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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Paperback – 1986

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books Ltd; Edition Not Stated edition (1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0907610900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0907610908
  • Product Dimensions: 25.8 x 1 x 16.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

If any comic has a claim to have truly reinvigorated the genre then The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller--known recently for his excellent Sin City series and, previously, for his superb rendering of the blind superhero Daredevil--is probably the supreme 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. In his introduction the great Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing, the arguably peerless Watchmen) argues 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, streetgangs 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

Review

..".probably the finest piece of comic art ever published in a popular edition..." Stephen King "Groundbreaking." USA TODAY"It's film noir in cartoon pane ls." VANITY FAIR"There's never been storytelling quite like this." THE WASHINGTON POST"Changed the course of comics." ROLLING STONE"Revisionist pop epic." SPIN" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Saul Jones on 10 July 2009
Format: Paperback
This is probably the best Batman story ever written - it reinvented and renewed the character, made the Dark Knight a more frightening and frighteningly real person and made the graphic novel into a modern art form. Not bad comic book...

Miller's writing here is excellent (unlike the bizarre angry, sweary, trying-so-hard-to-be-gritty-it's-just-funny style he seems to be stuck in post Sin City) and the story moves along excellently. At first, things look a little to 'episodic' to really come together, but the more you read the better it seems to get. The art work itself seems a little odd to start with - it's a lot less 'comic book' like than most - but the style shouldn't put you off as it really suits the atmosphere of the story (something that becomes obvious on the Caped Crusader's first full page appearance).

If you've got no previous knowledge of the Batman, this is not the place to start. Try Miller's also excellent 'Year One' instead. But make sure you DO get round to reading this gem. Just quit before you read 'All Star's Batman and Robin'...
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Emilio Mestiga on 4 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
Despite all the talk of a vital adult comic scene there are actually only two creators really pulling it off: Alan Moore and Frank Miller who together pretty much started it all off with Watchmen and Dark Knight respectively.
Rereading Dark Knight now it still reads very fresh having lost none of it's intensity or originality either in technique or narrative. The only thing that dates it as a product of it's time are Miller's pot shots at 80's American politics and the Cold War.
It's a pity Miller never hit these heights again but with the sequel, Dark Knight Strkes Again, in the shops there's never been a better time to revisit this revolutionary comic. Truly excellent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Lyle on 9 July 2013
Format: Paperback
The way people have gone on and on about this book, it didn't seem logical not to read it. People have promoted this as being the greatest graphic novel of all time. I don't really agree, but it was nonetheless a good read.

An aged Batman comes out of retirement, with a new Robin and a new approach to crime fighting, into a Gotham that has fallen to ruin under the new crime wave of the criminal gang 'The Mutants' and corruption of the law. Along the way, he encounters old nemeses and old comrades as well as new ones as he continues the seemingly un-winnable fight against crime.

One thing that I will say is that this book really helped to get Batman out of his awkward 1960s campiness and reintroduced him into a cynical and dark approach to comics. Much like Alan Moore's Watchmen, this book views the mythos of Batman in a more satirical, gritty and realistic light, showing that there are consequences to everything that happens. Miller's writing shows that things are never so black-and-white as in more mainstream comics. Batman's unwillingness to do bad things and to follow a moral code can only take one so far, and sometimes tough decisions haave to be made for the greater good. If only Frank Miller hadn't turned into the narcissistic, sexist and racist writer he has become today. At least in here, there was a point to everything that happened.

Miller's art varies between good and bad. I don't know how to describe it. Many times the art is scary and dynamic and badass, as we want, but then come sequences such as the television broadcasts, where the panels (shaped as tv sets) are so small that the characters look almost comically underdrawn and rather painful to look at.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By @GeekZilla9000 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The 'sixties Batman TV series was fun and enjoyed popular re-runs, it's light-hearted tone was family friendly and the camp portrayal of Batman become the de-facto image of the Gotham City vigilante. Although it brought the character into the mainstream, it also meant that he was generally not taken very seriously. Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns provided an alternate way of viewing Bruce Wayne's alter-ego by showing him twenty years later in his mid-fifties, the main feature of this different portrayal wasn't his advanced age however, it was the grittier more mature tone. Miller made the Dark Knight dark again, violent and grim, Miller's Gotham City is a place to genuinely fear - but hope wears a cape in this true reboot of one of the world's most well known heroes.

In the future we see Bruce Wayne reminiscing about the old days with Commissioner Gordon who himself is about to retire, now in his fifties Bruce is starting to reflect on his life and the state of Gotham City which seems under a reign of chaos from a violent gang. The TV news programmes report on the brutal assaults and tell children that there was a time when a masked crime fighter helped to make the city safe, the Batman really did exist, he isn't just folklore.

There's something missing from Bruce Wayne's life, a spark of passion which he once had and he can almost feel his alter-ego wanting to break free. And when it does, it's a liberating moment. He feels guilt over the death of the friend Jason Todd who was better known as Robin, but his desire to make a difference once again re-energises him and makes him feel young again.
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