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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 10 July 2009
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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on 4 January 2002
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 April 2016
“The Dark Knight Returns” is a seminal contribution to graphic novel fiction – and was hugely influential both within the comic book industry generally and upon the characterisation of Batman in particular. This is, perhaps, Frank Miller’s most famous and important work. It consists of a four-issue mini-series, first published in 1986.

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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on 18 July 2002
'Comic' just doesn't apply to some of the mature and intelligent graphic novels available on the market today. Dark Knight Returns is a prime example. Here Frank Miller brings his gritty, gothic, noir style and stamps it all over the franchise. With an aging Bruce Wayne slowly going round the bend as he battles to lead a 'normal life', fighting against his conscience to turn the other cheek, the Joker is released from jail after a 'full mental recovery'.Gotham City is plagued by a new breed of criminal and soon the Batmans voice will have to be heard.
This graphic novel is a landmark in the comics book industry, being one of the biggest and longest selling novels ever. With appearances from old flames, brothers in arms and the perfectly handled appearance of a new Robin, this is familiar territory in a futuristic Gotham on boiling point. Add to this the ultimate showdown between the All American Boyscout (Superman)and the Dark Knight himself (yes, the movie question on everyones lips today was answered years ago) and you STILL haven't scratched the surface.
Buy it.
Read it.
Love it.
'Peel'.
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on 2 June 2015
After being a fan of the Tim Burton Batman films, I was intrigued to see what inspired creating the darker world of the 1989 film from this graphic novel (alongside Batman: The Killing Joke). I was surprised to find (artistically / stylistically) how different it is from the art design of the film, but it is more the maturely told story and grittier world that the characters live in I think more than anything else. It's understandable to see why this graphic novel is so popular and stood the test of time, with it's gripping storytelling and striking visuals. A must purchase for any Batman or graphic novel fan.
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on 5 June 2013
I really enjoyed this comic; I keep wondering why it took me so long to read it. I finally got around to reading it after being blown away by Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (Region 2) and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 2 [DVD]. I thought it was finally time to get round to the source material. I am glad I did.

I quick recap of the story. Bruce is no longer Batman. There has been no Batman for 10 years. To curb his urges Bruce has become something of an adrenalin junkie study. Gotham has become a darker and more lawless place. On the 10 year anniversary of the last Batman sighting Bruce's subconscious "Batman" fights back telling him Bruce he is just the shell and he is not done with him yet.

Most of what I though was great about the movies holds true to the comic, with a couple of exception. I have to say I prefer the animation of the movies, but I think at the time of the comic and for what is trying to be portrayed it does work. Meaning Batman strikes from the shadow leaving his opponent incapacitated and confused as to what just happened. A couple of the panels like when Batman takes out the pimp in the back of the taxi I it took me a while to see what happened from the art work. Like I said these were surgical strikes and it does put me in the mind of the pimp with a broken hand, thinking my hand is broken what just happened. When Batman decides to show himself the art work reflects that by drawing bigger more detailed pictures of him. The main thing I did not like about the comic was I thought there was too much of the talking heads. The media discussions of Batman, I can understand why this was done e.g. the Arkem psychologist taking an anti-batman stance to sell more of his book and make a name for himself, but I think it was a bit overdone. I mean all together this probably makes up half the contents of the book. The best think about the comic and it major advantage over the movies is the internal dialog Batman has with himself. In the movies they make Batman talk more to explain his methods. Whereas if you look at the comics there are very few speech bubbles while he is Batman and most of these are orders or threats. The rest of them it is Batman analysing everything in his head. I think that is what makes his scarier, (like when a magic trick is explained it is not as impressive), having the unknown factor is what Batman his edge. An example of this is in the second fight with the Mutant Leader, the Leader cannot understand Batman is targeting nerve clusters and showing him shallow cuts in the "just the right" places can be effective. I also like the way he keep thinking lucky with every near miss, and the explanation of why he paints a big bright target on his chest. I also like the way Batman has evolved, he is not above using guns, will kill to protect given no other option, and lacing his smoke bombs with a watered down version of the scarecrows fear gas is genius, not only does he appear in front of his victims, he appears in front of them as their "worst nightmares"!

