Title: Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again

Published: 2002

Author: Frank Miller & Lynn Varley

Challenge status: Included on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund‘s list of case studies. Book #20 on Summer of Banned Books ’13.

Why: In 2010 the book was challenged in an Ohio library for containing offensive language, sexism, & being “inappropriate for age group”. The book was retained and now there are TWO copies in the young adult section. Yeah Canton, Ohio! More info here.

First line: “It’s been three years since, in the eyes of those who live above, I died.”

Synopsis:

From Henry Miller to Frank Miller, yeah baby. This a Batman of a near-future, dystopian world full of inane talking heads all spewing variants of the same message, heros underground or in hiding, and Lex Luthor with the whole world on remote control. We get to meet the super-daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman, Catgirl, and the controversial “Superchix” – a band on the verge of getting banned. And Batman is gritty, and Wonder Woman is truly a queen of the Amazons, and Superman is conflicted…and there’s the Green Lantern, and the Flash, and Plastic Man…

The book keeps a relentless, frenetic pace, with the art as jagged and clipped and “noisy” as the constant sidelong commentary of the new media. Which makes it feel…timely.

I’m not sure there’s too much more to say on the plot; it’s a good riff on the Dark Knight series. I’m a Batman fan and a Frank Miller fan, so this made for a good read. I think the challenge of this book is a good example of how people can get confused about comics being for kids. This comic – and Batman in general, and Frank Miller as a rule – is not for kids. I think the current crop of Batman movies have made the point quite well that the Dark Knight is *dark*. Not that there’s been a long line of people lately all surprised that Batman isn’t all Adam West trading Biff, Bam, Pows with Cesar Romero in-between squirting flower gags, but still. In that way I do think the “graphic novel” designation has been a helpful, rather than entirely precious, descriptor. Comics aren’t all “funny pages”.

And here’s Frank giving the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund a plug.