As a Batman story it is one of the better "alternate future" books. We see a Bruce Wayne who is lost without his other identity (in fact we see his villians who are lost without him as well) seemingly going along a path of self destruction.
When he finds himself the world seems to at the same time. Sort of like when people see a great problem rather than ignore it. Once you acknowlidge something unpleasnt you are obligued to deal with it and that brings pain but also solutions.
In terms of its significance it led the way toward a darker and gritter comic book world. It has led to many great stories but all of the changes have not been worth it. It ushered in a age of expensive comic books that I can't expose my kids to because they're not ready or shouldn't be ready for it. The blame isn't really on Miller and Janson who did a great and origional job, it is of all of those people who tried to be Miller and Janson instead of themselves.
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Miller went far beyond the call of duty. The Dark Knight is a success on every level. Firstly it does keep the core elements of the Batman myth intact, with Robin, Alfred the butler, Commissioner Gordon, and the old roster of villains, present yet brilliantly subverted. Secondly the artwork is fantastic--detailed, sometimes claustrophobic, psychotic. Lastly it's a great story: Gotham City is a hell on earth, street gangs roam but there are no heroes. Decay is ubiquitous. Where is a hero to save Gotham? It is 10 years since the last recorded sighting of the Batman. And things have got worse than ever. Bruce Wayne is close to being a broken man but something is keeping him sane:...