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Book Review
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Part 4

Author: Bill Ramey
Thursday, December 28, 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 #4, "THE DARK KNIGHT FALLS," by Frank Miller

BOOK FOUR: "THE DARK KNIGHT FALLS"

THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS concludes in Book Four titled, “THE DARK KNIGHT FALLS.”

But does he?

Straight out of the Cold War, the USSR launches a nuclear warhead due to Superman’s presence in Corto Maltese . The Man of Steel is able to divert the missile to a desert area, but damage is done nonetheless…

Due to the missile, Gotham is hit with a blackout, disruption of all electronics, and panic ensues…

A small number of Gothamites, including the retired Jim Gordon, band together to fight the fires and retain some resemblance of order until the power is restored…

Even though he’s incredibly hurt as a result of the injuries inflicted during his fight with The Joker and the Gotham PD, The Batman applies his resourcefulness in reinstituting law and order to Gotham. He and Robin gather a force of the “Sons of Batman” and train them to stop the looting and crime without killing…

Due his efforts, Gotham becomes the safest and best-supplied city in the United States…

The U.S. government considers The Batman’s actions and Gotham’s recovery an embarrassment and order Superman to take down The Batman once and for all…

Revolutionary Ollie Queen, AKA The Green Arrow, warns Bruce about what the government has planned and The Batman prepares to take on The Man of Steel…

Armed with a special suit and a few tricks up his sleeve, The Batman takes on Superman at Crime Alley -- the location of the Wayne murders many years beforehand…

While this ultimate showdown is taking place, Alfred sees to the complete destruction of Wayne Manor and The Batcave...

TDKR ends with what one thinks has happened to The Batman not happening at all -- thanks to yet another one of The Dark Knight’s ingenious plans.

Mysteriously, all of Bruce Wayne's stocks and funds have been sold and liquidated...

And “The Mission” continues.

NEXT...Jett's take on THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

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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