Hello again Bat-fanatics. Time for round two of Batman vs. Lex Luthor.
This time we’re taking a look at Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again, the incredible sequel to the definitive The Dark Knight Returns. This is a good one, folks. Bats returns after a few years underground training his new protégé as well as the gang members from the previous book into his new Batboys. Lex Luthor has taken over America, maybe even the world it’s not very clear actually, with the help of Brainiac. He has control of Wonder Woman, Capt. Marvel, and Superman himself (all thanks to blackmail, of course). Now, to the matter at hand.
Batman – Bruce’s motivation is having spent two or three years hiding underground (in the Batcave of course!) training his Bat-army to take down Lex Luthor, who has since taken over the United States secretly with the help of Brainiac. He’s done waiting. Time for war! Point.
Lex Luthor – Luthor’s motivation is to maintain his control of the country which is under a martial law state. Point.
Batman – He’s spent years training his Bat-boys and Carrie Kelly (formerly Robin, now Catgirl) and plotting his war to take back the U.S. from Luthor. He’s even planned his recruitment and rescue of several former Justice Leaguers. Point.
Lex Luthor – He has spent years blackmailing Superman, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel with the help of Brainiac to maintain his control over America. He’s got the big guns in case anyone screws with this plan. Point.
Batman – Oh, he’s ready. Years of planning and training his army. Yeah, he’s ready, wary, cautious(ish), and very vigilant considering he’s also freeing and recruiting former Justice Leaguers to his cause. Point.
Lex Luthor – Vigilant, no. Wary, no. Cautious, yes. However, as usual, arrogance keeps him from getting this point. No point.
4) Abilities/Gadgets Used
Batman – An awesome new cape that literally slices people (razors on the edge). He even cuts a Z on Lex’s face (referencing The Mark of Zorro, the film he saw the night his parents died). New incendiary devices, rocket/skate/boots for Carrie for her Catgirl suit, riot control weapons his Batboys utilize. Point.
Lex Luthor – Using a computer-generated President (complete with personality control matrix to make him more appealing) means he controls everything this President says or does. Media control and censorship. He even has some sort of communications device that allows him to project himself before Superman and the others at any time, and apparently knows where they are at all times. Point.
Again, this has no bearing on either of them in this fight. No point for either.
6) Allies/Rogues Involved
Batman – This is my favorite aspect of the book. Ok there are a lot. Carrie Kelly (Catgirl), Ray Palmer (The Atom), Barry Allen (The Flash), Hal Jordan (GL, even though he only shows up for one critical moment but it’s a huge moment), Superman (once they eliminate the blackmail holding him in Luthor’s clutches), Lara El (daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman), Diana Prince (Wonder Woman), Vic Sage (The Question, wielding a gun now which is an interesting change but whatever, the faceless detective is a personal favorite), Oliver Queen (Green Arrow, equipped with a replacement arm since he lacked one in the previous book), Ralph Dibney (Elongated Man), Eel O’Brien (Plastic Man, another personal favorite), and the Bat-Boys. Whew. Point.
Lex Luthor – Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel (he has all three for most of the book, until Bats screws that up to bring them back to the side of justice and badassery), and Brainiac. Point.
7) Memorable in this story?
Batman – Without a doubt! This is Frank Miller’s original interpretation of Batman. Imagine Marv and Dwight with Batman’s intelligence and training, but with their grittiness. Point.
Lex Luthor – I think so. He’s not as memorable as Bats though. Bats steals this book, as he should since it’s a Batman book. No point.
The final count:
|Is the story memorable?|
|Overall Round Winner|
Yikes, Lex. Batman wins again. Up next in round three we’ll look at Batman: Rules of Engagement. No allies for either of them in this book. We’ll see how it goes.
Posted by Chris Gering