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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
Rating:
+3
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 . July 02, 2010
This book has revived the industry. Exploring the effects of retirement on an aged Bruce Wayne, it is another look at what the world will become without the superheroes.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
I like it very much
review by . April 30, 2009
Bat Symbol
"The Dark Knight Returns" is a magnificent illustrated story. The Batman, coming out of retirement in attempts to save Gotham one last time, struggles throughout this story as his body, his friends, and his city have all changed dramatically in the ten years since he last wore his suit.      The Batman has to deal with a new commissioner, many villians including Harvey Dent, the Joker, and their cronies. We even see some guest appearances from other DC comic strips. This edition …
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 . October 15, 2006
"The Dark Knight Returns" is a magnificent illustrated story. The Batman, coming out of retirement in attempts to save Gotham one last time, struggles throughout this story as his body, his friends, and his city have all changed dramatically in the ten years since he last wore his suit.    The Batman has to deal with a new commissioner, many villians including Harvey Dent, the Joker, and their cronies. We even see some guest appearances from other DC comic strips. This edition …
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 …
review by . April 17, 2002
For those of us who have been collecting and reading comics for 30 years the significance of this graphic novel in the Comic Book Genre continues to grow. 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 …
review by . April 07, 2002
There's a great question you can always ask someone you've just met to help break the ice: who's better Batman or Superman? Though it is so much more, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS attempts to answer that question. Basically the story is this, Batman has been in retirement for over a decade and the world has been getting worse everyday. Other than Superman, most other superheroes have retired too, their aging bodies no longer able to keep up with their able minds. Bruce Wayne goes through a serious mid-life …
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher ()
Ranked #73
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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Wiki

 

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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Details

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