Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Frank Miller's dark futuristic series about Batman.

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The entire story is dark, not just the Batman

  • May 11, 2005
Raised on the original comic books where the superheroes are noble and the public adores them, this book is quite a contrast. In this book the world has degenerated into a police state, where information is tightly controlled and the superheroes are aging and at odds with each other. There is reference to the "Freedom From Information Act", which means that just about all information is considered a national security secret. The president is not even a real person, but a computer generated image. The American public is amazingly apathetic regarding these circumstances, so there is little public support for the battle being waged for their freedom. Super heroes are no longer held in such high regard. Jimmy Olson, Commissioner Gordon and other mainstays of the earlier years are some of the few people who raise their voices in protest.
Bruce Wayne has come back as the Dark Knight and he is a very angry man. Other heroes that will not knuckle under are being held prisoner, the Flash is the motive force for a giant generator that supplies the bulk of the electric power for the country. The shrinking technology that the Atom employs is used to hold him prisoner in a petri dish held in a refrigeration unit. He is freed by agents of the Dark Knight, setting up a battle between the "freedom group" and Superman. The Bottle City of Kandor is being held by the people who control the world so that Superman will continue to fight on their side.
Many of the DC comics superheroes appear in this book, Green Arrow, Plastic Man, the Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Green Lantern, Saturn Girl and Captain Marvel. All are aged; there is a priceless caption where Captain Marvel is using reading glasses. There is even a cameo appearance by the short-lived duo of the Hawk and the Dove. There are also caricatured appearances by present day media talk celebrities and government figures. I recognized George F. Will, George Stephenopoulus and Donald Rumsfeld. Alfred E. Neumann even appears in one caption. No doubt there were many others that I did not recognize.
Unlike the original comics featuring these characters, there is no uplifting, "the bad guys must lose" theme to the book; it is a dark battle with very little in the way of chivalrous combat. Batman and friends just totally beat the crap out of Superman.

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More Batman: The Dark Knight Return... reviews
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
I like it very much
review by . November 10, 2008
Well, the title sums up my opinion on The Dark Knight Returns, though it certainly isn't the best-rounded Batman story of all time, it still leaves a significant impact on readers. The story peaks at many points, and makes large dips at others, but the ending makes up for all its minor flaws.     "One of the best Batman stories", let me explain what exactly I mean by this: This is one of the best stories to flesh out the character of Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego Batman. What …
review by . April 03, 2006
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS has caused quite a stir since its release in 1986. It's been heralded as the greatest comic book ever written, a claim which many collectors will support. Ten years after throwing down his costume and retiring from his life of crime-fighting, Batman once again dons the suit when Gotham's crime rate shoots through the roof. This time around the Dark Knight must battle an array of nasty villains, including a recently-released Joker, a barbaric gang of teenage killers calling …
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher ()
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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If any comic has a claim to have truly reinvigorated the genre, thenThe Dark Knight Returnsby Frank Miller--known also for his excellent Sin Cityseries and his superb rendering of the blind superhero Daredevil --is probably the top contender. Batman represented all that was wrong in comics and Miller set himself a tough task taking on the camp crusader and turning this laughable, innocuous children's cartoon character into a hero for our times. The great Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing, the arguably peerlessWatchmen) argued that only someone of Miller's stature could have done this. Batman is a character known well beyond the confines of the comic world (as are his retinue) and so reinventing him, while keeping his limiting core essentials intact, was a huge task.

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:...

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ISBN-10: 1563893428
ISBN-13: 978-1563893421
Author: Frank Miller, Lynn Varley
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: DC Comics
Format: Graphic novel
First to Review

"Basic Batman."
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