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King John is a monarch in an time period where Kings are supposed to be a person who is chosen to act, and speak on God’s behalf on Earth, whilst Batman is a superhero supposed to represent Gotham City’s guardian. King John is set in a period of time where power is an asset for which men have a powerful desire for whilst Batman is set in a story in which power is also an asset, and men yearn for as well. Richard I, the Lionheart dies without a son who should be King, therefore King John’s ruling is full of doubt and uncertainty.
Batman is a hero whom does not simply follow rule of law, and the illegal things Batman has got away with bother Gotham City. Batman’s ruling as Gotham City’s protector also has hesitation, and suspicion whether his actions are lawful is also present. While Batman works with the cops occasionally, Batman mostly operates outside the rule of law. King John also operates outside the rule of law, most notably his order to have Arthur killed. Additionally, King John’s robbery of the monasteries is against the law and criminal. Both Batman and King John use their power to achieve their goals in a morally disreputable way. Batman may do the right thing, but not always for the right reasons, whilst King John generally acts out of self-interest.
Overall, the newscasters of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns are undecided on their viewpoint of batman, whether he is a crusader, or menace to Gotham City. Those who point to batman as a menace view his excessive force a crime and call him psychotic. Whilst those who point to batman as a crusader view batman as a symbolic hero that represents fairness, and justness. Pembroke and Salisbury view King John as underhanded, and dishonest. The noblemen do not believe in the reliability, or strength of King John as a King who leads the country. Specifically, they mistrust and doubt King John because of the death of Arthur. Overall, the newscasters of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns are split on the batman, whilst Pembroke and Salisbury view King John as lacking moral principle.
The Dark Knight Returns book one, the scene in which Bruce Wayne has nightmares and has a flashback from his childhood has significant meaning for the graphic novel. The flashback has the young Bruce Wayne fall into the Bat Cave and meeting the bat that forevermore breeds the batman. This scene has significant meaning for the graphic novel because it is an indication that Bruce Wayne, and the batman are intertwined. It also symbolic of mental illness, and that mental illness can start at any point in your life. Batman was old, and in retirement, but returned as batman. Whilst a person can be fine, and healthy but mental illness can return. Overall, the flashback that has the young Bruce Wayne fall into the Cave and meeting the bat that breeds the batman is symbolic of the lack of power to mental illness, and the freedom mental illness takes away.
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