The Golden Child Comic Marks Frank Miller’s Return to the Dark Knight Universe
Legendary comics writer and artist Frank Miller will once again dip his creative toes into his own Batman universe. Miller’s tale of an aging Batman coming back to fight crime redefined the character for a modern age, influencing every single cinematic portrayal of the character since. The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child comic will be a one-shot that hits comic stands in December. Despite the “Dark Knight” mention in the title, the Golden Child in question is not related to Batman. No, the child in question is the son of Superman and Wonder Woman. Born in between the second and third installments of Miller’s Dark Knight stories, young Jonathan Kent will be the focus of this single-issue story.
As Miller told Entertainment Weekly:
“The possibilities for what he could be just started coming to mind like crazy. I thought the contrast between him and Lara could be really exciting…. Lara has so much power and passion, so for the little boy to embody all of the wisdom and intelligence of the Kryptonian race would be an exciting new dimension. He really sort of developed as a little floating Buddha, someone who when he wasn’t even a toddler yet was speaking in full sentences and had an understanding of events that surpassed anybody else’s. He’s the most magical member of the family.”
Along with Lara, Jonathan, and Superman, we can expect to see Carrie Kelly, a creation of Miller’s whose been Robin, Catwoman, and Batwoman in this universe. Miller’s take on the Superman character, however, was one of the first to acknowledge how power like DC Comics’ best alien boy scout could be abused by corrupt authorities. Since that first limited series, Superman (and his family) figured into every ‘Dark Knight’ story in a big way. The Golden Child comic will continue that pattern, but for the first time, it will do so without Bruce Wayne.
What is ‘the Dark Knight Universe?’
Image via screengrab
In 1986, Miller’s story about an aging Batman in the early 1980s changed our understanding of the Dark Knight detective. It’s not just about Batman’s journey from campy hero to creature of the night through the 1960s and 1970s. No, Miller imagined a world where a truly insane billionaire chased “a good death” and felt compelled to fight for his city once again. In this world, superheroes were outlawed, and Superman was an enforcer for the President. Batman beat him in single combat, then faked his death. In the sequel series, Batman reformed the Justice League to battle a villainous person from his past. In the third series, the Kryptonians in the bottle city of Kandor broke free and almost destroyed the world. At the end of this series, Bruce Wayne appeared to die, for real this time.
In the ill-fated All-Star Batman and Robin series, Miller tried to show fans the early years of this version of Batman. He was brutal, abusive, and more than a little crazy. With the exception of the phrase “I’m the goddamn Batman,” little in the series excited fans. They didn’t mind an old Batman with issues but seeing a Batman in his prime not being a complete hero bothered some. Still, it’s better than the reviews suggest, even if it remains unfinished. We get a glimpse of the world that led to the Dark Knight Returns and The Golden Child comic. It’s Miller’s own corner of the multiverse, as tough and crass as Sin City.
What Will The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child Comic Be About?
Image via screengrab
We don’t really know much about what The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child comic will be about beyond what Miller told EW. Given Miller’s history when it comes to all-powerful Kryptonians, the titular golden child in the comic might actually end up being the villain. Now that Carrie Kelly took up the mantle of the Bat, she may also be the antagonist, going after the super-family. Or course, in The Dark Knight III: The Master Race, we got a hint that Carrie and Lara, Superman and Wonder Woman’s older child, were headed towards a “World’s Finest” kind of team-up.
As Miller said to EW:
“Carrie is, as always, the smartest kid on the block…. She was also trained by someone who is not cowed by power. Even knowing that she is not a ‘superhero’ in terms of powers, she will not accept anything that in any way smacks of subjugation. Look at her! She began her superhero career by running away from home. She was a rebel from the get-go.”
Miller also said that despite the hard time he gave Superman in his past Dark Knight books, this title “celebrate(s) the character.” Though, he noted that Supes doesn’t need his “sympathy.” Either way, it’s an exciting return to Miller’s version of the DC universe. What’s even more interesting is if The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child signals a more optimistic and hopeful outlook on it than the original comic promised.
What do you think? Are you excited for The Golden Child comic? Let me know in the comments below or shout it out on social media.
Featured image via DC Comics
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.