Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Review of "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns," by Frank Miller

 Review of

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller ISBN  9781563893421

Five out of five stars

Batman returns to a changed Gotham City

 After a lengthy absence, Batman returns to stalk the evil creatures of the night. Crime is exploding exponentially in Gotham City, with a large gang that call themselves the mutants terrorizing the population by robbing, raping and killing. Having reached the point where he can stand it no longer, Bruce Wayne once again becomes the Batman and begins to punish the evildoers.

 However, he is a man that is years older and a bit slower, when he fights the more powerful adversaries he gets roughed up. Furthermore, Batman is also on the edge of insanity, his mind continues to replay the murder of his parents and all his subsequent loses. Police Commissioner Gordon is about to retire, and he is also a hardened, cynical man, he chain-smokes cigars, even though they are killing him. Superman/Clark Kent is still playing the hero, although his relationship with Batman is rapidly growing adversarial.

 The mix is stirred even darker when the United States and the Soviet Union have a confrontation over a small island nation and the navies of the two square off and prepare to do battle. The public is split over the role of Batman, some citizens welcome the additional layer of protection while others, often portrayed as liberal idiots, demand that he be arrested as a vigilante. A new Police Commissioner is about to take office and the first thing that she does is issue a warrant for the arrest of Batman.

 There are many supporting characters in the story, the Joker is released from prison and returns to his old ways, the President of the United States and most other government officials are portrayed as spineless idiots and there is a new Robin. Alfred is still the loyal butler, yet he admonishes Batman in the tone of a parent fed up with the antics of his child.

 I found the story captivating; it is a dark and cynical tale of civilization unraveling until the cavalry comes to the rescue. An amusing point is the caricature of the President of the United States, the images are very similar to Ronald Reagan and his speech also contains some of his mannerisms.   

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