Everything Wrong With: “The Dark Knight Returns” Pt. 3

Hello interweb, Nate here!  Finally, here’s part 3 to my Everything Wrong With: “The Dark Knight Returns” series!  One more to go after this one!  Hopefully it won’t take as long to get out there for you guys lol.  Sorry about the wait, by the way!

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: “Hunt the Dark Knight”

  • While this cover isn’t quite as bad as the last one, it’s a really boring cover.  Maybe for a comic titled “Hunt the Dark Knight” you could’ve drawn police lights on Batman with him holding his cape in front of his face?  That would’ve been visually more interesting! +1

Ch. 3 Pg. 1 Panels 5-8

  • Whoah, Frank Miller took the term “feminazi” way too seriously +1
  • So wait, does all the mutants work for her now?  Or did some of the mutants become part of that Batman gang thing?  Or are they now spread over different leagues?  I’m so confused. +1

Pg. 2

  • How exactly does that mask work so that they think he’s an old lady and not somebody wearing a mask? +1
  • Smashing that wine bottle into his head should’ve caused some bleeding +1
  • And yet again, Batarangs stuck in people’s arms with no signs of blood!  Such an odd choice, no blood in a dark and gritty comic! +1
  • “Pull that trigger and I’ll be back for you” Why?  Because you’re back to your “no-killing” rule or because you want to kill him yourself?  Seriously, this inconsistency is annoying! +1

Pg. 3

  • More news!  More freakin news!  Ugh, you know what!  I’m tired of this.  Ten sins for the whole chapter and I’ll only sin the news again if there’s something worth pointing out. +10
  • “I repeat.  Do not let Bruno see you.  This is an order.” So are you telling me Bruno didn’t just see her in that last panel?  +1

Pg. 4 Panels 5-11

  • Why does Lola have to be careful about making a Superman reference?  +1
  • Wait…does Bruno have swastikas on her freakin butt cheeks?!?!?  I mean…but I…um…whyyyyyyyy????? Does Miller have some kind of feminazi fetish or something? +3

Pg. 5 Panels 1-4

  • I seriously don’t get Batman’s death fixation in this comic.  Is it because he’s old?  Do old people constantly think about their death? +1
  • How exactly did she miss?  The bullet clearly hit that shadow that is suppose to be Batman +1

Pg. 6 Panels 1-9

  • “Yes I am religious, but I’ve got the decency to keep it in church.” I mean, I’m not religious but I wouldn’t blame someone for praying when they think they’re about to die! +1
  • Aren’t you a news reporter?  Why would you get in trouble for talking about a celebrity like Superman? +1
  • I still can’t get over Bruno’s ridiculous design.+1

Pg. 7

  • Why is Superman showing up a bad thing?  He just took out Bruno in seconds and saved your life! +1
  • Although, did Superman kill her?  Moving that fast, he could’ve easily accidentally snapped her neck! Guess Man of Steel wasn’t the first time Superman did that. Huh. +1
  • Instead of facing Batman to talk, Superman ominously zips around so nobody can see him +1

Pg. 8 Panels 1-2

  • I love Robin’s expression here -1
  • “Something leaps a tall building with a single bound” Two things.  First, why are we trying to hide the fact that this is Superman when everybody knows this is obviously Superman? +1
  • Second, I realize this is a call back to the early days when Superman was “Faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound”, but he’s straight up flying here, not leaping tall buildings. +1

Pg. 9

  • Most of these full-page spreads are really cool, not gonna lie -1

Pg. 10 Panels 1-2

Panels 7-10

  • On one hand, I feel like if you tell someone they’re fired if they disobey and then give them a pass once they disobey than you’re threat doesn’t mean as much.  On the other hand, Robin didn’t deliberately disobey him when Bruno saw her.  And yet, on the third hand, if you’re doing life-risking tasks then even unintentional rule-breaking should be considered serious since you’re depending on your partner to do as you command. +1

Pg. 11

Pg. 12 Panels 1-4

  • Ok, I forgave the last one kind of because I don’t believe Robin deliberately disobeyed Batman’s orders.  However, Batman clearly said no and she went in anyways.  So she should definitely be fired. +1
  • “I’ll send Robin home.” So wait, is she fired?  Huh, alright.  Minus one sin but that sin will be back and tripled if she appears in this comic again!  Mark my words! -1

