Entertaining but ultimately unworthy sequel to one of the finest Batman stories of all time.
The Dark Knight Returns, published in the eighties, was a stark, depressing vision of the future, showing a frighteningly libertarian Batman coming out of retirement as the Cold War threatened to turn hot and old enemies came out of the woodwork.
Frank Millar said that he was going to use the sequel – published almost two decades later – to comment on turn-of-the-century society in much the same way as he used the original. Unintentionally – insofar as it was poorly thought out and more style than substance – he succeeded.
There are some great moments in the book, and, except for a horrendously rushed third act, it’s a decent story. But the definition of a good sequel that I read somewhere states that to succeed, a sequel must add to cannon without detracting from it at the same time. ‘Strikes Back detracts from the original. Hell, even the seemingly minor issue of including Lex Luthor is ruinous, as it lays the blame for the world’s ills at the feet of super villains, whereas in the first one, society had created its own mess, which is the difference between a good story (which the first one was,) and a good superhero story (which this one was). And as I progress further into my thirties I find I’ve read enough of the latter, and am more looking for the former…