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 fellow agents of Precinct1313 to “The Week In Geek,” where we list our favourite comic book, video game and cult movie news from the past 7 days for your perusal and pleasure.
Megan Gale as Wonder Woman;
Unbeknownst to most, Mad Max director George Miller was originally approached by Warner Bros and DC Comics to write and direct a Justice League movie in 2007. Though the project was scrapped, it did actually get as far as casting and costume fitting. Megan Gale (Mad Max: Fury Road) was originally cast as the amazing Amazon, and thanks to Australian photographer, Mark Rogers, we finally get to see the actress in full Amazon regalia, and all we can say is.. damn, she looks awesome.
Wonder Woman’s Solo Feature Begins Production;
And more news concerning our favourite female Superhero surfaced over the weekend when Warner Bros began filming in the UK, Wonder Woman‘s solo feature, and actress Gal Gadot tweeted a picture of herself in costume on set. In 1941, psychologist William Moulton Marston introduced the world to the first ever female Superhero. Hot on the heels of her trinity companions, Batman and Superman, it has taken almost 75 years to bring Themyscira’s favourite daughter to the cinema, and in 2017 she will finally grace the silver screen in her own solo movie (and we can’t wait!)
Lara Croft Rises Again;
This week also saw the return of another fictional female favourite, as reliquary spelunking Lara Croft made her latest comeback in Rise Of The Tomb Raider. Archetypal English archaeologist-adventuress Lara has been raiding tombs since 1996 when the character first appeared on Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation in the classic Tomb Raider. Designed by Toby Gard and created by British software developer Core Design, Lara has become one of the most recognised and beloved video-game characters on the planet.
In 2013 current Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics rebooted the character, retelling her origin story to great effect, and continue that success with Rise, with a less naive and more capable Lara seeking the key to eternal life. With an average Metacritic score of 86, this is another must have for fans of Ms Croft… Highly recommended (if you can tear yourself away from Fallout 4 of course)
The Dark Knight Returns;
And finally, veteran comic book creator Frank Miller returns to the scene of his greatest ever opus, The Dark Knight, with Dark Knight 3: The Master Race. Originally seen as the conclusion to Miller’s Dark Knight saga that began with “The Dark Knight Returns” in 1986 as a four issue limited series, and continuing through the 3 issue sequel “The Dark Knight Strikes Again” in 2001.
Frank Miller has recently reported though, that once this new 8 issue maxi-series comes to a close he would like to continue the series through a fourth chapter, charting an increasingly ageing Batman as he confronts ever more prescient threats intent on destroying the city he loves. Releasing on November 25, DKIII ships with an astonishing 53 variant covers, each by a fan favourite artist, including Miller’s own rendition of the Caped Crusader.
Join us again next week friends, for more Week In Geek.
On the 25th of November this year the Dark Knight will rise again to face down the impending peril of the master race. That’s right Batfans, superstar writer/artist Frank Miller returns to his opus The Dark Knight Returns saga this November with a third chapter; The Dark Knight III: The Master Race. Dark Knight 3 is being released as an eight issue mini series beginning in November, and each 32 page issue will also include a 16 page “Dark Knight Universe” comic attached within the centre.
Marking the 30th anniversary of the release of the pioneering original series, Miller will not only be joined once again by original collaborator Klaus Janson, but also legendary writer Brian Azzarello and exceedingly talented artist Andy Kubert.
To celebrate the first issue of Miller’s heralded return, DC will be releasing an astonishing thirty variant covers for the first issue. Each of these variants will be produced by some of the comic industry’s most talented and lauded artists including; Klaus Janson, Stanley Lau, Lee Bermejo, Jae Lee, and Kenneth Rocafort, plus Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons will be producing an even more exclusive 1:50 variant.
All of these amazing alternate covers will be made available at launch, though they will be in scant supply, check ahead with your local comic book emporium to make sure they are carrying your preferred cover, and remember to place your pre-order as these will be shifting faster than you can say “Batman rocks, and if you don’t accept my pre-order pronto then I shall be forced to dye my hair green, don a purple suit and smilex gas everyone in the room!.”
Precinct1313 Anticipation Rating: Batman-tastic!
That’s right Bat-fans, Frank Miller, the celebrated writer and artist of the 80’s classic Dark Knight Returns, is himself returning, to the franchise that made him a legendary name in the comic book world. Frank Miller’s epic 80’s mini-series changed the way the world now perceives Batman, Miller’s Batman is the dark and broody character we have now, a Dark Knight as opposed to the 70’s and early 80’s Caped Crusader.
The original Dark Knight Returns is one of the most celebrated comic book stories of all time, sitting comfortably alongside other luminary greats like Watchmen and V for Vendetta. Its 2001 sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, isn’t as highly regarded but is still a fun ride, just nowhere near the revolutionary brilliance of the original. Dark Knight 3: The Master Race will be released in Autumn this year, marking the original series’ 30th anniversary.