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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank…

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

by Frank Miller (Writer/Penciller), John Costanza (Letterer), Klaus Janson (Inker), Lynn Varley (Colourist)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Dark Knight (1), Batman

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4,407671,114 (4.18)65

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English (62)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
A good engaging, now dating tale of the Dark Knight, returning after retirement and facing mortality and some of the darker aspects of his character. Some of this is articulated in his relationship with The Man Of Steel, whilst other aspects focus on his reaction to and from the politicians around him. A tied, laboured Bruce Wayne is in this and I suspect will be the model for the forthcoming Ben Affleck interpretation of the character. Good, worth seeking out but not quite leaving your with the shattering climax and result you ink it would. ( )
  aadyer | Jul 18, 2015 |
As much as I disagree with Frank Miller's overall worldview and have grown tired of the pessimistic look at superheroes that he helped inspire, there was a time when he made some absolutely fantastic comic stories. This is one of them.

Set in a world where Batman has been retired for ten years, Superman is the only sanctioned superhero and is working secretly for the government (in fact, we learn there is an FCC rule preventing any mention of the Big Blue Boy Scout), and all superheroes are either retired or in hiding/prison; the world is a mess. Crime seems to be at an all-time high, especially in Gotham, and an older, bored Bruce Wayne has finally had enough.

This is a story about endings. It's the end of James Gordon's run as commissioner, the end of Bruce's retirement, the end of his torturing himself over Jason Todd, the end of the criminal group known at "the Mutants," the end of the never-ending chase between Batman and the Joker, the end of Superman allowing himself to look the other way, and possibly the end of one of the oldest comic book hero friendships in existence.

But, it is also a story of beginnings; the beginning of a career for a new Robin, the beginning of a new commissioner's turn at the helm of the GCPD, the beginning of a new war on crime, and the beginning of a whole new chapter for the Batman.

This is one of those graphic novels that I tell anyone who comes to me interested in quality comic book stories. It's always worth a read. ( )
  regularguy5mb | Jul 11, 2015 |
I love Batman. I have always loved Batman ever since the days that I sat in front of the TV and watched the 90's cartoon. I've always been attracted to dark, mysterious, and conflicted characters. They're more interesting, and Batman has these characteristics in droves.

This graphic novel does a great job of encompassing all of these traits, resulting in a work that is both fascinating and terrifying. Frank Miller has once again proven to us that he is not only an amazing storyteller, but a true Batman fan. Throughout the book, figures from Batman's past find their way into the story including Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Superman, and Joker. This so happens to be one of my most favorite combos of characters as this also occurs in Batman: Hush, which I also love. Also, there is a female Robin which makes me smile big feminist smiles since she's smart, strong (both emotionally and physically) and the Robin costume is the same so there are no obnoxious cleavage close-ups! (Thank you, Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley.)

As for the story, Miller does an amazing job of not only showing us the physical obstacles that Batman must overcome in his old age, but also the psychological ones as he feels compelled to once again take up the mask and fight the criminal element that is running rampant throughout Gotham. After the Joker manages to escape from Arkham, Batman is faced with his biggest challenge yet when he feels the pressures of holding to his one rule (never kill) while Joker murders hundreds of innocent people all in an effort to finally break Batman's tenuous hold on sanity.

Completely immersing and at times heartbreaking, The Dark Knight Returns is one of the best Batman graphic novels out there. And I would put it as one of the best graphic novels overall. It is artistic on many levels, thought provoking, and sometimes gut wrenching (in a good way). For these reasons, The Dark Knight Returns has earned the elusive 10/10. ( )
  kell1732 | Jan 25, 2015 |
I've always heard that The Dark Knight Returns is one of the best comic books of all time. My understanding is that it breathed new life into the industry and completely changed how people perceived comics. I was pretty excited to finally sit down and read such an historic graphic novel. Unfortunately, I was severely disappointed.

Really, this is not a good book. Bear in mind, I'm reading this in 2012, well after its historical significance can be truly felt, and with the full knowledge of Frank Miller's abysmal All-Stars run as well as his fascist rants against the Occupy Movement. I could have been biased reading this book.

