Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Batman)

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  91,147 ratings  ·  1,914 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 10th Anniversary Edition, 224 pages
Published May 28th 1997 by DC Comics (first published 1986)
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........................ FIRST A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON................

................BEFORE "The Dark Knight Returns".............................


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


.....................AFTER "The Dark Knight Returns"....................



Kat Stark

Okay, before you guys scoff at me for not liking this graphic novel...hear me out

I'm a 90s kid. My introduction to Batman was this:

From 1989.

This novel is from 1986. Meaning that I never witnessed this sort of lame ass Batman before that:

For me, Batman has always been a dark and brooding character. Always. So I appreciate that this novel sparked that new generation of Batman (the one that I have loved and known), but overall as a comic it wasn't all that great.

The story was all over the damn pla...more
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...more

This is a totally different spin on Batman first published in 1986 by Frank Miller.

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...more
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...more
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 Batman: Year One the other day, apparently during a manic episode. So I’m downgrading this bad boy. Year One 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...more

Before Christopher Nolan came alone and further redefined the idea of superheroics, Frank Miller was doing well enough to keep Batman fresh and interesting in his own way. The Dark Knight Returns tops my list of best graphic novels ever written for what it did for the genre, what it did for Batman and what it stands as today. Though Watchmen is universally accepted as the greatest graphic novel I personally believe this is greater in that it was written previously and from what I've read appears...more
I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I know that this is one case where there must be something wrong with *me* and not with the book, because it's been lauded as one of the greatest graphic novels in superhero history, and I thought it sucked.

The story is very difficult to follow - and this coming from someone who is well-versed in Batman lore, and who is used to the comic book medium for storytelling. Poor writing.

The pictures are sometimes difficult to interpret - it's hard to even figure out what's...more
(UPDATE: just to be pedantic ... reading the other reviews, I've come to realize that people use "The Dark Knight" as a nickname for any old Batman these days -- like calling Satan "Old St. Nick," or George Bush "Dubya". So to whomever may have said "Frank Miller isn't my favorite Dark Knight writer" I'd just like to point out that FRANK MILLER INVENTED THE DARK KNIGHT! If there's any earlier use of that phrase in history, I'm bat-ignorant. Back in the day, everyone else called him Caped Crusade...more
You don't get it, son. This isn't a mudhole... It's an operating table.
And I'm the surgeon.

The Dark Knight Returns is Frank Miller's most popular comic (at least here on GR) and arguably the best Batman comic ever. Originally published in four installments in 1986, it single-handedly undid the damage done to the Bat by the goofy 60's show with Adam West. Situation at the time was pretty tragic. Initial success of the West show influenced the writers of the Batman comics who adapted a similar,...more
Amie R.
I can't really see why this is considered one of the best Batman stories ever. There's nothing here that really makes it special. It has a slow-moving, weak plot and less than stellar artwork. There is too much word repetition - you already said that 10 pages back, I did not forget already. Along with the stupid repetition are phrases which make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I guess it was an attempt at future slang, but it failed miserably. "Balls rad"? What the HELL does that even mean? Anyw...more
More often than not Dark Knight Returns is considered one of the greatest graphic novels -- if not the greatest. I can't deny its importance to the form (and to the myth of Batman -- responsible as it is for Bruce Wayne's shift into the "Dark Knight" era), but having taught it a handful of times and read it for "pleasure" a few more (this reading having been prompted by Christopher Nolan's disappointing trilogy capper, The Dark Knight Rises) I feel that it is a vastly overrated work.

And Frank Mi...more
5.5 stars!

It is 1960s “Batman” vs. 1980s “Batman!” Guess which one will win!



For many years, I have actually grown up with the darker version of Batman when I was little, thanks to the animated TV series that came out of the 90s. But a few years back, I have realized that there was a 1960s TV series where Batman seems a bit campy, but I had enjoyed it for what it was. Now, I had heard of a particular “Batman” story that was the one that really changed Batman’s character over the...more
How do you review something as iconic and influential as The Dark Knight Rises?

