the_poet's DC Comics Presents - Batman: Dark City, Dark Knight #1 - Dark Knight, Dark City review

The Strangest Riddler Story

Anyone who can see my profile picture knows I am a fan of the Riddler. I love his crimes, his technique, and his very

Only the first of many...
character. When I bought the individual issues that are contained in this volume set, I thought: "cool, a three parter staring batman and the Riddler! what more could you ask for?" Well, for starters the Riddler. needless to say this was not what I expected it to be like.
The Riddler is so out of character in these issues! its annoying. I have no idea what this Peter Milligan was thinking (with all respect to the hard working writer). It seems like he was trying to modernize the character, to make him like his other fellow Batman rogue
 bet you didn't expect that, did you?
gallery members who kill for seneless reasons, while keeping his intelligence.
  Essentially(spoiler, by the way for anyone who wants to waste money), the riddler kidnaps two policemen (and kills one of them) and five babies whom he places in harms way (such as right in front of the batmobile). He even goes so far as to force batman into cutting a baby's throat so the baby could breath. This Riddler (if you can call him that) even kills two of his own henchmen just because they were going to ruin his plans.
At the very end, however, we do find out that he was being controlled by the demon Barbathos, which makes everything alright, correct? yeah, whatever you say.

I must however admit even through my beliefs in the ill use of the Riddler that these issues are of importance. Here we see flash backs to a ritual in 1793 commenced by a secret society in the hopes of summon the aforementioned demon by sacrificing a hypnotized woman. Among their ranks is Thomas Jefferson, though that is not what makes this interesting. The whole ritual was take from here and used by Grant Morrison for Dr. Hurt's origin story and journey to become immortal.
I have mixed feelings about this three parter, so I'm rating it a 2.5.
8 Comments
Posted by Liberty

Great review.  This story STUNK.  What the hell?  It was weak.  Really weak.

Posted by The Poet
@Liberty said:
" Great review.  This story STUNK.  What the hell?  It was weak.  Really weak. "
yeah, agreed.
Moderator
Posted by spidermonkey2099

I actually loved this story. It's one of my favorite Batman stories and, IMO, the best Riddler story I have read. But to each their own.

Posted by The Poet
@spidermonkey2099 said:
I actually loved this story. It's one of my favorite Batman stories and, IMO, the best Riddler story I have read. But to each their own.
just out of curiousity (and fighting off my psychotic side), what in your opinion made this good? I am actully interested to see the other side of this.
Moderator
Posted by spidermonkey2099
@The Poet

Well, I really just loved the story. I thought Milligan did a great job in structuring it, starting off with the flashbacks to that old ritual narrated by Jacob Stockman. Then he cuts to the presents and switches to a mysterious narrator claiming to be Gotham. And then he switches narrators again, to Bruce Wayne who, along with the reader, is trying to figure out through this whole narrative how everything fits together. Throughout the story, Milligan continues to add to different parts of the story through switching between narrators, which also causes this story to be paced very well, as we are given new information at the right time and then put back into Batman’s narration, as we continue to try and figure out what it all means. [SPOILERS AHEAD] As for the Riddler being out of character, that is just one more clue as to what is going on. Batman, as well as the Riddler’s own henchmen, point out his changed behavior several times throughout the story arc. It is meant to make the reader wonder what is going on, as it becomes obvious that something is not right with Riddler. I personally have no qualms having a demon (the mysterious demon claiming to be Gotham in the first issue) influencing Riddler to do darker deeds than he usually does. The demon has the ability to influence people and events to suit his own agenda, and that sounds believable enough for a demon to have that power over people. I also like how the demon reveals that he influenced events so that Bruce Wayne would become Batman, essentially making Batman and Riddler pawns in a demon’s game. I just thought that Milligan’s use of the supernatural in this story was very well done. I love a good supernatural story, or weird fiction, like many of the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, and I think Batman makes for a good protagonist in those types of stories. So, in short, I thought Milligan structured the story in a way that, for me anyway, made me want to keep on reading to find out how all this fits together and see what exactly is going on, and I just liked the genre of this Batman story (supernatural/horror/weird fiction).

Posted by The Poet
@spidermonkey2099: yeah, I must admit Milliagan did do a great job in writing those Thomas Jeffereson flash backs and the creepy Gotham narrations. That I think was what kept me reading the story. I guess it is a good story over all, just have to step back from my fasination with the Riddler to admit that.
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Edited by RiddlingGambit

I really never understood the Riddler fans who were uptight about his characterizations, especially in regards to the extent of his homicidal behavior. This review is slightly bias, but I understand where you are coming from. See, by your logic & reasoning I can hate on Paul Dini's Riddler for not being like the classic Riddler (but I don't hate Paul Dini's Riddler). In my opinion Peter Milligan did a great job on "Dark Knight, Dark City". Peter Milligan's style is often radical, & that's what makes him a thrilling storyteller. This story arc introduced the occult into Batman & showed what Riddler would be like at his full criminal potential (a rather scary man I felt). Also, the art is great!! I'd definitely recommend "Dark Knight, Dark City" to fans of darker Batman stories, but if you don't want to see Riddler shooting a cop needlessly or killing off one of his henchmen, then yeah, maybe you should pass.

Edited by The Poet
@RiddlingGambit said:

I really never understood the Riddler fans who were uptight about his characterizations, especially in regards to the extent of his homicidal behavior. This review is slightly bias, but I understand where you are coming from. See, by your logic & reasoning I can hate on Paul Dini's Riddler for not being like the classic Riddler (but I don't hate Paul Dini's Riddler). In my opinion Peter Milligan did a great job on "Dark Knight, Dark City". Peter Milligan's style is often radical, & that's what makes him a thrilling storyteller. This story arc introduced the occult into Batman & showed what Riddler would be like at his full criminal potential (a rather scary man I felt). Also, the art is great!! I'd definitely recommend "Dark Knight, Dark City" to fans of darker Batman stories, but if you don't want to see Riddler shooting a cop needlessly or killing off one of his henchmen, then yeah, maybe you should pass.

I'm not saying I don't like change with his character. (I am enjoying the now self-doubting lost riddler and the stories which appear). I loved Dini's detective format. All I am saying is that there are some elements present here in this volume which are out of contingency. I'm not just talking about his homicidalness. I don't remember any mention of him ever hating his mother. I actully won't mind if he killed more (he should be tougher in my oppinion, thats why i love how returned from being a detective: killing some of his former fellows and framing it all on another guy), but his killings should be more...mithodical. Thats what makes him different from the Joker: a mind. He used that mind to menipulate all those people in Hush. Also, Batman has been into the occult further back than just this story. He had already been introduced to the occult before this point. Also, I never complained about the art. It has great use of contrasting colors (like blood red and batman blue).
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