Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Supergirl In DK2


A friend of mine recently had the opportunity to buy DK2 #1 for one dollar. He shied away because he remembered how much I had disliked the series. Apparently when the book was released back in 2001,  I said that it was so bad, 'it might change how you look at the first series'.

Now I think those are overly dramatic words by me back then. Dark Knight Returns is and will always be a fantastic book no matter how bad the sequel is. In the same way, The Matrix will always be a great movie even if the two sequels were horrible.

That said, I had to admit that I hadn't read the series since it was released. Could 10 years and more life experience by me change what I thought of DK2. Could I have 'missed something' the first time around? I hadn't thought about DK2 in years. I figured it was time to look at it again.

Guess what ... it was as bad as I remember, if not worse. My overall thoughts are at the bottom. But I was stunned when I saw that Supergirl was in the book briefly. I had completely forgotten that.


In the series, Lex Luthor and Brainiac basically run everything on Earth behind the scenes. They have either eliminated, captured, ostracized, or control all the super-heroes on the planet (outside of Batman of course). This includes Superman.

Brainiac has somehow got his hands on the bottle city of Kandor and has his robot troops patrolling the city. Should Superman disobey, Brainiac selects a Kryptonian family within the city and murders them. With the future of the Kryptonian culture and people at stake, Superman kowtows.

Within Kandor, the leader of the Kryptonian rebels trying to overthrow Brainiac's troops is none other than Kara. Unfortunately she is captive and helpless. In a bit of melodrama, Kara cries out biblically to Kal 'Why have you forsaken us?' That is Kara's one panel in the book.


Here is Superman being taunted by Luthor and Brainiac about the Kandor predicament (it is a hologram, explaining the perspective).

Boy, Brainiac looks like Xerxes from 300.


There are a couple more Supergirl-specific moments in DK2 I thought I would share. The heroes, once back together and working against Luthor, run an assault mission against Midvale Orphanage. The orphanage is a 'secret' government facility ... as secret as you can be with guards, cannons, and electric fences.


It turns out the orphanage is a Cadmus-like genetics lab run by Dick Wilson. Dick Wilson, in the Silver Age, tormented Kara in the orphanage. He 'became' Dick Malverne when he was adopted.


Of course, there is a 'Supergirl' in DK2. Superman and Wonder Woman's daughter Lara plays a very active role in the second half of the book, rebelling against her passive father and acting as an angry pro-active hero.

But overall DK2 simply does not work. I think that Miller had no idea what he wanted this book to be. Unlike Dark Knight where an overall plot weaved through the chapters, DK2 is simply all over the place.

First off, it barely has Batman in it. It's more of a JLA story set in the Dark Knight world.

Second, it seems like Miller didn't know what he wanted the story to be. Batman v Superman ideologically? Batman v Luthor who has in essence taken over the world? Batman rallying the world to recognize they are all slaves to nonsensical media? Superman v Brainiac? Batman actually luring the JLAers out of retirement to lead the world again? Batman v a reincarnated Joker (won't ruin the surprise if people want to read this)?

It's all of those and more, but not enough of any of them. It is like an omelette with too many ingredients. The egg (Batman) isn't enough to hold it all together. It reads like a disorganized almost incoherent mess.

Third, Miller just shoves way too much Sin City in the story. Now I like Sin City.  The problem is this isn't Sin City. And unlike Sin City, where the stories are pretty cohesive, here these bits stand out as 'why the heck is this moment here, it doesn't make sense'. Or 'why is he spending so much time on the half-dressed girl rock band; can't I have more Batman in this book?' Those moments are there, I assume, to make the people who bought DK2 because they are Sin City fans happy. But I bet those people hate all the superhero stuff.

As a result, I would once again recommend that people don't read this book.

There are some ... maybe a handful ... of moments that work, unlike pretty much the entirety of Dark Knight Returns which still rocks. 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Frank Miller's attitude towards Superman is that he is Bruce Wayne's patsy...so why would he treat SuperGIRL any more respectfully?
Begging her cousin for help and drawn to look like a corpse...Frank Miller's contempt for the characters is visceral.