Panels 9-12

  • Okay, having the news spew exposition every chapter is lazy enough but now you’re just gonna copy and paste the same image four times?  +1
  • Why would a talk show host want the Joker on his show?  I mean, sure it’ll get a lot of views and ratings, but do you really wanna risk having a homicidal clown on your show? +1

Pg. 13

  • “Superhero introduced by striking a dramatic pose” cliche +1
  • “There’s just the sun and the sky and him, like he’s the only reason it’s all here.  Then he ruins everything by talking.” That sounded oddly romantic.  +1
  • That image of Bruce hugging Krypto (At least, I assume it’s Krypto) is adorable though. -1
  • “I know, I know, you look better than you have in years.  But… You’re going to make me come right out and say it, aren’t you?” “I’m gay for you, Bruce!” What?  That whole set up was just asking for a gay joke!  The only thing that would make this any better is if Clark was grinning like a love-struck idiot in that last panel. +1

Pg. 14

  • Random hawk carrying a dead mouse in the background.  Or, is that suppose to be a poorly drawn eagle?  An eagle would make more sense but it looks like a hawk +1
  • Also, does that bird have two left wings? +1
  • “It’s like this, Bruce — sooner or later, somebody’s going to order me to bring you in.  Somebody with authority” Ok, and?  I mean, if Superman had a problem with Batman himself and went to tell Bruce to stop before Superman made him stop, that would’ve been more interesting.  But as it is, Superman is just the president’s b**** who does whatever he’s told.  +2
  • Superman mysteriously disappears instead of dramatically flying away +1
  • “Sure as shootin'” +1
  • Minus a sin for each frame of Bruce and Alfred being typical Bruce and Alfred -4

Pg. 15

  • Ok, so Clark continued as Superman but now works for the government, and Bruce retired for a while before reemerging as Batman.  This has been established earlier.  But now we know that Diana retired as Wonder Woman to live on Themyscira and Hal continued as Green Lantern but now operates in space.  This is actually a nice way of letting us know where everyone’s been! -2
  • But what happened to Martian Manhunter?  And Aquaman?  And Flash?  Were they so unimportant that Superman never kept track to where they went? +3

Pg. 16 Panels 5-12

  • So she isn’t fired?  Seriously?  What’s up with all the inconsistencies in this comic!  “I kill people!  Oh wait, no I don’t!”  “If you disobey, you’re fired!  Wait, never mind!”  Plus three sins as promised earlier! +3
  • “You’ll see how harmless my patient is” You’re an idiot! +1

Pg. 17

  • “Just be yourself” I hope you die in this chapter +1
  • “…People zhould haf zex und zex und zex — all ze time, David…” This woman’s accent +1

Pg. 18 Panels 3-6

  • Epic shot, good use of his cape, and a nod to his old age having an effect on his physical performance. -2
  • Nobody can fly.” You live in the DC universe!  Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lanterns, Blue Beetle, Static Shock, Martian Manhunter, and more are established and well known heroes who have demonstrated the ability of flight!  If she would’ve said something along the lines of “Batman can’t fly!” then that would make a bit more sense since there may not be any documented cases demonstrating Batman flying since he can’t.  But nobody can fly?  This is as dumb as Spider-man not believing in alternate universes!  (Side note: why does every bad comic reminds me of Spider-man: One More Day?). +3

Pg. 19

  • This is actually a really cool action scene here -1

Pg. 20 Panels 1-2

  • Nice way of making Joker look intimidating.  Having the announcers comment on how crazy he is and having Joker observe the crowd’s nervous faces.  It’s a great way to tell the audience that this character’s dangerous and the audience knows it, even if they’re being told he’s reformed. -2

Pg. 6-8

  • Ok, strike three!  You are so outta here! +1

Pg. 21 Panels 1-3

Panels 5-8

Pg. 22 Panel 6-9

  • “You’re said to have only killed 600 people, Joker” Ah yes, only 600 people.  Such a low body count.  Most people kill at least, what, 800?  900?  I met someone who reached a couple thousand once!  His name was something along the lines of “Adolf Hitler” or something like that.  Nice guy.  +1
  • “I’m going to kill everyone in this room” I like how nonchalant he said that -1
  • Wait, Batman is Batman because of sexual repression?!?!  What?! +1
  • “Zex und zex… …und zex und zex…” I think Miller was going through something while writing this chapter.  Jesus… +1
  • Also, Joker sexually assaults this woman and instead of trying to stop him the host makes a joke +1

