Batman Dark Knight Returns TP Paperback – 7 Feb 2006
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
..".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" --VariousSee all Product description
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The story concerns an aged Bruce Wayne who, after a decade of retirement, returns to crime-fighting as the masked vigilante known as Batman. He faces opposition from much of the Gotham City police force and the US government. Yet, with the aid of the new Robin, he is able to re-establish himself as the Dark Knight and fight for justice.
The story is set in a dystopian society, an alternative reality to our 1980’s. Wayne, having given up being Batman, drifts aimlessly through life as a drunk. Yet, with crime on the rise – and a new group of villains known as mutants stalking the city – so Wayne is inspired to once again become Batman. And as he does so, some major super-villains of the past reappear … first Two-Face and then, in spectacular fashion, the Joker. In dealing with the gangs, the corrupt authorities, and finally the Joker, so the US government decides to take action against Batman … and it sends Superman to stop the Dark Knight. And so we get an all-out battle between these two titans: Batman vs Superman. Of course, the Man of Steel has all his powers … but Batman happens to be someone who prepares for all eventualities.
This is a portrayal of the Dark Knight that exists at the opposite pole of the campy 1960’s TV show. This is a gritty, menacing and serious Batman. And the world he lives in is equally dark and complex. And so Miller presents us with – what was in 1986 – a highly original conception of Batman, which has influenced many of the subsequent interpretations of this fictional character.
This is the trade paperback edition, about 225 pages in length. It comes with limited ‘extras’. Nonetheless, it’s a good read. However, if you want something more deluxe then I recommend the new hardback edition (over 500 pages long, with lots of extra content). Either way, this is an enjoyable graphic novel.
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