John Feer

Heretic said...

I never understood the love for Frank Miller's work on Batman. Maybe it has something to do with the time period it was published and the reaction it instilled in it's readers. But for me, Miller really isn't a good writer for Batman.

Kandou Erik said...

I agree with people's complaints about the book - but I sort of liked it. Not the same as the first series - but it stood on it's own as just a bizarre experiment in creativity.

BTW - The third issue was changed at a lot - especially with Lois dying - because of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. Miller was in New York literally breathing in the remains of the Twin Towers. He felt he had to acknowledge it in some way.

Diabolu said...

I don't think I actually read the third issue. At some point, it just became irredeemable, so I skimmed it. I know I read the first two issues, and I barely remember anything. I seem to recall allegations of nose candy impacting this and most every other Miller work of the new century. As noted, the delayed and rewritten third chapter reveals a lot, because who starts a story without having a concrete idea of where it is meant to end? Then again, the whole project was like the meandering jams at a Dead/Phish concert, but as if performed by the Sex Pistols. Unfocused juvenile aggression and three chords have their limitations.

Gene said...

Not a fan ot the artwork either. It almost hurts my eyes just looking at it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Don Heck lives...thats all I will say about the artwork. Hell Don drew prettier women even in worst headlong rush to best the deadline.

John Feer

Anonymous said...

I have always found it odd that Frank Miller, of all people, was chosen to draw the cover for Supergirl Archives Volume 1. It just seems so out-of-place. For the record, I love Dark Knight Returns and his work on Daredevil with Klaus Janson. But his style is not right for Supergirl, in my opinion.

Aaron

Anj said...

Frank Miller's attitude towards Superman is that he is Bruce Wayne's patsy...so why would he treat SuperGIRL any more respectfully?

HIs disdain for Superman is even more pronounced here. Although in the end, Superman does finally get fed up.

But Bats just dominates him.

Anj said...

But for me, Miller really isn't a good writer for Batman.

Well, I think Dark KNight Returns and Batman Year One both capture the psychosis it would take to be Batman. I enjoy those works.

This was a mess.

Anj said...

The third issue was changed at a lot - especially with Lois dying - because of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. Miller was in New York literally breathing in the remains of the Twin Towers. He felt he had to acknowledge it in some way.



Interesting, I didn't know that.

Anj said...

Unfocused juvenile aggression and three chords have their limitations.

Unfocused is the perfect word for this. It really is all over the map.

Anj said...

Not a fan ot the artwork either. It almost hurts my eyes just looking at it.

Yeah. It looks very rushed, almost scribbly in some places.

Anj said...

I have always found it odd that Frank Miller, of all people, was chosen to draw the cover for Supergirl Archives Volume 1. It just seems so out-of-place.

I have wondered this as well, so thanks for mentioning it.

Could it be a selling point? 'With Frank Miller cover ...' I'd have rather just seen the Action #252 Supergirl on the cover.

TalOs said...

I remember so looking forward to this coming out at time but upon actualy reading it was really let down and had found myself really wishing Frank spent some more time on ironing out it's kinks plot wise as well as putting more effort into his art too.

Question - Why would Kara willingly choose to live out rest of her life amongst her people in the bottle city of Kandor for all the years even prior to Brainiac's 2nd attack on the city come DK2 time line instead of opting to remain on Earth where she could've done greater good as Earth's 2nd adult Kryptonian champion "Superwoman"? I just could never understand the reasoning behind that. Although in having had said that i just absolutely adored the official introduction of Superman and Wonder Woman's Kryptonian/Amazonian hybrid secret love child "Lara" being introduced as Earth's all new Supergirl and really loved how she managed to rallie the residents of the bottle city of Kandor in the assault against Brainiac for man that was just badass! B-D