Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

batmanTitle: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Author: Frank Miller

ISBN: 978-1563893421

Publication Date: 1997

Genre: Graphic Novel

Reading Level/Interest Age: 15 and up

Plot: Bruce Wayne is now 55 years old and has long since retired his crime fighting alter ego Batman. Wayne is having trouble adjusting to normal life, the nightmares of his parent’s death still haunt him and the recent crime hike is bringing Gotham city down. At this point the allure of his mask and cape is enticing. Batman comes out of retirement to a world that does not remember him and is not ready for his return.

Critical Evaluation: A gritty and brutal look for the cape crusader, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns is a very mature narrative for a comic book character. There are hints of political and social satire that can be found through out the book. Much of Batman’s dialog comes from his inner monologue, which really shows how he evaluates every situation and shows that you have to be a little crazy to dress up and fight crime at night.This is especially ironic since many of the criminals running loose on the streets are crazy themselves.

Reader’s Annotation: See how the success of this book helped pave the way for the modern Batman films.

Author: Retrieved from –

Frank Miller (born January 27, 1957) is an American writer, artist, and film director best known for his dark comic book stories and graphic novels such as Ronin, Daredevil: Born Again, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, and 300. He also directed the film version of The Spirit, shared directing duties with Robert Rodriguez on Sin City and produced the film 300.

Curriculum Ties:

  • Political/government issues

Booktalking Ideas:

  • What countries have experienced governments similar to the Capitol?
  • Which side would you be on?

Challenging Issues:

  • Violence
  • Political satire
  • Cursing

Defensive Maneuvers:

  • I would be sure to study and memorize the library’s collection policy.
  • The Library Bill of Rights must also be brought to the challenger’s attention stating that the library is an information institution that provides both information and ideas.
  • Have both good and bad reviews (from respected sources) about the book at hand.
  • Remember to mention the awards and honors that the item has received.
  • Be sure to listen to the person who is challenging the book and do not interrupt them while they are speaking. Try to understand where the patron is coming from when he or she states their concerns about the material.
  • When you respond to the challenger, have a calm and respectable tone informing them that the library must do all that it can to provide intellectual freedom to its patrons, young and old.


Why This Book? After I read this it changed my perception of what comic book stories could be. The book showed that super heroes are not just for kids but could be used to tell a deep and mature story.


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