The Dark Knight Returns Review & Indepth Analysis by Deffinition
Immediately picking up after The Joker has committed suicide whilst battling The Dark Knight, Book Four: is a tale of the divisions between right and left.
NOT THE DIRECTIONS MAN YOU MUPPET.
The story builds up to and focuses on eventual face off between Batman and Superman. Throughout the story Batman comes to represent that the public can be trusted to do the right thing in the end. A liberal mentality. Whereas Superman is more regimented and believes that any nail that sticks up must be hammered down and that order is the only way to control people. A republican ideology.
The boy blue scout drops lines like ‘isn’t this a school night?’ and whilst it’s played for laughs he represents Order and America as a whole. We are supposed to dislike Superman and align ourselves with The Caped Crusader but both sides have their merits and criticisms making for an indepth analysis of modern day politics.
I Fought The Law
Barely making it through his ordeal escaping from the police, Batman feels like he’s on his last leg. Gotham city soon follows suit. The war that has slowly built in subplot up to this point comes to full fruition when Russia launch a nuclear missile at Corto Maltese. Superman barely intercepting the missile allows it to detonate over the sea, however the EMP caused by the blast knocks all electrical equipment out in Gotham.
Whilst Superman recovers in a scene that clearly inspired BVS we see Gotham become a lawless No Man’s Land.
If you’ve ever been to Magaluf, imagine that, 3 in the morning, everyone running through the streets, pissing on everything, vomiting everywhere, fighting one another whilst having sex on a park bench.
Though I’ve heard Magaluf is alright in September.
Anyway, being known for it’s criminal reputation it seems like Gothan and it’s citizens don’t stand a chance of surviving the night. That’s where Batman comes in.
Knight of Order
Gallantly riding on Horse Back Batman returns to Gotham, bringing law and order with him. We are given a first person perspective of how terrifying the events would be. These would later be realised in the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and it’s phenomenal to see how they would be handled should superheroes exist. Being more relevant today than in 1986 I really got the impression that Miller was a forward thinker and this segment about restoring Gotham whilst the rest of the Eastern seaboard descends into chaos really elevates the stature of the Caped Crusader.
Batman represents order, however, he is unorthodox, a symbol of antiestablishment and a political embarrassment, the President decides that Batman has went too far.
Superman knowing that Bruce will never allow himself to be brought in alive agrees to take him down once and for all.
YOULL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE COPPER
To me it seems like Clark always wanted permission to take down Bruce. We get hints that he was the reason that Superheroes became outlawed. Now used as a detterrent he seems to be a government lackey, brought in to handle things that the President may want to distance himself from. Batman represents an afront to this and it’s why he is so dangerous. Once the people begin to question their leaders then there could be a revolution. Superman is here to keep that order and make sure that everyone stays in line.
The Final Showdown
When kids weren’t whispering ‘boobies’ in your ear and then running off, the playground was the place to debate who would win in a fight: Batman or Superman.
It was also where you wore your hood over your head and pretended to be Batman, whilst your loser mate said they were Robin. That kid grew up to be CEO of a multi million pound company whilst you scrape your money together to read comics and heat tins of beans up with a lighter.
But I digress.
There never was a clear answer, till 1986.
Frank Miller dared to have the two giants face off and their battle is a momentous one.
Bruce wails on Superman throughout. Hitting him with procedural attacks from every angle. He uses missiles, the batmobile, electronics and sonic waves to impact the heroes senses on every level. It’s completely tactical and speaks volumes to how prepared Batman is for every eventuality.
The helmet makes him deaf to Superman’s pleas, removing any possibility of doubt. I wish this is something that hadve been used in Batman v Superman as it would’ve made sense as to why Clark couldn’t reason with the Dark Knight. We all know they didn’t put too much thought into that final battle though.
With the help of Green Arrow, Batman uses Kryptonite against the Man Of Steel beating on him until cardiac arrest takes over his body and he dies at the scene. Mirroring this Alfred too passes away, destroying Wayne Manor in the process. The Bat is dead, the legacy is over.
Or so the world thinks.
Fake news fake news.
Turns out Batman planned to fake his own death, removing himself from the limelight so that he could once again operate in the shadows. At the funeral Clark hears him but like good ol’ America, he let’s him off. It allows him to be the good guy in the end, realising that he will never best Bruce fully but as long as he stays out his way he’s ok with that.
We end on Bruce rebuilding the cave with the Mutant gang, realising that this will be a good life.
The Dark Knight Returns is the perfect send off for Bruce Wayne. It features heavy political subtext as well as a gigantic showdown between two of comics most iconic characters. Enveloped within a well written end we see the book’s initial ideas come to full fruition in a breathtaking manner.
No matter how many times I read it, this chapter always blows me away. It’s a momentous occasion that really nails down all of the intricacies that make Batman such an interesting character. Standing tall as one of the greatest send offs of all time I have no other choice than to give this a perfect…
So that concludes my Dark Knight Returns Review & Indepth Analysis, brilliant from start to finish this book really cemented Frank Miller as one of the best of his generation. It would go on to influence Batman comics for the next 30 years and few have managed to hold a candle to it.
It’s rare to find such a gripping read and urge those who haven’t read it to go back and check it out. Adapted to movies, games, animated films, toys and more it really is the quintessential tale of the Dark Knight and it belongs on your book shelf.
After having reviewed the four chapters of the book separately I mark this story overall as a…