Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

This masterpiece of modern comics storytelling brings to vivid life a dark world and an even darker man. Together with inker Klaus Janson and colorist Lynn Varley, writer/artist Frank Miller completely reinvents the legend of Batman in his saga of a near-future Gotham City gone to rot, ten years after the Dark Knight's retirement. Crime runs rampant in the streets, and the...

Title:Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:156389341X
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:197 pages

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Reviews

  • Missy

    When I was growing up, comic books (this was years before 'graphic novels') were frowned upon in my household, but I was addicted to them anyway. X-Men, to be precise, because, OMG, Jean Grey was smart and tough (at least until Dark Phoenix) AND had both Scott Summers and Wolverine in love with her. (I do love a good soap.) Batman was a joke back then, thanks to that moronic TV show. But Batman, the real Dark Knight, wasn't a joke--if Superman is who America yearns to be; Batman is who we're afr

    When I was growing up, comic books (this was years before 'graphic novels') were frowned upon in my household, but I was addicted to them anyway. X-Men, to be precise, because, OMG, Jean Grey was smart and tough (at least until Dark Phoenix) AND had both Scott Summers and Wolverine in love with her. (I do love a good soap.) Batman was a joke back then, thanks to that moronic TV show. But Batman, the real Dark Knight, wasn't a joke--if Superman is who America yearns to be; Batman is who we're afraid we are.

    In 1986, Frank Miller (Sin City) blew all of the camp out of the water and reclaimed a bit of popular culture by writing a stunning Batman and, not so incidentally, a picture-perfect example of why graphic novels aren't for kids. The artwork is fabulous, the characters are crisp and complex. It's not just the original Dark Knight, it's who that character evolved into. Dark, twisted, bitter, but still fighting to make things better. The movie Batman Begins never would have been made without this Dark Knight. Your library probably has a copy of this; check it out.

  • Heather

    I know I'm alone in this, but I didn't really like The Dark Knight Returns. I struggled with the story structure -- all the perspective switching left me frequently scratching my head to figure out who was speaking, where we were, and what the Heck was happening. I was confused by some characters (the guy with the freaky flying baby bombs?). I was bothered that there was no discussion of Ellen/Robin's family -- we have VERY little information on her or why she wants to join Bats, how she really

    I know I'm alone in this, but I didn't really like The Dark Knight Returns. I struggled with the story structure -- all the perspective switching left me frequently scratching my head to figure out who was speaking, where we were, and what the Heck was happening. I was confused by some characters (the guy with the freaky flying baby bombs?). I was bothered that there was no discussion of Ellen/Robin's family -- we have VERY little information on her or why she wants to join Bats, how she really proves that she's worthy, etc. She shows up in costume one day and he decides she's good enough? Hrmph. I don't buy it.

    Eh. I just found myself laboring through it rather than enjoying it. In contrast, I loved The Long Halloween. I look forward to reading Dark Knight Year One to see if I like that any better.

  • Stephen

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    and don’t forget (though I know you WANT TO)

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    BUT THANKFULLY........

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    and don’t forget (though I know you WANT TO)

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    BUT THANKFULLY........

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    OKAY, NUFF HISTORY....ON WITH THE REVIEW!!!

    5.0 to 5.5 stars. One of the most influential graphic novels of all time, this amazing story single-handedly resurrected the character of Batman as "the Dark Knight" after the 70s and early 80s had turned him, thanks in large part to the success of the television show, into a light-hearted, campy hero (I refer you back to the history lesson above). This story pushed reset and Batman once again became the dark, fanatic, often ruthless character he was created to be.

    As important as WHAT this graphic novel did for Batman specifically, it had an even greater impact on comics in general. Prior to the publication of “The Dark Knight Returns,” the entire comics industry was sagging and had lost a significant percentage of its fan base. The popularity of Frank Miller’s visionary work of this book led to a whole new era in comics. Following its success, comics saw the creation of very popular “anti-heros” like

    and

    , both of which were inspired by Miller’s version of the Dark Knight. In addition, the comic world began to see "darker, edgier" versions of classic characters being aimed at more mature audiences (e.g., Batman, Green Arrow, Daredevil, The Sandman).

    In Summary, I would say that for all of its historical significance, the best reason to read this is that it is truly a great work of fiction and one that gets my HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION as it is.......

  • Anne

    So. I've actively (

    ) avoided reading

    for many years now.

    Well, to be honest, I was kinda

    . Now, if you aren't a comic book reader, then you might not understand how big of a deal this book is, but if you

    ...?

    Yeah,

    Which means, you're also aware of all the rabid comic nerds out there who go all stabby when you don't like their favorite character, publisher, title, bobblehead action figure...the list

    So. I've actively (

    ) avoided reading

    for many years now.

