What did people hate about The Dark Knight Strikes Again?

I just reread it because I had forgotten most of it. Compared to The Dark Knight Returns, it wasn’t bad at all. I really can’t see why people hated it so much. Was it because it didn’t show Batman kicking as much crap out of Superman? Please enlighten me.

  1. It did not need to be done.

  2. It injected a lot of contemporary politics.

  3. The story did not make much sense.

I was really looking forward to it but left feeling that it was just a big Miller ego trip / payday.

NOTE: If you have never read The Dark Night Returns, go check out your local library (they likely have it). It is pretty much agreed upon to be the greatest Batman story ever told and to be one of the three greatest comics ever written (the other two being The Watchmen and Sandman).

Reading it made me realize how much of an imprint Dennis O’Neil and Klaus Janson made on the original Dark Knight series. Pure Miller is not a pretty sight (especially the gratuitous fate accorded Dick Grayson).

I loved his characterization of Vic Sage and Ollie Queen, though.

Oh Lord! I had forgotten about Grayson! I have been meaning to start a thread asking about that for a long time. It just made no sense and left a very bad taste in my mouth for the book.

So what happened?

Dick gets some incredible genetic work done that makes him next to impossible to kill; he will regenerate from the smallest scrape. He then takes on the guise of the Joker and terrorizes Batman and the new Robin, to the point where he beats the new Robin nearly to death and rapes her.

It made no fucking sense at all. Also, all of this was not revealed until the very end. You are left wondering “who the hell is this guy claiming to be the Joker” (who was killed in DKR), “how does he keep coming back when we blew him up in the last issue?” Then, completely out of the blue, it was Dick Grayson. For some reason.

God, but that sucked.

BTW, they killed him by tossing him in lava

Ack! Scrape should have been scrap.

The rumor (no cites) that I’ve heard about why DKSA was so incoherent: apparently Miller (who’s on record as saying he hates Superman) turned in parts one and two with no problems, but when he turned in part 3, DC refused to publish it–it apparently was waaaaaaaaaaaaay over-the-top anti-Superman. I’ve never heard the details but allegedly, it was something on the order of “Superman is a child-rapist and mass-murderer” or something equally weird. Anyway, whatever it was, the story goes that DC refused it and made Miller re-do the whole book, which fouled up the storyline…and also explains why it was so late.

Fenris. The problem I find with that particular rumor is that it reduces Miller’s on-record excuse for being late – that he needed the extra time to recast the ‘destruction of Metropolis’ sequence to reflect the real-life horror and devastation of New York on 9/11 – to a flimsy smokescreen.

If that anti-Superman business were true, the backlash over Miller’s supposedly using 9/11 to lie about would have made him an industry pariah. If DC knew of the lie, it makes them complicit – who needs that risk?

I will also note that, in addition to the other problems people have cited, the garish computer coloring by Lynn Varley was both distracting and amateurish to the extreme, and I was very disappointed Miller abandoned the tightly constructed 16-panel page layouts (with variations) of the original DKR.

Yeah, I agree with Askia; I didn’t like the art. So much so that I could never get more than a few pages into it.

I’m no big fan of Supes myself, but Miller’s obvious loathing for him always left a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t see how it’s possible to take pleasure in that fight between him and Batman in DKSA; it’s just nasty and childish and mean. (I think part of my problem is I instinctively stick up for the uncool—and they don’t get much less cool than Superman.)

Everything the other posters said - I just found it unreadable and not pleasing to look at. I didn’t even buy the third issue.

btw, I love the original DKR and the Watchmen is my fave ever.

I’m one of those who wonders if Miller made DK2 intentionally bad. Maybe he went into “diva mode” and got so sick of hearing people ask for a Dark Knight Returns sequel that he thought, "Yeah, I’ll give ‘em a freakin’ sequel all right . . . from my ass!" Because really, it was crap. The art was garish and sloppy and almost completely lacking in backgrounds, and the day-glo coloring job looked like it was done by a 14-year old girl. I’m surprised there weren’t little hearts dotting all the "i"s in the word balloons.

The story wasn’t really awful – I liked some parts, like how Lex Luthor was using the Flash to power an entire city. But it just didn’t come off like a story that needed to be told. Plus the satire was weak, and the whole thing appeared to take place in a completely different universe than the first series.

Unfortunately, I place DK2 firmly in the “Sequels That Don’t Exist” category, along with Alien 3 & 4, Star Trek 5, the new **Star Wars ** movies . . .

Ooooo, I like this concept. LA LA LA LA LA - I can’t hear you and the sequel doesn’t exist if I can’t hear you!!!

I fully intend to exploit this - in fact, why not make it a thread?

OK, I can see what you’re talking about. I agree that the art is really inferior, and that the story was a bit less focused. However, I think the reason I enjoyed it was because I read DK2 before I read DKR. I enjoyed the art (without knowing better art was in the prequel), and thought the storyline was pretty inventive (again, not knowing about the better plot in the prequel). Then, a few years after, I finally picked up DKR, and I liked it a lot. 3 months after, I got DK2, and I guess because I originally liked it, it stuck with me. Plus, I have a bad memory. :slight_smile:

P.S. A few of the things in DK2 don’t make sense to me. How did Bats know GL was coming back? Who was that family of green guys? What did those genetically altered children have to do with the story? Was it to hint at who the Joker was?

I agree with you on points 1 and 3, but I don’t really see how point 2 is at all different from the original.

You break Ray Palmer out of one of the most original (and appropriate) prisons devised. Remember, he is the world’s expert on miniturization technology. The Bottle City of Kandor is being held hostage. Does Miller have Ray use his knowledge to counteract Brainiac’s devices? No! He just KICKS THE DAMN BOTTLE OVER!

A waste of about a gazillion clever story ideas…

Barry Allen, the most scientifically literate member of the Justice League, able to run faster than thought and avoid any detection device, is reduced to COMIC RELIEF, making faces behind politicians!

Hal comes back from the stars as DEUS EX MACHINA MAN! to eliminate a major plot point from the first part of the story. With no explanation or reason.

And I was really looking forward to Miller working out a way for those soft-core webporn starlets to do something to save the day. But he didn’t.

All my problems with the story come up in the third book. I would like to believe that this is because a post-9/11 sensitivity would not accept the destruction of Metropolis as the solution to the situation.

I hadn’t heard the 9/11 thing. However, both could be true: he turned in the “Superman-Child Rapist” (or whatever it was) version, DC said “Um. Are you on crack? Redo this.”, he starts redoing it, 9/11 happens. He needs time to recast…etc. IIRC, the book was like 3-4 months late. But, like I said, I’ve never seen any confirmation of “my” version, so… :slight_smile:

As opposed to a 40-somthing girl?