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View Full Version : Could someone please be of explaining these thing in the "The Dark Knight Returns"?


Muad'Dib
07-16-2003, 02:08 AM
If you don't like spoilers, then git the ell out.














I know next to nothing about the DC universe so I am a bit confused about some of the references in here, but people just kept say GRAYTIST COMIK EVAR!!!!11!, so I decided I must read it.

Quoted from Superman

We almost threw a party when you retired.

By then the PBI was in it and things were getting out of hand.

And there was that trouble with Oliver.

Do you remember why you retired Bruce?

No--just look at you--

--You'd do it again-- and like a murderer, you'd cover it up again.

Nothing matters to you-- except your Holy War.


Could someone please explain this?

Who the heck is Oliver and what was his trouble?
Who or what is the PBI?
Why did Batman retire, and what did he cover up?

And from other parts of the book:
Who the heck is Jason, and what happened to him?
Why is Catwoman now a fat whore and how is it that the Joker knows her personally?
Who is the one armed man? How has he "kept busy"? Who has been "covering up" for him? How did he lose his arm? Did Superman do it? Why? And Why the F' would this twit use a bow and arrow when he has one arm?


I am sure that I have many other questions but I was just flipping through the trade paperback after reading it several months ago.

Ranchoth
07-16-2003, 02:27 AM
I'll do what I can...

The "One Armed Man" is Oliver Queen, the "Green Arrow"—Another D.C. superhero. In the mainstream DC Universe, he still has both arms. (Last time I checked, anyway) Green Arrow is an expert (if not actually superpowered) archer, and Batman needed his help in shooting Superman with a kryptonite arrow.

(About that part...keep in mind that Frank Miller, the author of "Dark Knight" reportedly hates Superman, and that's why he's cast him as a government-enthralled "bad guy")

"Jason" is (probably) Jason Todd, Dick Grayson's replacement as Robin. (Dick, the original Robin, became "Nightwing" a couple of decades ago) Jason Todd was brutally murdered by the Joker, back in the...early 80s, I think it was?

I'm sorry to admit that I haven't read all of "The Dark Knight Returns" myself...but I have read a bit of it's newly-published sequel "The Dark Knight Strikes Back." And I *think* I have a glimmer of an idea of why Batman retired...



Apparently, the U.S. government has been effectively taken over by Lex Luthor and Braniac, who use a computer generated "puppet" president to rule through. They'd apparently managed to gain the compliance of various superheros, such as Superman, by taking quite a few hostages. Other superheroes, such as the Flash, were taken prisoner by the government.

I'd guess that Batman and the Green Arrow were forced into retirement around this time.

The "PBI" is probably some totalitarian evolution of the FBI.

Ura-Maru
07-16-2003, 02:53 AM
Honestly, DKR hasn't aged well at all. And even at the time, I thought it was overrated. Miller has done much better, even though he's not one of my favorates.

Something moderatly awful apparently happened in the 'past', but what specifically isn't explained. (The series is set 15 or 20 years 'ahead' of the normal Batman) Presumably it involved a build-up period where Bruce was getting more and more out of control, as the government was getting more facist. Apparently Supes (and probably the rest of the superhero community) made a deal to leave him alone if he retired. Apparently the government was involved in trying to get him to quit. Green Arrow was apparently involved.

Jason: Dead. Possibly involved in aforementioned moderatly awful incident. Miller reads a lot of manga, so a safe assumption is that he objected to Bruce's extremism, walked off after an intense confrontation, and got killed by someone who was actually after Batman, probably right in front of him, and probaby just under a flowering cherry tree. But that's only a guess. :)

Catwoman: I think she's a madam, technically. I thought Joker knew her from their supervillan days, though. Got to be a bit of a slap in the face that he was more interested in her in someone ELSE'S costume, though.

The one armed man (Oliver) is Green Arrow. Thus the bow. :)

--
'Ah, Catwoman! I finally have you in my evil clutches! Now put on this Wonder Woman costume and say "Great Hera!"'

Ura-Maru
07-16-2003, 02:55 AM
Ouch. I'd like to apologize for the grammer in the second paragraph there.

Odinoneeye
07-16-2003, 03:28 AM
A lot of this isn't spelled out but it was what I inferred from the text.

At some point in time, society turns against the heros. Most of them decide to quit (Diana (Wonder Woman) went back to her people, Hal (Green Lantern) went to the stars). Superman became a government agent. My impression is that Ollie (Green Arrow) refused to quit and Superman had to stop him by severing his arm. (This is implied although it really didn't sit well with me knowing Superman's character).

Jason was Jason Todd and he had been killed in the mainstream DC Universe before this series came out. In one of the worst decisions in DC editorial history, they set up 900 numbers for people to vote whether or not Jason would die in the story line that was going on at the time. Fans voted him dead.

