Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

Oh, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns.  Easily one of the greatest comic books ever written.  I originally read this book back in the 90’s during my high school days.  The then 20+ year-old book, now 30+, is an essential read for any comic book enthusiast.  I recall the shift in me brought on by this story.  Up until that point my comic reading was filled with random fodder of loose additions to the Spider-Man clone saga, classic Stan Lee Fantastic Four stories, and other such odds and ends.  Reading The Dark Knight Returns did something for me that it did for the world upon its release.  It changed my entire perspective on what comic books could be.  Still, to this day, there are only a couple of books that are anywhere near the level of Frank Miller’s future of Batman. 

Back then I had borrowed a friends copy and like most comic’s that I’ve read elsewhere, I never invested the money into a copy for myself.  Well, recently I took the family to the Sunday flea market- the Hillhurst Sunday market, a Calgary staple for junk and things.  Amongst the crafts, tools, retro video games, and novelties, there is always a couple tables of comic books that are worth a gander.  When I saw a quality condition Batman: Dark Knight Returns hidden amongst some Batgirl, and G.I. Joe, the $5 copy was an instant score.  I took it home and instantly put all my other readings aside and dove into this classic.  Like re-watching a favourite movie, or throwing on a mixtape you made 15 years ago, it all came flooding home, in a wave of nostalgic glory.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was originally published as 4 issues in 1986.  Inspired by the Dirty Harry film, Sudden Impact, this was Frank Miller’s first mainstream work.  Illustrated by artist Klaus Janson, the pages use a unique 16 panel system.  While The Dark Knight Returns is widely respected as one of the greatest graphic novels published, there are a few that believe the story lacks a solid plot.  Still, there is no arguing that along with Watchmen, Frank Miller’s work brought upon the modern age of graphic novel story telling, and no one can take that away.

Really, I have been wracking my mind over what I can say about this graphic novel that hasn’t been said.  Truly, any one who is a fan of super hero graphic novels is well aware of its importance.  So wildly popular that Frank Miller has felt the pressure to continually add to this universe to this day.  Ultimately, I have decided that I gotta break free from a traditional review and go full out fan boy geek out.  Ready-

I cannot believe how flippin-friggin dope this book is.  I cannot believe it took me so long to read it in my adult life.  Honestly, this is one of those reads that require a re-read every few years.  I loved the animated movies that they put out in two parts, knowing they did an excellent job of staying true to the original book.  However, there is a lot of essence and feel in that is lost in translation.

Flip man, the Joker dies!  I mean c’mon!  The death of the clown prince of crime!  And Green Arrow.  And Superman.  And and and.  Just full of great stuff from front to back.  The future look from the 80’s is solid.  I know that none of the predictions came to fruition, but, it is very, dark future as seen from the 80’s.  And, Batman.  This book gets most of its flack for not keeping a true to character story.  30 years later this Batman is constantly recreated and the inspiration for what we know as Batman, post Adam West, god rest his soul.

5/5, I just love it.  There’s not much else to say about that.

Thanks booknerds, Green Onion don’t shiv.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. For Tyeth says:

    Great review Green Onion, you can sense the love you have for the novel and at such a poignant time, let us not forget another Batman….Adam West, may he strike comedy fear into the criminals of Gotham city forever!


  2. rashthedoctor says:

    Woah ! so you are telling me I’m not the only one who reads this once every year?

    Also “flippin-friggin dope” seems the apt adjective for praising this book , man you are lucky to get it cheap , I had to spend Rs.1500 ( that’s approximately $25 in US money) 😥


  3. Nancy says:

    While I am not a fan of Batman, your review makes me want to pick up this story! How could I not read a book that is flippin-friggin dope???


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