Posts tagged ‘apanelfromissueofFrankMillerBatman’

BATMAN #407 (BATMAN: YEAR ONE #4)

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I had the damndest time finding a single panel from the final chapter to use on this site.  Unlike most “last issues,” Miller didn’t wrap up with a huge booming explosion or large dramatic conclusion.  In fact, Batman isn’t even in the third act.  Instead, Miller first shows Catwoman moving on to the next phase of her career and then wraps up with Jim Gordon.

In the end, I picked the above sequence because it shows how Gordon is morally flawed but also because of the clown.  I don’t know if that was Frank or Dave’s idea, but having a tacky clown picture behind the corrupt police commissioner was genius.  Genius!
And so my review of Frank Miller’s Batman work draws to a close.  Now, what to examine next?

BATMAN #406 (BATMAN: YEAR ONE #3)

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All told, Selina Kyle/Catwoman gets maybe four or five pages of screen time during this series, and yet her character arc is well-defined, clear, and believable.

Now that’s well-written comics.

BATMAN #405 (BATMAN: YEAR ONE #2)

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Why the homeless shopping cart woman?  Because Frank Miller introduced her in The Dark Knight Returns.  Then, Grant Morrison used the same concept throughout Batman RIP, where Bruce Wayne’s guardian angel and drug counselor helps him pull through a brief period as a homeless person himself.  The image of the dark-skinned person with a red hat/bandana became a recurrent one, and was used to show Batman’s connection to the streets.  Superman saves cats in trees.  Batman saves homeless people, the humans that even humanity has forgotten.

BATMAN #404 (BATMAN: YEAR ONE #1)

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The final four issues we look at under this series of “apanelfromeveryFrank…” will be Batman #404-407, also known as Batman: Year One, written by Frank Miller and illustrated by Dave Mazzucelli.

When I decided to do this little series as my first DC comic in the “a panel from every issue” series, I knew this would be the panel for this issue.  I practically have this issue memorized.  I have multiple copies of it, all boarded and bagged.  It’s worth a lot of money because I got a letter printed in it!

Lots of folks would have picked the bat crashing through the window at the end of the comic, and that’s certainly iconic, but what made these four issues so resonant was the time Miller spends on Selina Kyle and Jim Gordon.  In fact, the book is more about them than it is about Batman.  And making Selina an S&M dominatrix was absolute brilliance.

THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN #4

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In issue #4, Miller’s thesis finally makes sense.  He’s playing with the Superman-as-God concept, and trying to tell the story of how a God who won’t accept that he’s a God must embrace his power over humanity, and paralleling it with the story of a human (Batman) who refused to accept that he’s a human, so he keeps boxing with God.

When I re-read this final issue I felt sad that these books weren’t better.  They really could have been something great.  But overall, they don’t really tell a story all that different from the one in Dark Knight Returns.

Next: Batman Year One.

THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN #3

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Superman and Wonder Woman had a daughter and they named her Lara. Like I’ve been saying, this really isn’t the Batman story that the title makes it out to be.

The perpectives in this panel are interesting, especially since the story itself turns around and around.

THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN #2

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These two panels exemplify what’s wrong with this book. Batman doesn’t think of what he does as a “job.” Miller isn’t really writing a Batman story here, he’s writing a Sin City story with superheroes and making the famous DC characters fit within his mold. (He did the same thing but much, much better in his original graphic novel Holy Terror.)

Speaking of Sin City, his art in these four issues isn’t anywhere near as appropriate (or good) as it was in The Dark Knight Returns, but he does do some very interesting things by using style to convey mood. Characters will appear cartoonish, oversized, undersized, etc., depending on what is happening in the script.

If the script were better, this would have been really, really interesting.

THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN #1

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This series was far inferior to Miller’s first 4-issue story about Batman. In fact, it’s not even a Batman story, really. It’s a Justice League story.

Maybe the reason I didn’t like it so much is that so many writers did pretty much the same thing, only better–like Grant Morrison in JLA Earth 2 and all the folks who wrote great Squadron Supreme stories at Marvel.

But there’s still much to recommend here. This panel sets the tone: Strange art, new depictions of classic heroes, deconstruction both through image and text.

THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS #4

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The final issue, the final battle.  And I love that Batman is helped by Green Arrow in this—Ollie Queen is pretty much the poor man’s Batman anyway.
By the end of the story, Batman has become the real symbol of humanity and hope—and Superman has become a faded figure who lacks moral imperative.  And it all happens organically, and quickly, over the course of these four issues.

And that’s the end of Miller’s first Batman story.  Next: Dark Knight 2.

THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS #3

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Yes, this is the one with the Joker battle.  But the real story here is the build-up to the big Batman-Superman battle to come.

I love the way Miller uses color in the narration box to signal that this is big blue thinking, and the way he drills down from way up the clouds, where Superman lives, down closer to the real world of Batman and humans.

I can’t swear to this, but I’m pretty sure the use of colored narration boxes was an innovation here to signal multiple narrators.  The possibility of more than one “first person” is one of the things that makes comic books, as a genre, unique.

Nobody has figured out how to do that in other art forms without the story getting disjointed or confusing.

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