Writer-artist Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is a surprisingly nuanced, grim, an intricate graphic novel, on the same level as most modern fiction. it relates the story of Batman’s return to crimefighting after a decade of absences, despite his growing age and opposition from the new police commissioner. Batman must defeat a terrifying new gang called the Mutants as well as his old enemies, even as the police are hunting him down. Along the way, Miller shows the impact of superheroes like Batman on soceity, as well as the impact of the media that follows his every move. Indeed, the mass media coverage of both Batman’s exploits and a Cold-War-turned-hot scenario eerily forecast the world of today, though the tale was penned in 1986.
Miller also delves into the psychological realm, examining just what makes batman and some of his adversaries tick. Though this can become dry at times, it furthers the development of characters that, before this, were not very complicated at all. Those uninitiated in the batman mythos will only need a small amount of knowledge to delve into the truly spectacular tale that is The Dark Knight Returns.
–A.M. (age 15)