Muad'Dib
07-16-2003, 03:40 AM
They did it with f'ing 900 numbers?!?!

Askia
07-16-2003, 04:21 AM
Odinoneeye: The Jason Todd character was alive for around three years after Dark Knight Returns 1-4 debuted. I deeply suspect that one indirect consequence of the popularity of DKR was that a sizeable base of DCU fanboys wanted the various storylines in DC comics to move toward Miller's vision: grim and gritty comics, America undern control of a fascist government, anti-superheroic sentiment, etc. When the chance to off Jason Todd came around... who could resist?

What gets me is this: When Batman 427 came out, you only had 36 hours to respond to the 900 numbers, which cost 50 cents each! DC comics received 10,614 calls. The final votes were VERY close: 5271 for, 5343 against.

I voted to kill of Jason, btw. It was me, me, ME!

My copy of DKR says the FBI was in on it.

Odinoneeye
07-16-2003, 05:38 AM
I'm sure when I read Dark Knight, Jason was already dead. Just going by memory here and it wouldn't be the first thing I remembered wrong.

kingpengvin
07-16-2003, 08:26 AM
He was still alive at the time of DKR. I always assumed Batman gave up the Mantle when something happened to Jason due to his own actions. As Jason was just a kid I'm sure the other heroes would question why the hell Batman would let him be endangered during his "quest".

Supes said "like a murderer..." he was just being figurative. With Jason dead either Bats would retire so that no one would notice Jason gone, thus revealing who batman was or he's cover up Jason's death so that no one would connect the dead Robin with the dead Jason. I have a feeling, that to outsiders both Robin andJason simply dissapeared.

Probably why Dick Grayson wasn't on speaking terms. Remember this was based on a pre crisis DC Universe so Dick Grayson had a hand in guiding Jason to Bruce what with his parents being killed by Killer Croc. Had Batman's actions lead to Jason's death and then to a cover up Dick would not have taken too well to that.

Just an interpretation.

By the way the one armed man and Oliver is Definitely the Green arrow...

Max Torque
07-16-2003, 10:17 AM
I haven't looked at DKR in years, but as I recall, the references to Jason Todd were all along the lines of, "...after what happened to Jason," or, "Remember what happened to Jason?". They never explicitly said he was killed. At the time, DC was already dissatisfied with Jason Todd and thinking about removing him from active duty, so to speak. As I recall, it was said back when "A Death In The Family" was published, that even if Robin lived through the Joker's murder attempt, he would never be the same, and he'd be so badly injured that he would give up being Robin.

Searching the net, I find that DKR was first published in 1986, while the "A Death In The Family" storyline was published in 1988. So, no question, the references in DKR came well before Jason Todd's death. But, again, they never actually say in DKR that Jason was killed, only that something bad happened to him.

Muad'Dib
07-17-2003, 03:54 AM
Originally posted by Askia
Odinoneeye: The Jason Todd character was alive for around three years after Dark Knight Returns 1-4 debuted. I deeply suspect that one indirect consequence of the popularity of DKR was that a sizeable base of DCU fanboys wanted the various storylines in DC comics to move toward Miller's vision: grim and gritty comics, America undern control of a fascist government, anti-superheroic sentiment, etc. When the chance to off Jason Todd came around... who could resist?

What gets me is this: When Batman 427 came out, you only had 36 hours to respond to the 900 numbers, which cost 50 cents each! DC comics received 10,614 calls. The final votes were VERY close: 5271 for, 5343 against.

I voted to kill of Jason, btw. It was me, me, ME!

My copy of DKR says the FBI was in on it.

I don't see why you say that the government is fascist.

Diceman
07-17-2003, 07:35 AM
Originally posted by Muad'Dib
I don't see why you say that the government is fascist.
Read Ranchoth's spoiler.

Zebra
07-17-2003, 09:54 AM
IIRC

Batman the Dark Knight Returns was set in this dystopian future and basically Super Heros were outlawed. Superman worked for the government but in secret. The other Super heros either left earth (green lantern) moved to another country or retired.

The trouble with Oliver is that he apparently put up a fight and Superman removed one of his arms. (Superman is not a doctor) Oliver moved to Canada after that.

Batman retired. I think Batman retired after some huge battle and it was heavily implied that Jason died and that Bruce Wayne blamed himself.

Catwoman is retired and old and fat. Catwoman was on the wrong side of the law sometimes and probably knew the Joker that way.

In the opening pages it mentions how many years have past since Batman last walked the streets. 20 years?

I could help you more with the last three quotes, if you put then in context and tell me from what part of the story they appear.

I recall some people thought Batman killed the Joker in cold blood when actually it was the Joker killed himself. That may be the murder to which Superman refers.

