[World of Bats] DK2: The Dark Knight Strikes Again

Hello everyone and welcome to the World of Bats, the Batman Book Club!

This week we’re continuing our look at the works of Frank Miller in the world of Batman. We’re going from the seminal work of Dark Knight Returns to it’s more infamous sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again!

Three years after the events in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Batman knows the world is nowhere near the perfect little place it pretends to be, and he sees the cracks in the system that have been neatly covered up. It’s time to find where all the heroes have gone, and the Dark Knight is the right man for the job.

Here are the links to the three issues:

Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again #1
Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again #2
Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again #3

Reading will go from 2021-07-10T05:00:00Z2021-07-16T05:00:00Z, but if you’re living in a cave growing your own private army, you can always come back later and share your thoughts.

Looking forward to discussing this one with everyone! :smiley:

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And if you’re looking for more Bat-related books to read, check out the reading from some of the other great clubs at DCUI!

First, the Renegade Robins have recently started reading through the classic “Bat-Manga” from Jiro Kuwata from 1966! Also, Damian Wayne is back from the grave, and now with the powers of Superman! Surely nothing could possibly go wrong…right?

Meanwhile, over at the Birds of Prey, throughout the month they are diving deep into their first official on-going series!

Also, if you want to read more of our past explorations of Frank Miller’s Batman work, you can click the links down below!


Three years have passed in-universe, and Miller is ready to undo the ending of his previous book. This time, the world is literally being run by literal supervillains instead of mere corrupt politicians, which makes the satire far less biting.

After Bruce stirs up some trouble by using his teen troops to free the Atom and the Flash, we get a rematch with Superman. This time, Bruce thinks with his head instead of his ego (and relies far more on the help of other heroes), so things play out differently.

The first issue is fine, if less refined than the DK1 miniseries. I’ll admit that the art in this comic becomes much easier to follow on a re-read than it was the first time around.


This was my first time reading this mini series. It was an interesting story. I didnt like the way he handled Dick Grayson at all.

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Just finished the first volume. Kind of wish i wasn’t so spoiled on what happens, but my eyes should be mature enough to be able to watch it play out.


Yeah, and I noticed that they gave the President an actual fake name instead of just obscuring it. And I seem to remember the hologram looking more like Bush than he does here. Though that could be something that’s tweaked in issue 2 maybe? It still kinda works in that during the time I remember a lot of people criticizing Bush for being basically an empty cipher being lead on by his corrupt cabinet, so a hologram makes some sort of sense.

Those bits take up a huge chunk of the story, and I have to say those are some of my favorite parts of this issue. I always get the vibe that Miller wanted to try to make the Silver Age JLA characters cool again, and not by making them fundamentally change as characters – they’re still the pure, strong and powerful heroes from the past, but their situations are different. I think Carrie’s reaction to them are what kids reading this are supposed to feel.

I think it worked well enough for me – DKR was the first comic I read, and while I read more between this and DKSA, it was mostly other Batman work or Vertigo books. So this was my first comic book exposure to characters like The Flash, The Atom, (then) Captain Marvel, and The Question, and I think it helped start my interest in those characters. Not to mention Superman and Wonder Woman.

Yeah, I’ll go into it a little more a little later, but my reaction do that bit was basically:

Cool! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. :slight_smile:


Yeah, by contrast, I had been reading DC comics for more than a decade before I read Miller’s Batman stories, so his take didn’t inform my view of the characters.

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I have lived through these events and read it cover to cover 3 times in addition to many times where I skimmed for scenes or screenshots, and I… have no idea what is going on for most of it.


Okay. I was amused by News in the Nude. As well as the brokerage firm ad (1st volume, in the beginning). And the Superchix.

The art definitely could use some sort of context. And I would have liked to know more about what happened to Dick: from getting fired because he couldn’t cut the mustard to the experiment(s) to choosing to kill. I did like that his costume were LoSH classic hits.

I liked how Batman brought in Atom and Flash, mostly to get them out of captivity.

I liked Plastic Man to Elongated Man: “you can’t even turn into stuff; you just stretch”.

I like the idea of a Supergirl that is a child of Superman and Wonder Woman. I liked how Wonder Woman was drawn: her face and the bicycle shorts in particular.

And the final battle to overthrow the Villain Government flowed very smoothly.


Fun fact – that’s actually a thing, “Naked News” is a TV show that started in 1999 and in looking it up it’s actually still on…surprisingly? Not surprisingly? There was one with male anchors, but that didn’t last long…surprisingly? Not Surprisingly?

You mean in terms of why it looks as it does? I think with Miller that’s just how his style evolved from doing books like Sin City. In a lot of ways the book basically feels like a mix of Sin City and the Super Friends, with a dash of V for Vendetta for flavor.

As for the coloring, it’s been said that this was Miller’s frequent collaborator Lynn Varley’s first forey into digital coloring and a lot of it was her experimenting with the tools. That’s likely why some pages look better than others.

I think All-Star Batman was supposed to at least give a little context – I’m sure Dick’s tenure as Robin was always an uphill battle after how they initially started.


I knew about Naked News. I was not aware that the one with male anchors didn’t last. As social commentary, I liked the use of ‘sex sells’ taken to such a degree.

The short answer is yes. I don’t hate it and I could mostly follow the story. Maybe I am biased to silver and bronze age styled panels.

I know Dick and Jason were mentioned in DKR, and that seemed to imply Dick grew up, presumably to become Nightwing. Then Jason enters the picture, and another presumably, he dies. I guess I prefer Dick Grayson to quit being Robin vs being fired.

Another thing: the use of tights vs suit or costume. Even Batman says it, beaming with pride.


