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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Paperback – May 1 1997

218 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; 10th Anniversary edition edition (May 1 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563893428
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563893421
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1 x 25.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 399 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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 alternate Paperback edition.


"...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

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By johnglor94 on Jan. 12 1998
Format: Paperback
A dark, compelling look at a Batman at the end of his career (and the end of his rope). Th striking imagery and sharp text bring you the story of a world, and a Batman, that has to quote Stephen King "moved on." This is one of the best examples of graphic storytelling you will ever read. Not simply a "comic book," but a thoughtful story about heroes and the way we perceive them.
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By A Customer on Feb. 3 2004
Format: Paperback
Back in 1986 or so, Batman's partner Jason Todd(Robin II) was killed brutally by the Joker. After that, Batman kept going on with his work alone, but very dark.
Suppose he hadn't gone back to work? Suppose he vowed never to put himself or any others in harm's way again. That's where Dark Night Returns take us.
About 20 years after the last appearence of Batman, Bruce and Jim Gordon sit, talking of the old days. Gordon by now has figured out that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one in the same. Jason is broght up and suddenly Bruce wants to leave. The subject is still touchy for him.
Bruce realizes that Gotham is not safe anymore. Without protectors, his city is nothing. The Batman in him tells him what he must do. Bruce resists, but inspiration comes to him again.
Later a mugger is attacked, a brutal beating is stopped, and two young girls are saved by "a huge man in a Dracula costume". All stopped by none other than Batman.
Former villains that have been supposedly "cured" come back on the scene, including the Joker. A legendary fight ensues here.
This book is, simply put, awesome. A must have for ANYONE who is REMOTELY a fan of comics. Buy it. You won't be sorry.
I would even reccomend buying the hardback, you'll want to keep this one for a long time.
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Format: Paperback
Along with The Watchmen and Daredevil, The Dark Knight Returns was part of the "new wave" of comics in the 80's that introduced new possibilities to the staid comic lexicon: adult themes, complex storylines, and, most radically for the time, a blurring of the line between hero and villain. These new approaches not only became core attributes of the burgeoning graphic novel genre, but also helped to modernize comics and introduce the medium to a new -and more mature- audience.
Miller's at his best here when he explores the many paradoxes that inform the Batman; clearly, the past constructions of Batman as mere 'superhero' did the character a great disservice, since he's much more interesting here as a morally ambiguous and complex person. The expert television commentaries sprinkled throughout the narrative not only poke fun at the shallowness of contemporary news programs, but also well exemplify Batman's nebulousness and how he symbolizes different values (social deviant, victims' rights crusader) to different agendas. The dramatic, full-page illustrations also add to the richness of the book.
Clearly, Miller is no slave to tradition. He kills off some rather important comic characters in this text, nearly does away with others, and re-imagines Batman's trusty sidekick, Robin, as a young woman. Entire pages go by without any dialogue: Miller positions us inside the mind of the characters where we're privy to their innermost thoughts. The Dark Knight is nothing if not unpredictable, a refreshing change from the "good guy wins, bad guys die" formula of the comics of old. This really was (and still is) a groundbreaking and important work. Miller deserves accolades not only for having written an engrossing story, but for also having paved new and exciting directions for the modern comic.
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By Itamar Katz on Sept. 28 2003
Format: Paperback
Doubtlessly one of the most talked about comic book storylines of the past twenty years, its reputation is well founded. While material that was as hyped as The Dark Knight Returns is often ultimately disappointing, or seems outdated decades later, every time one reads The Dark Knight Returns he'd be more convinced that this is indeed a perfect piece of modern literature; and comics, American comics most of all, very rarely got this good. The Dark Knight Returns is one of a handful of graphic novels (e.g. Watchmen, The Sandman and Marvels) that achieve the status of genuine and timeless classics.
In the time of its release in the early 80s, The Dark Knight Returns was revolutionary, in every aspect. Frank Miller, already an acclaimed artist for his work on the early issues of Wolverine, already proved himself as a writer in 1984's brilliant and groundbreaking mini-series Ronin, but The Dark Knight Returns in 1986 was his break into the world of mainstream comics, and remains his most important achievement. But while his work on the series was within the world of super-hero comics, and within the financial safety of publishing under the DC Comics banner, Miller took mainstream comics to disturbing new places and super-heroes were never looked at the same way again. Taking inspiration from the groundbreaking work of the Dennis O'neil / Neil Addams team who revolutionized super-hero comics in the late 70s, and from his own former partner Chris Claremont, Miller made super-hero comics darker, more reflective and more mature than was ever made before. For that he took darkest character in the DC Universe, the Caped Crusader himself, and took him 20 years into the future, well into retirement. The new Batman is well into his 50s, sad and tired, and a much rougher kind of hero than he was before.
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