Everything Wrong With: “The Dark Knight Returns” Pt. 2

Hello interweb, Nate here!  If you read through Everything Wrong With: “The Dark Knight Returns” Pt. 1 then you already know the deal!  If not…well then go read part 1!  Otherwise, let’s jump right in!

Disclaimer: I do not claim to own Batman or this comic.  Batman is owned by DC comics, this comic is written and drawn by Frank Miller.


Everything Wrong With “The Dark Knight Triumphant”

  • Ok, this cover is just awful.  I really dislike Miller’s art style for this cover and while a beaten up Batman still fighting would be an interesting cover, I just feel like another artist would’ve drawn this a lot better. +1

Ch. 2 Pg. 1

  • “The problem with crime is the more you know, the more nervous is makes you” So…”ignorance is bliss” basically?  This goes for a lot of things.  The more you know about where your food comes from, the less you want to eat it.  The more you know about the horrible things people do, the more you hate the human race.  I could go on. +1
  • “…Run my eyes over the rigid features of the hunk of metal that used to be a friendly merchant” Wait, what?  The merchant is now a chunk of metal?  Or did you mean the store itself is now just a chunk of metal?  I’m confused… +1
  • “A young boy dashes past me, dirty, and beautiful.  You don’t want to know what he makes me think of.” If it’s anything sexual in nature then I’m pretty sure you’re correct. +1

Pg. 2 Panels 4-9

  • Aw c’mon!  Are we seriously still doing this news exposition? +2
  • Gotham City has a “Council of Mothers”? +1

Pg. 3 Panels 1-5

  • “Misreading important info for fake-out shock” cliche +1

Pg. 3 Panels 9-11

Pg. 4 Panels 1-4

  • An untrained teenager survives this without a need to visit the ER +1

Pg. 4 Panels 5-16

  • More news +1
  • “You just shot a boy.  How does that feel?” This reporter is a dick.  Must work for CNN! +1
  • Also, they’re using the same four frames and dialogue from the first chapter! Now that’s just lazy. +1
  • And I’m just now noticing this, but the Mutants’ leader’s visor looks like Cyclops’s from the X-Men.  And the other mutants also wear visors similar to Cyclops’s.  I made the X-Men reference in the last chapter but I actually didn’t think there was any connection but I’m suddenly not so sure. +1

Pg. 5 Panels 4-10

  • I hate how these guys talk +1
  • How is he shooting that large of a gun with one hand?  Guns are heavy and when they shoot they have recoil.  I don’t think this guy is strong enough to shoot a gun that big steady in one hand. +1

Pg. 6

  • “It’s just a god damn bat” You sure it ain’t the god damn Batman? +1
  • I’m pretty sure “Spot” was hit in the wrist with a Batarang (hence the “thunk” as he drops the gun) but with the actual bat flying around in the room it’s difficult to tell.  Especially since there’s no blood with the Batarang stuck in his arm.  What is up with this dark and gritty comic not making arms bleed when they have a freaking Batarang stuck in them? +1
  • What exactly was the point on wasting your ammo trying to kill a bat?  Especially when it kills your teammate instead! +1

Pg. 7 Panels 5-9

Pg. 8 Panels 1-6

  • Batman straight up kills someone.  Granted, he was saving a baby’s life, but freakin Batman could’ve done this without killing anyone!  In Batman: Assault on Arkham, he saved a woman hostage by hitting the villain in a head with a brick behind him using a grappling hook.  He has saved people from these situations before without the use of murder.  +3
  • Also, how did he manage to aim that giant gun and shoot the mutant without killing the baby? +1
  • Also, more news! And this goes on for an entire 2 pages with nothing really interesting to say so I’ll double the sins here. +2
  • One last thing, is it just me or does Batman look like if the Punisher became Black Panther in that one panel? +1

Pg. 9 Panels 5-7

  • Again, untrained teenager should’ve died here +1

Pg. 10 Panels 3-14

Pg. 11 Panel 1

  • Hahahahahaha! -2

Pg. 11 Panel 3-5

  • So our newest Robin fights crime by…pulling pranks on guys trying to con people?  Okay… +1
  • And if that’s dynamite then that could’ve should’ve caused major damage.  +1
  • This is followed by a scene where a woman is killed by some mutants.  I decided against posting the screenshot as I’m lazy and the only purpose the scene had was to show that the mutants are still causing trouble.  No really, that was the only point to that scene. +1

Pg. 13

  • A very out of nowhere image of Batman carrying a dead general in the U.S. flag. +1

