welcome my comic collecting cohorts to another instalment of Comic Cover Of The Week, and our spotlight of excellence this week falls upon Vertigo’s Survivor Club #1, and another epic illustration by Bill Sienkiewicz. Survivors Club is a brand new series that is co-written by acclaimed South African horror author Lauren Beukes (Shining Girls) and award winning illustrator Dale Halvorsen.
Six survivors are brought together by horrors they each experienced in 1987 when an outbreak of occult events occurred across the planet, with fatal results. One of them was possessed by a poltergeist, another was trapped in a haunted house and a third owned a killer doll. Now there are indications that another rash of paranormal events may be happening all over again. So is it possible that these six aren’t survivors, but were actually chosen because of their fates?
Survivors Club #1 is available at your local comic book emporium right now. Written by: Lauren Beukes and Dale Halvorsen. Cover art by: Bill Sienkiewicz. Interior art by: Ryan Kelly.
New comics Wednesday is upon us once more my comic collecting cohorts, and with it comes a multitude of fantastic covers. So many awesome covers this week in fact, that it was hard to actually pick a favourite, but ultimately for me the stand-out is yet another Bill Sienkiewicz masterpiece.
Gotham By Midnight follows a Gotham PD task force known as The Midnight Shift, a rag-tag group of investigators that deal with threats to the city that fall outside the expertise of the Police and in some cases even The Batman! The Midnight Shift was created by Commissioner Gordon and is led by none other than The Spectre himself, Jim Corrigan.
This issue deals with how much the news influences the public… literally! with two newsreaders who seem to have an almost supernatural control over their viewers. In this particular case, no news would definitely be good news!
Gotham By Midnight #8 is available from your local comic book emporium right now. Written by:Juan Ferreyra. Cover by: Bill Sienkiewicz. Interior art by: Ray Fawkes.