DC today announced The Dark Knight III. Frank Miller‘s original was his magnum opus — and it should have been left alone.
Miller‘s 1986 The Dark Knight Returns was the most complex, and possibly most emotionally resonant, of any Batman story past or present.
The impact it had on the comics industry, as well as the superhero film and TV genres, cannot be understated. I’m not even going to get into that here.
I’ll just dial the clock back a bit and tell you that there were few people on the planet more excited than I was when The Dark Knight Strikes Again was announced.
When the original DKR was released, I was fanatical about it. I lived and breathed it. I bought not only the issues but all the various hardcovers and softcovers. I still have my original Frank Miller Dark Knight poster, now framed on the wall.
Then I actually read The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Or tried to — because it was a ludicrous, broken-mirror version of the original. It was, to put it delicately, an exercise in pointlessness.
A few years later, I bit again on All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, written by Miller, with Jim Lee art. And I was greeted with a child-abusing “goddamn Batman” and an incomplete story.
Twice bitten, a third time shy.
Now, of course you can’t judge a book before it even comes out. I’ll grant you that. I’ll also grant you that I’ll read the first issue because I am curious.
It’s just that I have no faith that Frank Miller will execute a Batman story of any value — the considerable talents of writing partner Brian Azzarello notwithstanding.
And it’s compounded by the notion — based on the very clear implication in the promo art and project subtitle — that this will yet again be about Batman vs. Superman.
Back to the well!
Now why would they do that … ? Oh, yeah.
It pains me because I love The Dark Knight Returns — not to mention Batman: Year One, which actually might be superior in its own way — so much.
We didn’t need a sequel to Gone With the Wind. We didn’t need a sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. We didn’t need a sequel to The Dark Knight Returns.
And we certainly don’t need two.