Pg. 13 Panels 1-3

  • Again with this quota?  Why does a gang have a quota?  +1

Pg. 14 Panels 6-13

  • More freakin News! +1
  • Wow, Gordan, that was surprisingly sexist of you!  Hell, your daughter is Batgirl!  I’m not sure if you ever learned about her or not since no reference to Barbra is made in this graphic novel (as far as I could tell), but still! +2

Pg. 15

  • They’re gonna kill the men then rape their women?  Jeez, why is this comic so misogynistic all of the sudden?  I mean, this is Frank Miller but wasn’t it after this comic that he went down the loony bin? +1
  • “I listen for as long as I can stomach it…” Least Batman finds this speech as disgusting as I do -1

Pg. 16 Panel 1

  • Holy f***ing sh*t!  How the hell did he hide that thing from them?! +1
  • Alternatively, holy f***ing sh*t!  That’s awesome! –2

Pg. 18 Panel 1-8

  • Those are rubber bullets?  Huh, nice touch! Kind of late to go back to the whole no-killing rule, but at least he’s deliberately avoiding killing people! -1
  • Also that bit with Carrie Kelley’s parents.  Lol! -1

Pg. 19

  • I like how he’s thinking of Dick this entire time.  Really showed the bond they had. -1
  • “A kind of evil we never dreamed of” Oh c’mon!  This guy isn’t any more evil then the Joker! +1
  • “Though that means crossing a line I drew for myself, thirty years ago…” Pretty sure you already crossed that line, pal! I mean, this is a great line to represent Batman’s principals but it’s kinda moot when he has already killed someone in this very comic.  What’s with the inconsistencies?  Is this a crazy future Batman that ditched his “no-killing” rule, or does he still hold onto those moral values?  I mean, I’d prefer the later but regardless you need to stay consistent! +3

Pg. 20

  • Pretty sure this is meant to be seen as badass but honestly this image just looks goofy to me. +1

Pg. 24

  • This is a really intense fight and it does a great job at showing how his age is effected his strength -3
  • Plus his plead for Dick to come save him is another great homage to their relationship -1
  • And the reference to the comic where Two-Face beats him up is another great homage -1

Pg. 25 Panels 1-6

  • Carrie Kelley really didn’t do anything besides distract the Mutant leader while Batman knocked him out (least I assume that’s what he did). +1
  • “…Dick…” “Hey, man!  I saved your life!  Ya don’t have to be rude!” +1
  • This is followed by more news and I’m not even going to bother posting the screenshot! +1

Pg. 26 Panels 2-9

  • Instead of actually seeing Superman talking to the president, we get a closeup of the American flag and Superman’s chest +1
  • Also, Frank Miller has turned Superman into a “Yes man”.  Blindly taking orders from the president without question.  Superman does stand for this country and respects the American government, but he usually doesn’t just let them push him around like a faceless soldier +1

Pg. 27 Panels 4-12

  • A teenaged girl managed to drag a fully grown man to the Batmobile +1
  • This is a touching scene though -1

Pg. 30 Panels 9-15

  • News +1
  • I do like how the new Robin is awe-inspired by the previous Robin’s shrine -2
  • Still, there should be two costumes for both Jason and Dick +1
  • This is followed by two pages of pointlessness that contributes nothing to the story so two sins for each page +2

Pg. 33 Panels 3-131

  • “…The mayor is dead” Well no sh*t!  What did ya think was gonna happen? +1
  • News +1

Pg. 34

  • This is a very touching image -3

Pg. 35 Panel 9-14

  • This is a great homage to Jason’s death. -1
  • But he honored you?  Uh, no.  The reason Jason died in the first place is he kept ignoring orders and fought to violently.  Maybe all these years of feeling like his death was your fault have warped his image in your mind, but Jason really disobeyed too much to “honor” you +1

Pg. 36 Panels 5-10

  • So did weeks just fly by between Panels 6 and 7?  We could’ve gotten at least a one-page montage of Bruce training her or something. +1
  • But I do like how he makes sure that Carrie knows that if she disobeys him, even once, she’s done.  It shows that he has learned his lesson from Jason’s death and refuses to let it happen again.  -3

Pg. 37 Panels 4-13

  • I can’t stand how these mutants talk +1

Pg. 39 Panel 2-7

  • Ok, so the idea here is that Batman knows they can’t hold all of the mutants for some reason.  So Batman’s plan here is to humiliate their leaders in hopes that the entire gang disbands.  Is that how most gangs work?  I mean, I know very little about them, but I’d think they would just get a new leader or something, wouldn’t they? +1