Pg. 23 Panels 1-4

Panels 9-10

Pg. 24 Panel 1-8

  • Remember how the reason Robin can’t obey even once was because Batman didn’t want a repeat of Jason Todd’s death? +1
  • Buuut, she did save his life… okay, I’m giving this a free pass -2
  • “So many smiles — so many faces — all the same…” Love it -2

Pg. 25

  • Awesome! -1
  • Bonus points for the nostalgic costume! -1

Pg. 26 Panel 5-15

  • 206 were killed that night alone?  How did Joker only kill 600 people by the time he went on the David Endochrine show to begin with?  I mean, Joker probably has the highest body count of any character in comics and if he killed 200 people in this night alone than he definitely killed way more than 600 people during his life time! +1

Pg. 28 Panel 7-11

Pg. 29

  • Why is it that masks magically look like real human faces and not rubber in comics?  I mean, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief when masks can contort themselves in order to emote, but no mask is going to fool someone into thinking your someone else especially up close! +1

Pg. 31

  • How did Robin step on the cotton candy when she was standing still? +1
  • Are there really thousands of people at a county fair?  How the hell did Joker only kill 600 people? +1
  • “Origin story flashback” cliche +1
  • This is actually a great scene.  Joker traumatized someone Batman’s close to to draw him out -1
  • We now have dramatic tension since Joker’s planning on killing thousands at a fair -1
  • Robin’s friends will be there so there’s tension for her -1
  • And all those years of build-up with Joker killing so many people and Batman never ending it by killing him is paying off.  Usually in this comic, I’d get annoyed that Batman’s no-killing rule is so inconsistent here (which does somewhat weaken this moment), but if Batman finally decides to permanently end it it would not only be understandable but somewhat justified. -2
  • Although, I do think Batman should’ve told Robin to go home and have Robin disobey.  Especially since Joker killed Jason in Death in the Family +1

Pg. 32

Pg. 33 Panel 1-6

  • This is a very touching moment in preparation for whats to come -2

Pg. 34

  • Why would anyone buy cotton candy from a guy dressed as Joker?  If this was a circus, maybe I’d forgive it since they could just think he’s a performance clown.  But this is a carnival and he’s clearly Joker! +1
  • “…A tiny hand tightens it’s grip on my arm… …A girl of thirteen breathes in sharply, suddenly, her innocence lost… …It ends tonight, Joker” This is a very well-written moment -1
  • “Batman hasn’t killed anybody, Morrie” Actually… +1

Pg. 36

  • -1

Pg. 37

Pg. 38 Panel 1-5

  • This entire fight is exactly how a final face-off between Batman and the Joker should go down -3
  • I think this is the first time that a Batarang actually caused someone to bleed! -1
  • Ok, I know I said I wouldn’t sin the news anymore, but in such an intense battle with so much build-up why would you even think about putting the news in the middle of the fight?  That would be like if every five minutes, an intense action movie cut out of its action in order to show TV reports.  It’s distracting and doesn’t belong here! +3

Pg. 39 Panel 4-8

Pg. 40

  • This may be the best fight in this entire story, and it should be! -3
  • But that kid is a moron +1
  • But that one bit between Batman and the kid was cute -1

Pg. 41

  • Does this guy have the aim of a storm trooper to waste all his ammo by missing a kid? +1
  • A slingshot has gotta be the worst weapon to use here +1

Pg. 42

Pg. 43

  • Holy s*** that’s brutal! -1

Pg. 44

Pg. 45

  • So I haven’t made it a secret that I’m not a fan of this comic.  But this scene here, is one of the best scenes between Batman and Joker.  The build up was intense, the history behind these characters made the fight dramatic, and Joker’s death is brilliantly written.  -5


Final Verdict

Sins: 67

Subtractions: 45

Total: 22

Punishment: Death (See you in Hell!)


Quick Review

So I’m not a fan of The Dark Knight Returns, but this issue alone is an amazing issue.  Sure, Bruno is a weird character that really should never have been included.  But the positives outnumber the negatives.  The final fight between Joker and Batman has a lot of build up and an intense fight.  It was dark, it was gritty, it was bloody, and it was intense!  Legitimately, if someone told me that this was their favorite comic because of this issue than I would honestly be fine with it.  The first two issues are decent, but this one is awesome!

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