On one level, I suppose you could ask whether or not this four-issues mini-series lives up to the hype and accolades heaped upon it over the years? That answer is, yes. And the fact that it revolutionized not only Batman but all of comics is another major feather in its cap.

It's influence on the Christopher Nolan trilogy of films can't be denied--especially elements used in this summer's The Dark Knight Rises.

All of...more
My first thoughts after reading this one - I surely need to read this one again!

But then:


The story moves around in different concentric circles. There is, of course, Batman, Two Face, The Joker, Robin, and oh yeah Superman in this book. Apart from Superman and Robin, the rest of the chums are plain crazy. (My Mommy says, "Crazy is as Crazy does.") That's the thread that binds these unstoppable forces and immovable objects.

Batman fights his friends and then fights that inexpugnable...more
Bryce Wilson
Oh Frank Miller you might now be a batshit looney whose books are entertaining only because of how unbelievably stupid and gonzo they are. But once you where golden.

Nobody writes the apocalypse better then Frank Miller, he captures a horrifying feel as society destroys itself with a mix of apathy, anarchy, and entropy which no one can or even cares to stop. Ronin, Martha Washington, and Sin City all capture this elusive, terrifying, and strangely beautiful tone. But DKR did it the best.

It's gr...more
Michael Alexander
Apr 30, 2007 Michael Alexander rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: comic fans, geeks, libertarians
Completely revitalized the genre, yes. Superman as fascist enforcer for Reagan, amazing. Batman vs. Superman in an actually conceivable battle, makes the 14 year old in me jump for joy while the adult goes "oh CRAP!"

But I just can't stop being creeped out by Frank Miller and his moral universe, which seems to think psychotic vigilantism is actually pretty okay compared to the Evil Namby Pamby Liberals who Don't Mind Letting Psychos Chop Good Citizens To Pieces. Somehow I really, really don't thi...more
The artwork is brilliant and the stories are riveting. The Joker is as menacing as ever.
Seak (Bryce L.)
I'm not a big graphic novel reader, although the more I read, the more addicted I become. It's like a step up from the ease of TV and a step down from the mental effort of a novel, great combo.

In light of this, you probably know the history behind this graphic novel better than I, so I'll be quick. In a nutshell, The Dark Knight Returns is a classic because it brought Batman back to his dark roots and showcases Frank Miller's great film noir style.

In The Dark Knight Returns, Bruce Wayne is old....more
I'm not sure if it's the hype, the amount of time since it's publication, the artwork or something else, but I find myself a bit underwhelmed. I originally gave this 4 stars intending to declare it a 3.5 star rounded up, but as I was thinking about my review I decided to just give it a 3.

There was some really interesting parts of the story, but some pages I just found bogged down and confusing. This might be more a product of the layout, I'm not really sure.

I'm intrigued by the notion of a...more
book #5 for Jugs & Capes, my all-girl graphic-novel book club!


I missed the book-group discussion for this, which is a huge bummer; I would have loved to hear what my smart ladyfriends would have said. (I had a good excuse though: I went to go see ZZ Top instead. It was bad ass.)