    Well, to be honest, I was kinda

    . Now, if you aren't a comic book reader, then you might not understand how big of a deal this book is, but if you

    ...?

    Yeah,

    Which means, you're also aware of all the rabid comic nerds out there who go all stabby when you don't like their favorite character, publisher, title, bobblehead action figure...the list goes on.

    Hey, I'm not judging!

    one of those nerds. Believe me, I know how dangerous it can be to wade into

    shark infested waters.

    I've picked this up from the library multiple times, flipped through it, stuck it in my bag, and then took it back to my local branch at my earliest convenience.

    Because.

    Because of the

    amount of dialogue, and all those fucking Talking Heads!

    I mean,

    Miller? You're killing my tiny dinosaur brain with all of those

    .

    And the art?

    It's kinda ugly. <--

    Sometimes the characters look like they're lumpy or something. Perhaps Miller & Janson envisioned a world where everyone was made of congealed oatmeal or cottage cheese?

    Anyway, I ended up

    giving in, giving up, and giving

    a fair shot,

    because my teenage son wanted to read it. Which, maybe wouldn't have been enough to turn the tide all by itself, but right around the same time (

    ) a friend here on Goodreads was kind enough to gift me a copy.

    Plus, after my son got done with it, he basically shoved it at me while making all these weird squealing fanboy noises. <--please don't tell him I said that!

    So.

    I read it.

    Whoduthunkit?! Not me, that's for sure. I assumed this would probably go down as one of those comics that I

    to read, but didn't really

    .

    Sure, sure...its importance for Batman mythos

    be denied, but that doesn't always equal something that can stand the test of time. And it

    doesn't mean that someone with my pea-sized tolerance for dry/crunchy/old comics will savor the reading experience.

    But I did.

    This was a

    Batman story, but not quite what I would call 5 star stuff in 2016. Those Heads just...

    , they almost did me in! The cluttered feel of so many of the pages kept me from wanting to linger, and the knobbly faces of the characters were (at times) a turnoff.

    .

    The story

    was fantastic. It was just as gritty and dark as I was promised, but there was also a glimmer of

    to it that I wasn't expecting.

    It caught me off guard and made me smile.

  • Buck

    Call it art if you want to, but at the end of the day it’s still a dopey comic book about a guy in a form-fitting outfit who runs around beating people up. Am I missing something?

    But really, I’m just mad at myself for giving four stars to

    the other day, apparently during a manic episode. So I’m downgrading this bad boy.

    has the stronger artwork anyway, and its ectomorphic Batman is drawn on a more human scale, with some of the ludicrous pathos of a young Adam West still

    Call it art if you want to, but at the end of the day it’s still a dopey comic book about a guy in a form-fitting outfit who runs around beating people up. Am I missing something?

    But really, I’m just mad at myself for giving four stars to

    the other day, apparently during a manic episode. So I’m downgrading this bad boy.

    has the stronger artwork anyway, and its ectomorphic Batman is drawn on a more human scale, with some of the ludicrous pathos of a young Adam West still clinging to him:

    Whereas Frank Miller’s Batman looks like an elderly bodybuilder in a permanent state of roid rage:

    Finally, I’m still trying to get my head around the psychosexual dynamics of the DC universe. What was Batman thinking when he installed an androgynous 13-year-old pixy as his sidekick—then led her into hand-to-hand combat against a mob of slavering lowlifes? And what’s going on here, hmmm?

    Uh, that's not my utility belt, Robin.

  • StoryTellerShannon

    Don't expect it to be like the old cartoons.

    Definitely not like the Adam West Batman from the 60s.

    Not the Justice League of America.

    Batman and Superman are hardly on speaking terms. The governments have passed laws against vigilante super heroes so most of them are in prison or banished, or, like Superman, secretly working for the government.

    Batman, after a series of traumatic incidents, has not been seen in

    Don't expect it to be like the old cartoons.

    Definitely not like the Adam West Batman from the 60s.

    Not the Justice League of America.

    Batman and Superman are hardly on speaking terms. The governments have passed laws against vigilante super heroes so most of them are in prison or banished, or, like Superman, secretly working for the government.

    Batman, after a series of traumatic incidents, has not been seen in the last ten years. The Joker and Two Face are both in psycho wards.

    A series of incidents force Batman to come back out to the shock of the world. Gotham is turned on its head and the public isn't sure what to make of him; especially the younger people who thought he was just a legend.

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    In this Batman faces off with two-face, the joker and a mutant gang which has practically overrun the streets.

    Look for a face off against Superman, an intro. from the new Robin and a setup for the next book in the series, where Batman decides to free some of the super heroes in prison.

    Artwork is very gritty. Lots of focus on Batman's age in his late fifties, as well as his lack of forbearance in not realizing his age makes him less agile and strong. So, he gets into several jams. Heh.