The first book is great. Batman struggles with the decision to don the cowl again, then finally does and kicks some bad guy butt. It's very satisfying. Book one is a real joy, but things quickly take a poor turn.

Harvey Dent has reconstructive surgery, a plot thread that goes virtually nowhere. Batman fights a member of the Mutants, Gotham's new menace, but ultimately even that gets resolved in a strange way in book 4 (which I won't spoil here).

Batman also recruits Carrie Kelly as the new Robin. This is totally bizarre. Unlike Dick Grayson, Carrie has no real tragedy strike her. Whereas Batman could feel that Dick shared his pain about the death of his parents, Carrie's family just seems to be liberal, which I guess is tragic enough for Miller. He puts a 13 year old girl in harms way and barely justifies it - Carrie's presence is almost completely useless, and her character is bland and motivation-less.

The Joker makes a return, which is somewhat satisfying, though his character seems greatly toned down, which is a shame. Jim Gordon retires, though far too much of the 4-issue run is devoted to him given that he has stepped down as Commissioner.

Most ridiculous is the use of Superman, now a tool of the American military. He is eventually called upon to keep Batman in check, and the two of them duke it out with a surprise appearance by the Green Arrow. This whole sequence, which takes up most of issue 4, is utterly ridiculous and completely out of nowhere. About halfway through book 3, Frank Miller stops giving his characters any motivation to do the things they are doing, so by this point any semblance of motivation is long-gone.

Miller also relies on a staple of poor writing - endless sequences of news reporters explaining on the evening news what's going on. These reports, and much of the rest of the dialogue, completely drags on.

Overall this is a nice idea for a story, but handled far more interestingly in Kingdom Come. I think this book relies largely on its place in history for how well-regarded it is, but it's really not particularly good by today's standards. ( )
  rodhilton | Nov 14, 2014 |
Deserves its classic status for the transformative concept of an aging Batman returning to duty in an ambivalent city while suffering from the aches and pains associated with his age. The images are distinctive and beautiful and the overall atmosphere created by these comics/graphic novel is unique and exciting. In two of the chapters it also creates a fascinating Superman character who is an ambivalent tool of the U.S. government activated to fight cold war battles while doing minute calculations of how his actions will minimize the threats to human (and animal) life.

In telling its stories, the Dark Knight Returns traverses a wide range from Gotham's villains to the President of the United States and much in between, with large sections narrated by a Greek chorus-like device of newscasters or arguing talking heads on TV screens.

But, at least for me, it still suffers from plots that at times are overly elaborate and hard to follow, drawing on comic book mythologies I'm not familiar with, and has cartoonish set piece battles. It seems like it is just about as good as a comic book can get, but (apologies to fans of the genre), it is still a comic book. ( )
1 vote nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
"The stories are convoluted, difficult to follow and crammed with far too much text. The drawings offer a grotesquely muscle-bound Batman and Superman, not the lovable champions of old.... If this book is meant for kids, I doubt that they will be pleased. If it is aimed at adults, they are not the sort I want to drink with."

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miller, FrankWriter/Pencillerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Costanza, JohnLetterermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Janson, KlausInkermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Varley, LynnColouristmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, AlanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedicated to Will Jungkuntz 1955 - 1985
First words
I've got the home stretch all to myself when the readings stop making sense.
The time has come. You know it in your soul. For I am your soul... you cannot escape me... you are puny, you are small—you are nothing—a hollow shell, a rusty trap that cannot hold me—smoldering, I burn you—burning you, I flare, hot and bright and fierce and beautiful—you cannot stop me—not with wine or vows or the weight of age—you cannot stop me but still you try—still you run—you try to drown me out... but your voice is weak...
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 156389341X, Hardcover)

If any comic has a claim to have truly reinvigorated the genre, then The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller--known also for his excellent Sin City series 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 peerless Watchmen) 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: the need to see change and the belief that he can orchestrate some of that change. Batman is back. The Dark Knight has returned. Awesome. --Mark Thwaite

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:42 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

After ten years away from the public eye, a wave of violence in Gotham City brings Batman back as a vigilante.

» see all 3 descriptions

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