Since it is 80s week on the blog, I figured that I would review a classic Batman story, The Dark Knight Returns. This is one of the first graphic novels that I ever purchased and added to my collection and it is an important story for the history of Batman and comics because it was a culmination of the darker storytelling at the time into one serious Batman story. You can find this book on Amazon right now for around $17.49.
Alright so let’s talk about this classic!
Frank Miller is a legend in comics and back in the day he was a great penciller, he made gritty artwork that really complimented gritty storytelling. This was back 1986 when his pencils were still good and probably some of the best he’s done in my opinion. There are so many iconic shots of batman in this book that you can see why Zack Snyder wanted this Batman in his movies. Klaus Janson provided the inks and Lynn Varley was on colors. Together this team of artists made one of the most grittiest and darkest stories of the time. And they made it look beautiful in a way that a grimy Gotham City is beautiful. It is a great Batman story if you are looking for artwork alone.
However, Miller was not just the penciller of this story, he wrote it too! Frank Miller’s choice of playing with Batman philosophically was brilliant. He looked at what made this man a vigilante. Miller brought out a more grisly veteran for this older Batman and I love it. I love that this Batman treats the war on crime literal and that he sees all these kids as young because they are to him. There is a perfect balance in this story of the anarchist Batman and the Dark Guardian of Gotham. An issue I have with the sequel is that Batman becomes full anarchy mode where as this one has a few political statements, but keeps the heart of it a Batman story. Plus, you get the amazing Superman fight that has been copied and talked about everywhere!
I really do have nothing but praise for this book because of what it did for Batman and comics. It showed the dark side of Batman and it showed that comics can have serious adult storytelling.
Before I give this book a score, I want to mention why I picked this book to review for 80s week. The Dark Knight Returns, besides being released in 1986 is the definitive 80s comic. It reflects the chaos the world was feeling including the politics of the world at the time. I mean Reagan is in the book! The fear of neo Nazis, the red scare, and the rebellious attitudes of 80s kids were all aspects of the 80s. I think that this book gives a great glimpse at what was going on in peoples minds during the time. It is a wonderful memento of the past for modern readers to look to.
Overall, I probably stand with most people by saying that this is a classic Batman story and a must read for any comic book reader or even those that are new to comics.
(How good is the story? Does it stand up to others?)
(Does it tell the story? Does it work well with the character?)
(Does this story need to be told? Is it helping the Character?)
(Is the character represented well? Does the writer understand the character?)
Total: 19.7 / 20