Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller ~Goodreads~
Published by DC Comics 2002 (f/p 1986)
Paperback edition 224 pages ~Book Depository~
The Dark Knight Returns was written and drawn by Frank Miller in 1986. Batman is gone, merely a myth to the young of Gotham city. In his place we have retired Bruce Wayne who has been forced to sit back and watch as the city he swore to protect falls back into the hands of the criminals he sought to keep it from. 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 a former ally.
When looking at any Batman comic I feel obliged to remind myself that the Batman has an effect on his world and The Dark Knight Returns is an incredibly interesting way to look at how the Batman has been perceived by the people he protected. Within this story, new readers will be introduced to a world that begs to be explored and for fans of old, it is a window into how the deeds of both Batman and the Justice League have left Earth. On that note, there is a variety of reference to both heroes and villains of old that comes as a treat to any DC Comics fan.
Something that I do hear mentioned as a critique of the story is the art style of the book. I understand that art and drawings within a comic can have a huge effect on the readers’ enjoyment of the story but I would like to assure any readers put off by the drawing style or smaller text windows that the writing more than makes up for having to squint your eyes at some text. At the very least, it is interesting to see how comic style have evolved in the last 30 years.
The Dark Knight Returns is, in my very humble opinion, some of the best Batman writing to date. It is clear why it became the inspiration for Batman vs Superman. With that in mind I would like to assure anyone new to Batman, or the wider DC universe, that the story is clear, concise and does a superb job of portraying the emotions of a man forced to now live a lie, whilst also keeping the excitement of Batman that will draw in newer readers and has become a staple for fans of old.
For this review to go on any longer I would have to start talking about individual parts of the story but I would not want to deprive people of the same experience I had reading this for the first time. If you read this and enjoy it I highly recommend its sequels, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, The Dark Knight: The Master Race and the soon to be released The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade. Overall I would say that this is an incredible piece of writing that is not to be missed and a reminder of why Batman is so deserving of his place in popular culture today.