BATMAN ON FILM, since June 1998!

Book Review
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Part 2

Author: Bill Ramey
Tuesday, December 19, 2006

SYNOPSIS FROM DC COMICS:
"It is ten years after an aging Batman has retired and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now as his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory. Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenage female Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, The Joker and Two-Face for the final time, Batman finds himself in mortal combat with his former ally, Superman, in a battle that only one of them will survive.

This collection is hailed as a comics masterpiece and was responsible for the launch of the Batman movies."

BATMAN: The Dark Knight Returns Action Figures and Deluxe Book Gift Set
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
Action Figures & Deluxe Book Gift Set

It is considered a modern comic book classic as well as one of the greatest Batman stories every told.

Originally published as a four-issue miniseries in 1986, Frank Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (with Klaus Janson on inks and colors by Lynn Varley) reintroduced Batman to the mainstream public as the dark character in which he was originally conceived in 1939. It also helped to bring about a period of "grim and gritty" superhero comic books from the mid-1980s on into the early 2000s.

I first read TDKR about 20 years ago when I was still in college. This was back in the days when I was “too cool” for Batman, so I actually read each issue at a local mall bookstore.

Recently, I’ve been picking up various Batman novels, TPBs, books, etc. each week when I visit my comic book shop. While looking over there expansive selection, it struck me that I had not read arguably one of the best Batman stories ever in nearly two decades. So I did what every self respecting Batman fan would do: I bought the thing.

What I plan on doing is providing a fairly spoiler-free synopsis of each of the four books that make up TDKR and then end with my overall take on Frank Miller’s masterpiece.


Issue #2, "THE DARK KNIGHT TRIUMPHANT," by Frank Miller

BOOK TWO: "THE DARK KNIGHT TRIUMPHANT"

In Book One of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, we witnessed the, uh, return of The Batman after a 10 year, self-imposed retirement.

In Book Two, titled “THE DARK KNIGHT TRIUMPHANT,” we are treated to a new Robin and The Batman’s final confrontation with the Mutants and their mysterious leader.

In the tradition of BOF‘s “Scatterhots,” here’s the rundown of “THE DARK KNIGHT TRIUMPHANT”:

While waking to work and thinking about his impending retirement, Jim Gordon is almost killed by a 17-year old Mutant gang member. The kid doesn't get away with it, but Gordon isn't particularly fond of the outcome -- which makes him look forward to retirement even more...

Gotham PD Captain Ellen Yindell, who admires Gordon but hates The Batman, is named Gordon’s successor…

A young girl named Carrie Kelly buys herself a “Robin” costume and hopes to encounter The Dark Knight after he saved her and her friend’s life…

The Mutant leader is finally revealed as this huge and muscle-bound individual with teeth that have been filed razor-sharp…

The Mutants gather at the city dump and plan to storm Gotham Police Headquarters…

The Batman, in a tank-like Batmobile, moves in on the Mutants at the dump and attacks the gang. The Mutants scatter, except for the leader who challenges The Batman to a hand-to-hand battle. The Batman accepts and is seriously injured by the leader, but saved by the Carrie Kelley “Robin.” She hauls him into The Batmobile and takes him back to The Batcave…

A recuperating Batman officially makes Carrie his partner, despite the objections of Alfred…

Before succumbing to his injuries, The Batman is able to subdue the Mutant leader and he is taken into custody by Gotham PD. The mayor then decides to “negotiate” a truce with the Mutants and, well, the outcome isn’t good -- for the mayor…

The Batman devises a plan to deal with the Mutants once and for all. He enlists the help of both Gordon and Carrie to carry out his plot…

The Batman and the Mutant leader -- who had been sprung from jail (thanks to Gordon) -- then square off in a huge mud hole for a final time. All of the gang members are present (thanks to Carrie) to witness the outcome -- just as The Batman wanted.

Overall, not as good for me personally as Book One, but very enjoyable nonetheless. It’s was interesting to see that The Batman, while tremendously ruthless and violent, still maintains his code against killing -- although one does want him to take out that bastard, the Mutant leader.

I’m not too sure what I think about this new Robin, but that most likely has something to do with the fact that I prefer the solo Batman over Batman & Robin.

Now on to Book Three and "THE JOKER RETURNS!"

NEXT...BOOK THREE: ""

Bill Ramey, AKA "Jett," is the founder and editor in chief of
BATMAN ON FILM, BATMAN IN COMICS, and ON-FILM.NET.

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