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.
This revision of an iconic character, the sequel to Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, has been one of comics publishing's most anticipated events. As installments of the DK2 comic appeared, controversy mounted. Much sloppier and gaudier, the strip didn't really resemble Miller's earlier book, and in the wake of September 11, Miller's in-your-face confrontation with authority figures upset some readers. The collected book edition makes it easier to appreciate why he'd take such risks. Miller sees Batman as an extremist, pushed to the verge of insanity because he can't compromise his beliefs. In this continuation, he's convinced today's world is controlled by powers even crazier and more ego driven than he is. And he's right. Lex Luthor and Brainiac have imprisoned, enlisted or intimidated Earth's superheroes; but the only one they can't control is the hero with no super powers, just furious moral rage. Superman, the ultimate voice of reason, tries to calm Batman. Instead, all hell breaks loose, in pages full of bursting shapes, digitized Day-Glo colors and jagged continuity. Intense as the reading experience is, it's less disturbing than Batman's assault on the masters of America and their accomplices. Miller peppers the book with caricatures of current politicians and pundits rubbing shoulders with outrageously cartoonish goons as they defend a computer-generated president and the Freedom From Information Act. If the masters of power are engaging in terrorism, this work suggests, why shouldn't rebels use terror in return? But how does a successful rebel avoid becoming a fascist leader himself? These are the questions Miller asks in this serious, important comic, a work that's intentionally disturbing in many ways and on many levels.