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The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade Review!

Jondee here at Gotham,

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Brian Azzarello and Frank Miller were working on The Dark Knight III: The Master Race with Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson providing the art. It’s a pass after The Dark Knight Strikes Again, there was something missing from Miller’s artwork and story, a focus or drive. I think Azzarello may be adding the missing piece. The Dark Knight Returns was epic and a game changer for comic books. Miller is returning to The Dark Knight territory again with The Last Crusade a prequel of sorts with art by John Romita, Jr. This is printed in the bookshelf format.  It features the Joker in straitjacket confronted by the shadows of Batman and Robin. Nice, Romita, Jr. is bringing some Miller into the mix. They worked together in another Miller identified character in the Daredevil: The Man Without Fear limited series in 1993. It opens Miller-esque with panel after panel of dialogue of a beating behind a door. We get to see the bloodied Joker dragged to his Arkham cell by guards. He ends his rant saying, “We can hear him scream… and scream… and scream.” Miller (and Azzarello) know how to make the Joker creepy. Romita Jr. uses the same panel arrangement to show Good Morning Gotham discuss the latest Joker capture and the charge of child endangerment for Robin (Jason Todd). Then, it is Wayne Mansion where the billionaire is recovering from the fight, it is clear he is old and tired from the fighting. Alfred suggests that Jason take the mantle of the bat, but Bruce feels he is not ready. Bruce Wayne is still able to take down Robin in a spar and next has to uncover a mystery of a socialite giving away his money. Robin increasingly becomes violent and smiling at beating up criminals. The Joker is driving the inmates crazy, Batman’s problem is his follow-up, and the one per centers are found to be under the thrall of Poison Ivy and her colleague, the bulky, but still human Killer Croc (both missing from Dark Knight). This all leads to the ending which explains what happened to Jason Todd in The Dark Knight Returns. Four Batarangs out of Five!