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Spider-Man: Reign (Review/Retrospective)

This April, to celebrate the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we are taking a look at some classic and modern comics featuring Spider-Man (and friends). Check back daily for the latest review.

Spider-Man is not Batman.

This really should be self-evident, but it doesn’t seem to be. The biggest problem with Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man was that it wasted a lot of time telling audiences an origin story they all knew and had last seen a decade earlier. The second biggest problem was that the movie seemed to want to be a Batman film. There are a variety of tropes and conventions that work much better in a Batman story than they ever will in a Spider-Man story, and vice verse.

Unfortunately, The Amazing Spider-Man is far from the only Spider-Man story to make this mistake. Spider-Man: Reign, written and illustrated by Kaare Andrews, is essentially an attempt to use Spider-Man to tell another version of The Dark Knight Returns. It goes about as well as you might expect. (That is: not at all.)

Swinging through the night...

Swinging through the night…

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Absolute Batman: The Dark Knight (Returns) (Review/Retrospective)

The Absolute Edition also collects The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Miller’s belated sequel is worthy of discussion on its own terms, and I plan to revisit it at some point. For the moment, however, here is the review of the original Dark Knight Returns.

It’s really quite difficult to discuss The Dark Knight Returns today. Part of the reason is because of the massive influence that Frank Miller’s Batman epilogue had on the medium, and part of it is because Miller himself has done a fairly efficient job at deconstructing his own definitive Batman work in stories like The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. It’s impossible to approach Miller’s work here entirely divorced from either reality, and the result is a rather strange and dramatic legacy for one of the most iconic Batman stories ever told. It remains fairly essential reading for anybody even remotely interested in the Caped Crusader, the superhero genre or even the medium as a whole. It’s a classic, albeit one that is sometimes quite difficult to pin down.

Lightning strikes…

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