The 'nothing matters to you' part may be Superman worried about the new Robin and wonders if Batman even cares that he is putting her at risk.

As far as Rancoths spoiler that is about the sequal. IN the first one the president of the US is cleary a stylized Ronald Reagan. We don't see any of that stuff in the first one.

El Elvis Rojo
07-17-2003, 12:07 PM
I think all those quotes from Superman are just little digs at Batman. Especially the "like a murderer" comment. Everyone knows Batman doesn't kill and abhors murderers...to compare him to one is probably the worst insult one could throw at him. As for Bat's "Holy War", that's pretty much the way he faces his war on crime. He's got a furvor none of the other heroes have at stopping it at all costs, and because of his fairly fundamental ideals and practices, he's pretty much isolated every other superhero out there. Even in today's comics (and those of the past), he's never been the easiest to get along with. He's a crusader.

kingpengvin
07-17-2003, 01:36 PM
The Cat woman Joker connection would be from pre crisis comics... Hell in one 4 pt story (1976.. the comic even has a contest for kids who want to be in the upcoming Superman Movie) Batman is missing and presumed dead. The entire Gotham underworld gets a mock trial to find out who is guilty of the crime... Ras al Guhl was the judge, Two face the attourney and guys like Mr Freeze, Cavalier, mad hatter and Poisin Ivy made up the jury. The 4 people "accused' were Riddler, Catwoman, Lex Luthor and The Joker. Long story short, in those days everyone knew everyone.

Miller
07-17-2003, 09:22 PM
I don't read a lot of superhero comics, so I don't know the chronology of all this, but I just read the collection of Kevin Smith's run on Green Arrow, who (I was surprised to learn) had been dead for some time. According to a flashback, he'd been on a jet with his arm strapped to a bomb. Superman was with him, and offered to burn his arm off and save his life, and Green Arrow refused, preferring to be killed rather than maimed. (Er, exactly how many cyborgs are there in the DCU? Nevermind.) I don't know when this happened- the chronology is the whole books seems a little screwy, but that's another thread. If it happened before DKR, then it seems to be a continuity hack where GA accepted Superman's offer. If it was after, then it's either incidental or an aborted attempt to move the current continuity more in line with what Miller conceived. Or possibly Kevin Smith pulled the entire thing out of his ass: I don't know, I've never read a Green Arrow comic before.

Originally posted by Ura-Maru
Honestly, DKR hasn't aged well at all. And even at the time, I thought it was overrated. Miller has done much better, even though he's not one of my favorates.

Have you read it lately? It's feeling a lot more relevent.



FTR, while I do enjoy his work, I'm not a Frank Miller Superfan. My screenname is entirely coincidental.

Master Wang-Ka
07-17-2003, 10:13 PM
(We almost threw a party when you retired.)

Batman has never been a good team player. He tends to act on his own. Plainly, they were happy he was gone.

(By then the PBI was in it and things were getting out of hand.)

I thought that said "FBI." The Federal Bureau of Investigation. This would work well with Superman's later mention of the Justice League's testimony before Congress (in which Batman is said to have made the remark, "We've always been criminals. We have to be criminals.")

(And there was that trouble with Oliver.)

This is never explained, but it is heavily implied that Superman was responsible for the loss of Oliver's (Green Arrow's) arm, which would seem to be why Oliver's kind of mad at Superman. One can only assume it must have been major trouble if Superman was willing to rip a man's arm off.


(Do you remember why you retired Bruce?

No--just look at you--

--You'd do it again-- and like a murderer, you'd cover it up again.

Nothing matters to you-- except your Holy War.)

At the time, the second Robin (Jason Todd) was still alive in the regular Batman comics continuity. We never find out exactly what happened to him in the alternate future of DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, but this passage would seem to indicate that he died or was killed, and Batman covered it up somehow. Superman seems to be referring not only to Batman's return, but his willingness to take on another kid sidekick, exposing a child to the kind of evil Batman fights on a routine basis.

Why is Catwoman now a fat whore and how is it that the Joker knows her personally?

DARK KNIGHT RETURNS is an "Elseworlds" story -- a story that does NOT take place in the regular "Batman History," the regular comics continuity -- but in a possible future some twenty years from "now." Plainly, Catwoman retired and opened an escort service. As to why the Joker knows her personally, well, you've got me there. Maybe he remembered her from the old Adam West movie...

Ethilrist
07-18-2003, 12:31 AM
Miller--the GA plotline involving him on the plane with his arm in the bomb happened well after DKR. I saw this as an amusing possibility of a plot hack, particularly because they never found GA's body... and, as they say in Call of Cthulhu campaigns, if you don't have the body, he's not dead. Missing an arm, maybe....

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