Posts Tagged ‘frankmiller’

What Just Happened?

March 22, 2009

dark_knight_strikes-again-lFrank Miller and Lynn Varley’s THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN is truly a punch in the face. Where THE KILLING JOKE is a psychological dissection of Batman and his arch-nemesis the Joker, TDKSA catapults you headfirst into a gross orgy of heroes, monsters, sex and pop media. Miller wastes no time introducing the characters. In fact in a radical albeit fitting move, Batman is barely visible for the majority of the book, choosing instead to be more of an ever present shadow, orchestrating the masterpiece from behind the scenes (or beyond the panels).

I honestly can’t tell you what happened in its 246 pages. Batman was old. Superman was conflicted. Catgirl was hot. Braniac was a jerk. That’s as much as I really got, and truthfully, I don’t really know if what happened really matters. Whether or not I understood it on an intellectual or dramatic level, I felt it.

TDKSA was visually unlike anything else I have ever seen. Like the best punk music, Miller’s artwork gracefully toes the line between beauty and anarchy. The images do not convey information as much as transmit it on a visceral level. You don’t stop and stare at each panel as if in the Louevre, because Miller is telling you that there isn’t enough time. His lines are fat and bold and full of immediacy and danger. Varley’s colors are a day-glo Technicolor trip.  When Batman beats the crap out of Superman on pgs. 88 – 89, you really feel every blood-bursting bone-breaking “KRUNCH!” You don’t really view the page with your eyes and then process it in your brain. It simply socks you in the gut, and you understand and move along.

And all of that  is not to say that there isn’t anything intellectual about TDKSA. In fact, I believe that there is simply SO much – about war, about faith, about politics (and a president that doesn’t exist), about pop culture, about our digital society, about aging and death, about the struggle between men and gods (aka caped crusaders) – that it would take me at least two more read-throughs to have anything coherent or intelligent to say about the actual meaning of the book.

I’m pretty sure that TDKSA could only have been written now. It touches on lot of the fears and anxieties of today, but in no way is it heavy. Instead, it is light and strong and fierce and unforgiving – a frenetic burst of color that simply leaves you dumbstruck. I’m still dazed, but all I know is that I liked it. And maybe that’s all that really matters.