The others, Commissioner Garden is still Batman's biggest supporter but is facing retirement it is not really until he is gone that Batman man realises how much Garden protected him. Garden is the same tough but fair cop he always was. The Joker is just as evil as ever he comes out of his coma with the return of Batman and makes one last mass murdering run at Gotham. Unlike in the movie the Joker is not a physical match for Batman, but is a master of psychologically pushing his buttons. He knows this is his last chance if you will and he wants to die at the hands of Batman. Superman has become a tool of the establishment. Batman says it is because of Clarks respect for people in authority, but he also says to Clark nobody could force Clark to do something he did not want to do. Strangely Oliver and Clark share the same opinion on Batman he is too loud, he plays things mysterious but a loud kind of mysterious. Clark in his thought also says Batman need to work more in secret like he is force to do. This could be why he does not let anyone see him when he comes to Gotham. Maybe he should do something about his costume if he is trying to keep a low profile. The only thing I do not like it the relationship between Bruce and Alfred. Alfred is still the dutiful servant, but that is what Bruce seem to treat him like in this story a servant, someone to tell what to do and expect it to be done nothing more nothing less. Having said that Alfred does manage to get in some verbal barbs of his own, and though Bruce values his opinion probably more than anyone else's but there is a clear line saying Bruce/Batman is in charge live with it.

I great comic , very detailed excellent as a standalone or as a companion to the movies to fill in extra details. A true classic for Batman fans. Enjoy reading it repeatedly over multiple sittings it is a lot to take in. All good!!!
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on 29 December 1999
I bought and read this book at Xmas 1986,having not read a superhero comic/graphic novel for about 10 years.It made me realise how much I loved and missed the world of DC and Marvel.Since then I have been as avid a fan as I ever was, but I have to say that this novel is unmatched by anything I've read either before or after.Bruce Wayne is old,Batman is a story parents tell their kids to frighten them and Gotham City is more violent than ever.All the ingredients are there for a dramatic and violent return of the dark knight.A lot of the old characters are in there-Superman(and the showdown that was always on the cards)Green Arrow,Catwoman and THE JOKER.If you really thought you knew how much of an evil psycopath this guy is then read this novel and think again.There is only one true super villain-buy it.
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on 14 April 2016
This book is a classic Batman story and a must read for even the casual fan.

Set years in the future when Batman has been retired for years, Gotham is overun by criminals called the mutant gang and Bruce Wayne decides it is time to come out of retirement and set things straight.

The art style is very much of it's time and the story in places is too, but it is a deep storyline covering plenty of aspects including Batman being darker than before, the morality of what Batman is doing and what happened to the Justice League in this future.

A confrontation with Superman will decide the outcome of this book. This book did have inspiration for the recent Batman v Superman film.
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on 3 June 2016
This is a great read, without spooling anything it's about old batman being a badass. Many scenes and lines from this book have been used in the batman trilogy and the latest Batman v Superman film!! There is also a 2 part animated film which goes alongside this. The art style is the same and it is also worth the watch!! If you are a big batman fan this is definitely for you!!
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on 2 January 2016
It is fair to say that that your enjoyment of The Dark Knight Returns will depend on whether you prefer batman as a dark conflicted character, or the more idealistic more traditionally heroic type. Whilst it my have influenced the Christopher Nolan Batman films, even they don't come close the darkness and messed up morality of this Batman's world. Apparently the new Batman v Superman film has also taken from the novel however it is unlikely that it will follow too closely in a movie that needs the family audience.

Here we meet an aging Bruce Wayne in a world where the line between superhero's and supervillains has been crossed. Still struggling with guilt of the death of Robin he finds himself drawn back to the bat.

His moral code and methods are even darker and less clear, and his re-emergence reawakens the Joker.

The US government ends up sending Superman to confront Batman in an almighty battle.

The writing and artwork is raw and frenetic and this is one graphic novel that every adult batman fan should read,
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