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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Batman)

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  133,006 Ratings  ·  2,507 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
Hardcover, 197 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by DC Comics (first published 1986)
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Aran Johnson The central idea of this book is that Batman is in retirement due to being worn out and tired of all the crap he has had to deal with as a…moreThe central idea of this book is that Batman is in retirement due to being worn out and tired of all the crap he has had to deal with as a crime-fighter. He is very reluctant to return to action. If you have NO idea of his history, then you are probably going to be quite lost trying to understand all the references in this book. The quickest way to get up to speed would be to watch Tim Burton's Batman, which will fill you in on the main points of Batman and the Joker's origin stories, and help you understand why being Batman is such a psychological burden for him. As in Burton's movie, the Gotham City of The Dark Knight Returns is reminiscent of the hell-hole that was 1980s New York City. This was written in an era when, for example, the Philadelphia police department actually bombed some buildings to deal with a crime problem. It helps to know all of that background to get a sense of the social context this Frank Miller story emerged from, and why people liked it so much.(less)
Lindsey No, but you should have a general idea of who he is, and who Robin is
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Community Reviews

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Dec 04, 2013 Stephen rated it it was amazing
........................ 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"....................



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 aren't a whiny ass


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




Kat Stark
Feb 29, 2016 Kat Stark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, reviewed

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
Jun 18, 2007 Missy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphicnovels
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
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 zero 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
Jul 14, 2008 Heather rated it it was ok
Shelves: home-library
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
Nov 10, 2010 Buck rated it it was ok
Shelves: sequential-art
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
May 06, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing

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
Nov 27, 2010 Mykle rated it really liked it
(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
Sep 18, 2008 Katie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Aug 18, 2013 Maciek rated it it was amazing
Shelves: saw-movie, reviewed
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,
Jan 15, 2016 Stephen rated it really liked it

I already read it once but i just couldn't finish it and after some thinking and some goodreads friends convincing to read it, i gave it another shot .

Batman is old and bitter, and has suppressed the Dark Knight to live only as Bruce Wayne. But looking around an increasingly liberal and permissive world, he finds that he cannot stand by and do nothing. And then he comes out of retirement with new approach to crime fighting.

Now Gotham has fallen to ruin under the new crime wave of a criminal gang
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 t
Aug 24, 2015 Bookwraiths rated it it was ok
Never have been a Frank Miller fan. The art, page layouts, characterization (especially Batman and Superman), and dialogue in this one left me saying "What is so great about this again?" Guess I'll reread Watchmen again.
Sep 20, 2015 Mahdi rated it really liked it
بتمن: پدر و مادر من، وقتی در این خیابان افتاده بودند، وقتی داشتند دست و پا می زدند و جان می کندند، وقتی داشتند بی دلیل می مردند، چیزی به من آموختند:
به من آموختند که دنیا فقط وقتی بر مدار درستی می چرخد، که به زور وادارش کنی.
بتمن: شوالیه ی تاریکی سقوط می کند

شوالیه ی تاریکی باز می گردد، کمیکی چهار جلدی است نوشته شده توسط فرانک میلر، نویسنده ی کمیک های معروف "شهر گناه" و "300" و "بتمن: سال نخست".

این کمیک و کمیک "نگهبانان" اثر "آلن مور"، آغازگر دوره ای از صنعت داستان های مصور هستند که به نام "دوره ی
Aug 10, 2008 Amie rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
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
Aug 25, 2015 Donovan rated it it was amazing

This one's a real chin stroker. Very dense and layered. Took me two slow reads full of notetaking to begin to fathom the complexity and sociopolitical satire in this masterpiece. My first read two years ago was lukewarm. I didn't hate it, I just didn't get it. I knew it was important, but the art and 80s culture takes some getting used to. And there's so much Batman lore that if you don't know it you're going to get lost, which I didn't know and so I did. Dick Grayson. Jason Todd. Harvey Dent/Tw
Sam Quixote
Aug 28, 2012 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 03, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always was a big fan of Batman and with TDKR by Miller I felt I read something I had not seen before in comics. While I always considered Batman as a somewhat on the right in a political sense here he operates in a far more dangerous fascist future.

Batman has gone and retired. The world has taken a right-wing fascist direction where freedom of speech is still practiced even if it is no longer a valuable thing as it is used to cover a lot of wrongdoings in the world. There are no longer superhe
Sep 24, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
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
Sep 02, 2015 Richard rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novel

I hated this. It took me an age to get through as I had no desire to pick it up. It's badly drawn, badly narrated, and too muddled to make a coherent story and grab my attention. I found some of the text hard to read and not stylised in what I would class as an easy comic book format. I read comics/graphic novels more for the art than the story and this was just piss poor.

Compared to some of the other Batman works I've read (not many in all honesty) this pales in comparison to say Batman: T
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Miller reinvented Batman and the genre
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Alan Moore’s Watchmen (1986-87) are generally considered the watershed graphic novels that revived and reinvented the comic book industry, forced mainstream critics and readers to take the genre more seriously, and laid the groundwork for a massive superhero movie industry eager to bring classic comic superheroes to the big screen
Kee the Ekairidium
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
Apr 03, 2016 Roxanne rated it liked it
I finally read it, not for lack of trying though i think this was about my tenth time of trying to get through this and putting up with all those bloody news reports.
This is definitely a challenging read from the story to the artwork you really gotta work for this one and yet i really loved a lot of elements of this. First off Batman is pretty bad ass, he's older and he's all out of fucks to give.

He's got a shit ton of new disguises to try out, which i really liked cause it could have been rea
Jul 21, 2015 Lamora/Ches rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Occasionally, I find myself too attached to a certain book: the book smells nice; the day when I bought it was full of great moments; the person who introduced me to the book is usually dead on right when recommending something. I am sentimental, so sometimes my review is very far off from an objective appreciation of its contents. When a GR friend pointed out Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is neo-fascist fantasy, I found myself rethinking this whole book.

In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, 55-
Dec 31, 2014 Gavin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
***NOTE: This was a re-reading in prep for reading DK2 (The Dark Knight Strikes Again)...I've already read it, and I'm going to stick with the 5 star rating, but more for what it means than if I just read it today and was born any time AFTER Michael Keaton's Batman.***

1) There is no doubt in my mind, Frank Miller saved Batman. Between this and Year One, he's got 2 of the Top 5, if not THE top 2 Batman books ever written, essential, and even essential for comics in general.

- Without Miller, there
Apr 30, 2012 Kedar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Surprisingly good plot and storytelling, that brought me more enjoyment than I'd expected and whose quality can stand the just serviceable art.

And this is also one of the very rare stories that managed to completely take me off guard with the ending. Loved this older and darker Bruce Wayne to bits!
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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 about Frank Miller...

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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 ... ” 60 likes
“You're beginning to get the idea, Clark. We could have changed the world…now…look at us…I've become a political liability…and…you…you're a joke. I want you to remember, Clark…in all the years to come…in your most private moments…I want you to remember…my hand…at your throat…I want…you to remember…the one man who beat you.” 37 likes
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