Pg. 42

Pg. 43

Pg. 44 Panels 1-2

  • While I enjoyed the scene in the first chapter where he was taking out the mutants in the abandoned building, this was actually a really well thought out fight.  Batman fought the mutant leader once, lost, prepared a new plan, and won!  Very Batman! -2
  • “You don’t…get it, boy…This isn’t a mudhole…it’s an operating table…And I’m the surgeon” Awesome! -1
  • And more news +1
  • Did the mutants become the Sons of Batman or is this an entirely separate gang? +1

Pg. 45

  • I like Commissioner Gordan’s belief in Batman is honorable -1


Final Verdict

Sins: 57

Subtractions: 27

Total: 30

Punishment: Operating table (I’m the surgeon!)


Quick Review

I actually did like the first issue better because of how Batman the action was.  The actions in this chapter is fine but I prefer Batman being more ninja-like and using his gadgets a bit more.  This chapter mostly just showed a lot of fist fights so it wasn’t as interesting to watch.  Although I did like how Batman reassessed the situation after the first mutant fight so he can plan for the next one.  The scenes with Carrie Kelley was also very sweet and I do like Carrie as a character.  Not as much as Stephanie Brown, but she is cute.  I just wish the damn news would shut up!


Response the a Reader’s Comment

So a reader commented on my previous article so I felt like I should respond to some of their criticisms.  You can read the comment in full above, but I do want to point out a few things.  First off, just because a comic is good doesn’t mean that it is above criticism.  My SuperheroSins is largely inspired by the YouTube channel CinemaSins, and you’ll notice that they respond to both really good and really bad movies.  They’ve even done CinemaSins for movies like Deadpool, The Dark Knight Rises, and Logan.  If you don’t enjoy petty criticisms of your favorite comic books then that’s fine don’t read my articles, but the reason I point out all the cliches and nitpick these things is because it’s fun to judge classic books by modern standards.  The Sin totals I give these books (37 in the last chapter, 3o in this one) doesn’t necessarily reflect how much I enjoy reading it.  In fact one of the hardest things about making these (for me personally) is judging what should be considered a sin, what should be considered a subtraction, and how harshly/generously should I judge them.  Sometimes I really debate if I’ve judged a certain sin to harshly or if it’s accurate.  If you think I judges something inaccurately, feel free to let me know but do be aware that I am judging these books by modern standards.

Side note: I am not planning on doing Watchman.  That book is far too large for one of these.


End Poll

Which inspires todays end poll!  I am curious, what are your thoughts on the rating system I use?  Do I judge too harshly?  Do I forgive to generously?  Or do you agree with my rating system?  Please let me know, I love getting feedback and improving.


  1. That’s the trouble…Frank Miller was already long gone by the time this comic started. I’m in the minority on this, but I never considered him to be a good writer. His stories all feel rather odd and misplaced to me. Everyone’s out of character and the issues are extra gritty. There are definitely cool moments in here of course, but between the writing and the art (I’m not a fan) it makes the comic a little hard to read.

    1. I can’t stand the art, but the story itself is decently written imo. Some moments I just find too hateful (like the unnecessarily sexist moments) and is just done to make the comic feel edgy. One moment I didn’t include here was a guy shooting up a porn theater and it added zero to the story and I just didn’t see any reason to ass it beyond being superficially mature. But the action is well written and it does a decent job at honoring Batman’s history up to thap point with it’s references to Dick and Jason.

      I’m pretty sure Miller wrote Daredevil before DKR and I never read his run on that character but it’s supposibly one of the best runs out there.

      1. See, I just count all of those sexist and hateful moments as part of the writing and boy do they add up. Miller loves to make his comics real gritty and I feel like it comes at the expense of the writing since he has to force it in. Likewise with the exposition since he can’t find an organic way to include it.

        Well, I haven’t read the Daredevil run so I can’t comment on that one. Perhaps he actually did a good job that time.

  2. Look where the bullet hole is–it’s not where the mutant was, it’s the space between his head and shoulder where he was holding the handgun. Batman shoots the gun out of his hand, and either the force of the shot knocks him back, or he pulls the trigger a half-second too late, when the bullet has knocked the gun back so it’s pointing at his own head instead of the kid’s.

    In a series of blog entries that either willfully misinterpret the text or are too confused to follow basic visual storytelling, this one takes the cake. Because I am charitable, and notice that you edited out the panel that establishes that the mutant’s handgun is right in the space Batman fires the bullet, I’ll assume it’s the former. I guess if you want to nitpick one of the better superhero comic stories out there, occasionally you have to fabricate some stuff so it feels like less of a waste of time.

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