DK2If you loved the original Dark Knight–the brilliant series of graphic novels that pretty much reinvented superhero comics back in 1986–then run like hell from this ugly, incoherent sequel. Disappointment awaits all who enter.

Just for fun, let me access my central processing array and deactivate the chip that compares sequels to their predecessors (*click*). Now let me scan DK2 again. What do you know… it still sucks!

Writer Frank Miller doesn’t bother with the basic questions a storyteller needs to answer, such as “What motivates my characters?” and “Why should readers give a shit about them?” Worst of all, Miller doesn’t seem to know whose story this is. Is it Batman’s? Superman’s? Catgirl’s? Any one will do–just make a choice, Frank.

His pacing seems off, too. The story comes to a climax, then comes to another climax, then leaves and doesn’t send flowers or even call. Believe me, you WILL feel used.

The plot concerns Batman’s efforts to liberate the world from the control of Lex Luthor and Brainiac, who have installed a hologram as president of the U.S. and coerced Superman into serving as their errand boy. All other superheroes have been outlawed (this being a dark and dismal future, doncha know). Batman’s plan: get his other old super-friends–including the Flash, the Atom, and the Green Lantern–back into action and let them do the heavy lifting.

The main lapse of logic: Green Lantern is now as powerful as God. He can, and does, fix everything in a kind of lantern ex machina scene. So who needs the friggin’ Atom? Batman can call Green Lantern anytime, but he waits until everything is a complete mess before he does so. In the meantime, we have to sit through many super-person internal monologues that sound portentous but, in fact, portend nothing. Miller takes us on a long trip to nowhere, and he doesn’t choose a fun route.

Like I said, that’s the main lapse of logic; the book is chock full of them. Perhaps not coincidentally, DK2 goes out of its way to portray the average person on the street (in other words, non-superheroes) as ugly, petty, and stupid. I’m down with that, but there’s so much bashing of Joe Six-pack that it began to get tedious. It made me wonder: Why is this here? Is Miller making a point about how he perceives his readers?

Thanks for the love, Frank. See you again in another 16 years.

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