Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller; with Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley
(DC Comics, 2013, 198 pages)
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns had been on my radar fora while because I kept hearing about how great it was. Plus I’ve been meaning to expand my graphic novel repertoire to incorporate more of the classics. What motivated me to finally check this book out from an amazing Geek Week display we had here in the library was hearing one of our reference librarians (shout out to Kelly M!) give a talk about Batman and Superman.
While I’m familiar with the Batman backstory and I’ve seen most of the movies I was a little worried I wouldn’t get all the references within this book. Fortunately, it does work well as a stand-alone title, though there were still times when I felt like I might appreciate the story more if I knew a little more about some of the characters. Batman: The Dark Knight introduces the reader to a Batman who is ten years past his retirement but who still can’t shake his inner demons regarding the death of his parents.
Gotham is overrun with crime and Bruce Wayne finally makes the decision that he can’t fight himself anymore and reintroduces Batman to the world. With the return of Batman comes a new Robin in the form of a 13 year old girl named Carrie. As they work together to try and restore a sense of order to their city, Gothamites take sides on whether they approve of Batman’s return or think he does more harm than good.
I enjoyed this book because I appreciated the form and the story. I thought it was an interesting approach for Miller to really humanize Batman by having him deal with aging and how that impacts what he can do and how he perceives himself in the world. I also forced myself to slow down and appreciate the visual storytelling because it’s easy to just take the graphic element for granted instead of appreciating the time and thought that goes into depicting things in a specific way.
I’m glad I finally got around to reading this. And please feel free to check out Andrew’s review of this title.