In any case, I was really disappointed by this book. It's not just that it's not really my thing; it's not, but I really wanted to like it. It wasn't the violence, or the disjointed story, or the constant feeling t...more
Oh my lord. What I learned is that Frank Miller is an effing nutjob. I should have learned that earlier, and it doesn't mean he's not talented or that this isn't a good book, but there is something quite messed up in his head. The art is a bit lumpy throughout and just sort of not clean enough, and it feels like there are panels missing that could provide a little more exposition (thank god for the script of the last issue that's provided at the end of this edition, or I would have definitely mi...more
In every list of the greatest Batman stories ever written, this is always on top of the pile (rivaled once in a while by his other work, Year One, if not followed closely by Alan Moore's The Killing Joke). Naturally, I was excited to start reading this although I cheated on myself a little because I did watch its animation adaptation last year. But having the chance to read the source material myself, I started to understand why this was such an important work when it was released about the same...more
Sam Quixote
The Batman of today can be traced back to this book. Before Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” Batman was a joke; the comics were weak with Batman and Robin doing the same thing week in week out, it’s no coincidence that there are few books worth reading before Miller’s work - all the great Batman “must-reads” (The Killing Joke, Year One, The Long Hallowe’en, Hush, Dark Victory) follow this interpretation of the character. And it could largely be attributed to the phenomenal success of the cam...more
Often hailed as Miller's greatest work and one of the best graphic novels of all time (mentioned frequently with Maus and Watchmen), The Dark Knight Returns reimagined Gotham's hero and intensified the problems he faced in unprecedented ways.

Batman's past his prime and has been retired for ten years and superheroes either work for the government or are hunted down. But Bruce Wayne hasn't forgotten the demons that haunt him, and the ones who haunt his city are about to become targets. His return...more
Awfully bad.

A lot of people have given credit to this book because it marked the return of Batman to the mainstream and set the stage for the 1989 movie. But, this book is pretty awful. The artwork is poor and detracts from the action. Using TV news to move the plot along is an amateurish device. Frankly, I am sorry that I wasted my time with this. The artwork is just so poorly drawn and executed, it makes it difficult at times to follow the action of the story.

Neil Gaiman's The Sandman is a tough act to follow, especially since it subverts (one could argue it even ridicules) traditional comics' conventions. This might've been at least partly why I found the beginning of this story and Batman himself pretty unpalatable.

I started off really not liking The Dark Knight Returns. My friend Kyle mentioned that it's ugly, and he gets that it's supposed to be ugly, but he still doesn't like it. Until I finished it, I agreed with him entirely-- but, now that I'...more
A seminal text of the genre. Can’t say that I enjoyed reading it again, though I have dim memories of liking it once upon a time, maybe when 1980s didn’t seem quite so alien. Or maybe when I hadn’t heard Frank Miller go all Rush Limbaugh on Occupy Wallstreet.

This Batman lives in a dystopian world where social order is breaking down and social institutions are largely impotent. When Superman only takes the edge off the breakdown, Batman recruits vigilante groups to help Gotham survive. DC sends...more
Dec 02, 2011 Checkman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Batman and Frank Miller
One of the touchstones of my college days. I read the four part series my freshman year in college. It was 1987 and the Internet was known only to a few. We learned about groundbreaking stories by word of mouth and those ancient communication devices called "magazines". It would take months ,sometimes years, for such radical changes to take effect. Instead of the standard thirty minutes that it now takes. Times were different and ideas moved slower. As a result they tended to have more impact.

Stefan Yates
I didn't think that this was bad by any means, but it didn't even come close to my expectations.

Overall, the artwork throughout the book ranges from very good to excellent. Where I found this book to be lacking was in the dialog and to some extent the storyline. Things just seemed very long and drawn-out and there were times where I was a bit confused as to what exactly was going on. I have previously 300 (another graphic novel by Frank Miller) and it also got me lost a couple of times along th...more
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Frank Miller is an American writer, artist and film director best known for his film noir-style comic book stories. He is one of the most widely-recognized and popular creators in comics, and is one of the most influential comics creators of his generation. His most notable works include Sin City, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman Year One and 300.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the...more
More about Frank Miller...
Batman: Year One Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City, #1) 300 Sin City, Vol. 2: A Dame to Kill For (Sin City, #2) Sin City, Vol. 4: That Yellow Bastard (Sin City, #4)

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“This should be agony. I should be a mass of aching muscle - broken, spent, unable to move. And, were I an older man, I surely would ... ... but I'm a man of thirty - of twenty again. The rain on my chest is a baptism - I'm born again ... ” 49 likes
“Of course we're Criminals” 26 likes
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