Batman Dark Knight Returns

Batman Dark Knight Returns stands out as one of the most iconic, gritty and visceral Batman stories of all times. The Batman is now in his late fifties, as well as his lack of forbearance in not realising his age makes him less agile and strong.

“In four groundbreaking issues in late 1986, Miller’s DARK KNIGHT RETURNS delighted and enraged comic book classicists by turning Batman–a beloved but gimmicky hero who seemed to have the keys of life forever tucked into his utility belt-into a brooding vigilante, bleak, grim and full of rooftop psychosis.”–USA TODAY

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Miller said that the comic series’ plot was inspired by Dirty Harry, specifically the 1983 film Sudden Impact, in which Dirty Harry returns to crime-fighting after a lengthy convalescence. Miller also said his own increasing age was a factor in the plot.

IGN Comics ranked The Dark Knight Returns second on a list of the 25 greatest Batman graphic novels, behind Batman: Year One, and called The Dark Knight Returns, “a true masterpiece of storytelling” with “scene after unforgettable scene.” In 2005, Time chose the collected edition as one of the 10 best English language graphic novels ever written. Forbidden Planet placed the collected issue at number one on its “50 Best of the Best Graphic Novels” list. Writer Matthew K. Manning in the “1980s” chapter of DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle (2010) called the series “arguably the best Batman story of all time.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Deluxe Edition

Beginning with an old and grizzled Batman who has retired, new threats begin to arise, needing the caped crusader to awaken once again to fight the battles nobody else can. With a very slow burn to start, this first half really focusses the viewers in on the trauma that his character has faced in the past. There is a fantastic build up to Batman’s past coming back to haunt him. It is revealed that villains of the past are still around, and when Batman strikes back into action, they are ready to give themselves purpose once again.
batman dark knight returns deluxe edition review
Check out The Dark Knight Returns on Amazon

Whenever possible, the animators have stayed true to Miller’s sometimes idiosyncratic character design, though the figures in motion that have an unavoidably rushed, Saturday-morning-cartoon cheesiness at times.

The opening scene, which introduces Batman’s daytime persona Bruce Wayne in the middle of a stock-car race, doesn’t inspire confidence: the animators clearly saved money on the stiff movement of the cars.

Elsewhere, more money and time obviously go into Batman’s various fight scenes, particularly his final showdown with the Mutant Leader.

In general, though, Miller’s line work and compositions were so cinematic that they unfolded before our eyes as a breathless yet epic action movie, something the animation here can’t hope to duplicate.

Very well written, well executed, and helming some terrific animation, this is a very well-told story.