Huh, I never thought of this Dick becoming Nightwing in this world – I just figured he retired or something.

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Oh, and the YouTube channel Cartoonist Kayfabe did a big long video on Dark Knight Strikes Again that might be interesting for y’all.


I might be letting my head canon out. The reference is almost in passing. It’s early in the story. Bruce and Jim Gordon are having a conversation. But there is no context; i.e., whether or not either of them had died or quit or whatever. From what I can remember.

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I’m going to be blunt, I didn’t like The Dark Knight Strikes Again. I thought the art was ugly (though I guess that’s sort of what Miller is going for) and the plot felt disjointed. There seemed to be to many “and then this happened” moments and not enough “therefores” or “howevers” in the plot.

I hated seeing a Superman that was neutered by a couple of his greatest enemies and called an idiot by his friend (is Batman still Superman’s friend?). I could also do without Superman and Wonder Woman banging so hard that they cause a natural disaster.

Seeing Luthor as a bruiser was also pretty jarring to me. Was Miller really just wanting to use Kingpin, but couldn’t because this is DC?

Anyway, it is time to say something nice. I thought some of the stuff with Ray Palmer was pretty cool. I’m particularly thinking about the part before Carrie rescues him and how it’s mirrored at the end when he un-bottles Kandor.


Gordon is trying to get me to reconnect with Dick. This means either Dick is still alive or Gordon falsely thinks he is still alive.

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In issue #2, we finally get a good reason why the world would kill off the superheroes if given a chance: apparently, Superman and Wonder Woman cause natural disasters whenever they hook up! Forget Bruce’s complaints about Clark: can we talk about this?!

Speaking of Bruce, he shows his affinity for Zorro on Lex Luthor’s face. He then shows apathy over an alien invasion (actually Brainiac in disguise), which Clark then takes on, quoting the cover of Superman #32 (1945) as he does. Too bad this exposes Superman’s presence to the world. No more hiding in the shadows for him. Back to posing for the cover of Action Comics #1.

As the Dixie Chicks get into it with the digital George W. Bush*, Batman gets the help of Elongated Man to subdue Plastic Man long enough to talk him into joining the crusade. (Miller really seems to have a thing for Plastic Man.) Bruce then starts ranting about the Deep State like an embarrassing grandpa at a family picnic before dealing with something related to the Thanagarians.

More superhero cameos abound: the Question meets up with Martian Manhunter, who now looks like Killer Croc and who quickly dies thereafter in a rather anticlimactic way. (Oh, did I mention there’s a new Joker?) Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman try to help Superman fight Brainiac, but to no avail. Good thing Miller established that Supes and Wondy have a kid who can save the day.

Then we end with Batman showing up in public and taking off his mask, and…wow, that was a quick drop-off into Crazyville, wasn’t it? The first issue was really no better or worse than the fourth issue of DK1, but this one is just a huge mess. You can feel the seeds of Miller’s All Star Batman approach to the DC universe here, with all the heroes acting in the most bizarre ways possible as the world around them grows increasingly ludicrous.

*This comic actually predates that controversy by a few months, but it’s hard not to draw a comparison. Life imitates art!


We’ve always been bizarre Knox. The only difference is some of us hide it better.

Alfred, give Knox a grant.


That’s totally fair. I can definitely see that being hard sells for some people.

That’s a good question. I think in this universe it’s definitely more of an “It’s Complicated.” You get the feeling from the time in between their start and their end that they had to have had at least some respect and comradery of each other’s specific skills at some point. I think there may have been some sort of friendship, but stuff like what happened with the government soured it for a long time.

It’s not a relationship I’d want to see in the main universe but I think it’s interesting to explore in an alternate one. It’s a shame that we haven’t got to really see how their dynamic shifted in this universe. Who knows, maybe we’ll see that one day.

Multiple natural disasters! :rofl:

Super/Wonder isn’t inherently my jam, but I think it works in this universe even if they kinda kick things up to 11 with it.

The one thing that kind of annoyed me while reading this again for the club was Diana’s…okay, first, the whole “speaking through caption boxes” with Clark and Diana is odd. Like, do they have a psychic report or something like Scott Summers and Jean Grey? But the bit from their earthshaking ruckus that took me out for a second was her saying/thinking “I’m pregnant again.” Like, I guess you’re a demigod but…how do you know this?

You know, I wonder if that was a remark on the critiques of Luthor that were given for John Byrne’s Superman relaunch in the 80s. At the time, a lot of fans REALLY didn’t like the idea that Luthor was just a corrupt businessman and not the genius criminal scientist he was during the Golden and Silver Ages. While a lot of comparisons were made to Donald Trump at the time, but seeing this big time Marvel writer reboot the character, a lot of people also compared that take on Luthor to…the Kingpin.

Definitely – got some Sword of the Atom vibes while playing with his role as a scientist more.

And that went well for everybody. :laughing:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :smiley:


Let me look that up…

Huh. Is that the first time that’s ever done with Superman? Neat.

…Huh. Like you said, it does predate it a bit, but that is a fun comparison. I think in reality they were likely more inspired by the pop princesses of the time – Britney Spears, Christina Agulira, etc.

I mean, who doesn’t? Plastic Man’s awesome. He offers some good comic relief while still being a solid hero in his own right.

Hey, Bruce was ranting about that stuff before it was cool. :rofl: I did like the moment with the Thanagarian kids. While in retrospect it is odd as to why Luthor decided to do this, other than just “mad with power,” but I liked Bruce sympathizing with them and offering them something he never had.

I mean, you’re not wrong, but that’s kinda why I like it? It just goes there, and sometimes I think it stumbles and falls a lot, but there are some good bits here and in the next issue, IMO.