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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns [Paperback]

Frank Miller
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 1997 Batman Dark Knight

It is ten years after an aging Batman has retired and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now as his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory.

Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenage female Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face for the final time, Batman finds himself in mortal combat with his former ally, Superman, in a battle that only one of them will survive. This collection is hailed as a comics masterpiece and was responsible for the launch of the Batman movies.

This volume collects Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1-4.

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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns + Batman: Year One + Batman: Killing Joke (DELUXE)
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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

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tragic but daring Tale June 21 2012
By j-maAN
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I always criticized Frank Miller's art work on Batman. Even after purchasing 'Year one' and being pleasantly surprised by the story I still remained hesitant on purchasing "The Dark Knight Returns". Foolish me. This story is absolutely amazing. It's the most tragic piece of art in the form of a graphic novel I've ever read. The pages are filled with text, it felt as if this story was as long as a full lengthed novel! I cannot stress enough the importance of this graphic novel to the entire Batman mythos and story line. A must buy for anyone who enjoys the works of Frank Miller and/or Batman.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not simply a "comic book" Jan. 12 1998
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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4.0 out of 5 stars DKR: short of greatness... but still pretty good June 14 2004
After many a year of taking in my fellow comic geeks' word-of-mouth about the "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" series being one of the greatest stories ever told in the comic book medium-- right up there with Alan Moore's "Watchmen"-- I finally broke down and gave it a read. While I found it fairly solid if somewhat overdone in the inner monologue department, this four-color yarn never really struck me as being one of the all-time greats. For one thing, the somewhat over-the-top End-Of-The-Cold-War-era political & sociocultural satire Frank Miller injected into the story made the whole shebang seem a bit dated. Then there was the artwork, which was of inconsistent quality. 'Course, I blame this more on the finishing touches by Klaus Janson, whose artwork-- be it pencils or inks-- usually leaves a lot to be desired in my eyes. I swear, he musta' had a few incriminating photos of Miller with a donkey or something to have stayed his partner-in-rendering all those years.
As for the assertion by many that DKR was the harbinger of the comic book world's 'grim-and-gritty-anti-hero' era-- well, if this assertion does have merit, I see it as a good thing. 'Cuz back in the day, I really enjoyed reading the adventures of rival Marvel's two grimmest-and-grittiest guys: Ghost Rider version 2 and the Punisher, both of whom got their own ongoing titles shortly after DKR hit the stands. I also liked how Batsy really laid the smack-down on his criminal foes-- especially his crippling of the Joker, who managed to finish himself off immediately after being incapacitated in a most amazing and disquieting manner. And despite his superior strength, speed, and agility, I always figured Batman could hold his own in a knockdown drag-out against Superman-- which he does and the some at the story's climax.
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5.0 out of 5 stars By far, THE BEST Batman tale. Feb. 3 2004
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Batman grows up Jan. 28 2004
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best Batman graphic novels, what more can I say.
Published 29 days ago by klintbaxter
5.0 out of 5 stars A+
Great comic
Published 1 month ago by Fadi Achkar
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Lilliana Nguyen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great art and and overall a great read:)
Published 2 months ago by Ethan Estabrooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Son is happy!
Published 3 months ago by Mary Mulvihill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic
Love this story by Frank Miller. One of the all time best Batman storyline. A true classic. Must read for any Batman fan!
Published 8 months ago by Remi Frenette
4.0 out of 5 stars EPIC story by the great Frank Miller
Epic classic by Mr Miller, amazing story as witnessed in the movie. This one lost 1 star from me due to the artwork which I personally think a better job could have been done. Read more
Published 9 months ago by RMG
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative! Provocative! Provocative! BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT...
I BROKE his bones...I CONQUERED the fool!
I made him BEG for mercy, only by CHEATING did he escape alive!

Let him go to his WOMEN. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Andre Lawrence
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique masterpiece
Great art, an incredibly unique, dense story and a satisfying ending. A great read. I felt like I got a deeper appreciation for the recent film as a result of reading this first.
Published on Sept. 17 2012 by bewlaybrutha
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This book was amazing, and sets the tone for so much of Batman in the 1990s and even into the 2000s, until Grant Morrison broke him down and recreated him. Read more
Published on July 10 2012 by John McMullen
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