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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank…
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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (edition 1997)

by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson (Illustrator), Lynn Varley (Colorist)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,084None1,234 (4.2)58
Member:jldorn
Title:Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Authors:Frank Miller
Other authors:Klaus Janson (Illustrator), Lynn Varley (Colorist)
Info:DC Comics (1997), Edition: 10 Anv, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

20th century (15) American (14) Batman (422) comic (123) comic book (46) comic books (35) comics (436) crime (40) Dark Knight (14) DC (110) DC Comics (45) dystopia (23) Elseworlds (16) fantasy (32) fiction (234) Frank Miller (58) graphic novel (741) Graphic Novels/Comics (13) Joker (20) noir (15) own (23) paperback (14) read (71) Robin (16) science fiction (28) superhero (115) superheroes (140) Superman (33) to-read (36) tpb (14)
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English (61)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
The Batman is old and decides to no more crime fighting... Crime on the streets is on the rise. Bruce Wayne races on a race track and Alfred is probably dead. Then a little girl shows her bravery in front of a street gang... I love the way the details are shown, drawn and are purposely made the way they are. ( )
  zomicks | Mar 26, 2014 |
After the death of a Robin, Bruce Wayne has gone into retirement for some time but finds himself constantly fighting with himself to release the Batman again. Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon is about to forced into retirement, a fact that hasn't stopped a gang of teenage mutants from threatening to kill him. Over at Arkham Asylum, Harvey Dent is getting ready to face the outside world again as a rehabilitated citizen while the Joker is quietly plotting something nefarious. And, Superman is working behind the scenes with the government, purportedly to prevent the Cold War from breaking out into a full-scale war. Against all of this backdrop, Bruce Wayne finds he cannot continue to fight the battle within him for the Batman to re-emerge and he once again take the streets of Gotham City, enacting his own sense of justice as the caped crusader.

This book is considered one of the highlights of the comics medium and has been much lauded by many. Having heard about how wonderful it is for so many years now, I was severely disappointed by it. This was not simply a matter of "oh, I see how this was groundbreaking at the time, but now it's so passé." I honestly couldn't see how this book was so great. I found there was so much going on in it that most of the subplots did not get a chance to be fully fleshed out. Bruce Wayne just seemed far too old at this point and so many years removed from the game to be able to jump so quickly back into fighting all kinds of different enemies with relative ease. Personally, the crossovers in comics has never been something that appeals to me much, so the whole addition of Superman in a book that's meant to be all about Batman/Bruce Wayne's inner turmoil just seemed out of place.

The constant use of TV news anchors delivering headlines or hosting point-counterpoint arguments about the Batman started to feel old quickly. However, they did bring up interesting points about how the Batman was viewed by the general public and in that way also serve to question the reader about how he/she should react to the vigilante's actions. This was an interesting twist, as I feel like most Batman comics just automatically assume for the reader that one should blindly root for Batman and never question his motives as anything but honorable while if a similar vigilante character were to exist, most of us would not be as fond of him as in real life as we are in fiction. But Miller's Batman here is so very dark that this question ends up becoming unnecessary. I'm not sure that many are still rooting for Batman by the end of this comic. But perhaps that is just my take on it.

Despite the addition of a female police commissioner and a teenage girl as Robin, there was such an undercurrent of misogyny throughout the book that it left a bad taste in my mouth. In some ways these more subtle cuts toward women were far worse than the almost laughable ridiculous portrayal of women in Miller's Sin City comics, where the female characters were almost always all naked or half-naked and had hardly any role to play beyond prompting the male "hero" to act.

All in all, I was disappointed by this book as I had really been hoping for something amazing. Instead, I found it rather subpar, and I would recommend a variety of other Batman comics over this one. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Oct 27, 2013 |
Although I've got a sizable collection of comics and graphic fiction, this is the only Batman title that I own. In fact, I tend to avoid the whole superhero genre but I'm pleased that I picked up this one. This book is considered something of a classic as it helped redefine Batman in the '80s. Gone is the camp of the Adam West television show, and we instead get a first look at the dark figure that will be familiar to anyone whose seen one of the dozen or so Batman movies of the last 25 years. Depictions of other canonical characters such as Robin, Superman, and the Joker are also novel and interesting.

But beyond its significance in comic and pop culture history, this book has a compelling story of an aging Bruce Wayne trying to return to the game, and an interesting style of art and layout. ( )
  josh314 | Oct 26, 2013 |
Second book of the readathon.

And god, I am not a Batman fan. I wasn't a fan of the art in this comic: I found it cramped, hard to follow, and that claustrophobic sense penetrated all through the narrative for me. There's nothing I find inherently wrong with the idea, and intellectually I can appreciate everything that's going on with the figure of Batman. I think this handles that creeping old age well, and Batman's driven qualities... but he's not a hero I can admire. Half the time, he's just a bully.

Now maybe you can see that as a more honest version of what's going on with a favourite of mine like Captain America -- you can't really kid yourself that people don't look at Steve and go, "oh shit, I better not give this guy any trouble." But Steve sums it up for me in the movies: "I don't want to kill anyone. I just don't like bullies. I don't care where they come from." Steve cares about people. Even bullies. He might hurt and even kill to protect others, but he doesn't want to. Bruce Wayne seems to care about people... except bullies. And as bits of this comic demonstrate, a lot of perfectly ordinary people aren't that far from crossing that line.

In practice, there's not that much difference, maybe. But Steve just has a warmth about him that Batman doesn't -- and I don't say that out of some sort of nostalgia: I loved watching Batman as a kid and never really heard about or gave a thought to Captain America until the past couple of years. ( )
  shanaqui | Oct 12, 2013 |
In retirement and well past the age when one should be doing that sort of thing, Batman returns to rescue Gotham City from various villains.

I should say up front that the comic book is not my favorite medium, as I prefer the more cohesive and contained narrative of a novel. This one could be hard to follow at times, especially as I haven't read any of the other Batman comics, and I wasn't too fond of the device of using television reporters to relay parts of the story. I liked the first half of the story better, but once Superman entered, I lost some interest. It remained interesting and entertaining, though, to the end, but I doubt I will pick up any other Batman comics in the future.

Read in 2013. ( )
  sturlington | Sep 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (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 (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frank Millerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Janson, KlausIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Costanza, JohnLetterersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Varley, LynnColoristsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
Dedicated to Will Jungkuntz 1955 - 1985
First words
I've got the home stretch all to myself when the readings stop making sense.
Quotations
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:33 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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