Recently on their blog “4th Letter”, David Brothers and Esther Inglis-Arkell each posted an interesting perspective on Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Strikes Again.”
In his initial post, David Brothers discusses DKSA as an exorcism:
Even still, there is a lot to digest here. Frank Miller, for good or for ill, is responsible for our current vision of Batman. Creators took the DKR model and ran with it, and it’s easy to see DKSA as Frank Miller striking back at that idea. Where we’ve had paranoid and grim Batman for the past fifteen years, Miller gives us one who’s faking grim but skipping like a schoolboy on the inside. Where we’ve had an utterly miserable Batman who figures out ways to trap his friends, Miller delivers a Batman who believes in the strength of others and trusts his fellow warriors.
DKSA is an exorcism. It takes all of the grim and gritty from DKR and the ensuing years and turns it on its head. It’s a push toward day-glo superheroics and away from miserable heroes. The moral of DKSA is “Superheroes are cool!”
Esther Inglis-Arkell’s post counters the idea that the problems with Miller’s Batman involve the grimness:
One point I differ with David on is Batman’s reputed trust of his colleagues. I see very little evidence of this in any of Miller’s portrayals of Batman. On the contrary, I see unending contempt for heroes around him, and a regular dismissiveness in his dealings with him. That dismissiveness is broken, every now and again, with a word (or, more commonly, and internal monologue) about his unspoken respect.
The thing that I do see is other heroes respecting him, consulting him, and gradually coming to see his unchanging, unflinching, cynical view of the world as the correct one.
What emerges from this dynamic is a character who is vicious, close-minded, petty, and rude, and yet who becomes the infallible arbiter of morality for those around him.
And that’s a character that stuck.
So what do you think?