    Enjoy. A sequel written and illustrated by Miller, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, was published in 2001.

    Miller said that the comic series' plot was inspired by Dirty Harry, specifically the 1983 film Sudden Impact, in which Dirty Harry returns to crime-fighting after a lengthy convalescence. Miller also said his own increasing age was a factor in the plot. (Wiki)

    and called The Dark Knight Returns, "a true masterpiece of storytelling" with "[s]cene after unforgettable scene." In 2005, Time chose the collected edition as one of the 10 best English language graphic novels ever written. Forbidden Planet placed the collected issue at number one on its "50 Best of the Best Graphic Novels" list. Writer Matthew K. Manning in the "1980s" chapter of DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle (2010) called the series "arguably the best Batman story of all time." (Wiki)

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  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    You gave my book two stars?

    Yes, it was boring and too political. Who wants a bunch of boring politics?

    I couldn't take it anymore...and I've always been your fangirl.

    Don't make me give you the Batglare...you aren't a whiny ass

    Quit whining..Two stars from me is pretty good.

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at:

    2.5 Stars

    Egads, I think this is going to be really long. Sorry : (

    My first superhero graphic novel review. It’s like diving right into shark infested waters. Please be gentle and keep in mind that I hold

    belief that anyone should ever take my reviews seriously. Period. But even more so when it comes to this one.

    As I said, this is my first foray into the unchartered waters of the world of Batman other than through television and fi

    Find all of my reviews at:

    2.5 Stars

    Egads, I think this is going to be really long. Sorry : (

    My first superhero graphic novel review. It’s like diving right into shark infested waters. Please be gentle and keep in mind that I hold

    belief that anyone should ever take my reviews seriously. Period. But even more so when it comes to this one.

    As I said, this is my first foray into the unchartered waters of the world of Batman other than through television and film. I chose

    for two reasons – I’m a Frank Miller fan and . . .

    Yep. I’ve run the gamut with the a lot of you through this Batman . . .

    and this one . . .

    and . . .

    but this one . . .

    and even this one . . .

    Many claim all of the above were made possible because of this story. I’m obviously not an expert, so I have no clue if that’s true, but I’m going with it because that makes my first

    selection so much cooler.

    So why the “meh” rating? Wellllll, there are a few reasons.

    First, Batman’s voice. I realize Batman has been out of commission for quite some time at the onset of this story and he has to work out the kinks while battling evil, but did his voice have to sound so much like this guy????

    Miller left me having a chicken and egg moment for quite some time with that one.

    Second, the artwork. Although sometimes Frank Miller’s simplistic artsy-fartsy style that I enjoy

    showed on the page . . .

    and occasionally there were striking full-page images that kind of knocked my socks off . . .

    (Also, ‘Murica)

    Unfortunately, there was also an abundance of pages with half-assed “television screens” taking place of actual art.

    Speaking of those t.v. screens, that brings me to my final issue - the muddy storyline. Batman takes a back-up role to all of the ranty news reports discussing various political stances. (Sidenote to address those rants: This story was written nearly

    years ago and the social injustices discussed in the storyline are the same ones happening today. FFS – get your shit together, America!) It got to be sooooo repetitive – almost like entire pages were copied/pasted. Between the news reports, Batman moaning about his aches and pains, and the bad guy mutants reminding me how they were going to “raze Gotham” and “rape the women” and “bathe in Gotham’s blood” every third page I found my attention wandering more than a time or two.

    All that being said, there were some good points. The obvious being my familiarity with the basic story and Frank Miller. But also? The cameos. They were a fun little Easter egg hunt. Everyone from Letterman . . . .

    to Ronald Reagan and Chris Christie (?) and . . . Hank Hill (?????) . . .

    to Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves . . .

    I keeed, I keeeed.

    Leaving my final experience with

    as definitely not one of the worst things I’ve ever subjected myself to.

    Oh, and in case you’re wondering how a super professional comic book aficionado like myself prepares for a review like this, here’s a glimpse of my little world ; )

    First, make sure you show you can prove you are a legit nerd by gathering your various Batman Pop Vinyls together . . . .

    Then take one of your besties shopping for some Batman gear . . .

    (Dear Hot Topic, you can start sending me free crap whenever you feel like it in exchange for all these endorsements.)

    Third, enlist the help of your resident Dark Knight to assist you in making sure you are providing well-thought out opinions . . .

    And finally, humiliate the other butthole who lives in your house and refuses to let you read anything containing colored or slick pages because he

    on laying on them all the time by making him wear a

    Catman costume . . .

    See what happens when you act an ass, Django? I share your punishment with all of the interwebs.

    One final note: What’s up with the nipples on those mutants???

    Do they sit around breastfeeding each other all day when they aren’t raping women and bathing in their blood???


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