History Comicbook / BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns

27th May '16 6:53:31 AM chasemaddigan
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26th May '16 1:50:32 PM chasemaddigan
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[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Plot]]
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler:Batman fakes his death in the final chapter.]] It fools everyone...''almost''.
* FlatlinePlotline: Batman's ultimate plot in the fourth issue is to [[spoiler:remove himself from the public spotlight by faking his death.]] Being Batman, [[spoiler:he kills himself for a while using a special drug, using the fight with Superman both as a cover and as an excuse to work out his anger and frustration with Superman.]]
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: While Batman's return helps save Gotham from the CrapsackWorld it has become in his absence, it also causes the Joker to snap out of his 10 years of catatonia and gives him a motive to return to crime.
* OldSuperhero: One of the central themes of the overall plot is how age affects Batman in everything he does, from his tactics to combat to his overall state of mind.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Narrative]]



* TheAlcoholic: Dialogue from Gordon and Alfred at the start of the series suggests that Bruce is dangerously close to becoming one, if he's not there already.
* AnimeHair: [[CoincidentalBroadcast TV reporter]] Lola Wong and her improbably triangular hair. See FashionableAsymmetry.
* AntiHero:
** Batman is an UnscrupulousHero or PragmaticHero, being more ruthless than his original DC counterpart.
** The Sons Of Batman are more or less {{Nominal Hero}}es.
* AntiVillain: Franchise/{{Superman}} is a PunchClockVillain overlapping with HeroAntagonist in this miniseries. He only reluctantly fights against Batman under orders from the US government.



* AxCrazy:
** The Mutants, especially their leader, and The Sons of the Batman once The Mutants are no more.
** The Joker is depicted as having a love/hate fixation on Batman that he feeds with his indiscriminate killing.
---> '''Joker (inner dialogue)''': They could put me in a helicopter and fly me up into the air and line up the bodies head to toe on the ground in delightful geometric patterns like an endless June Taylor dancers routine -- and it would never be enough. No, I don't keep count. But you do. And I love you for it.



* BadassNormal: [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Do you need to ask?]]
* BadFuture: Batman is gone for ten years and ''everything'' goes to hell.
* BananaRepublic: Corto Maltese.



* {{Bifauxnen}}: Carrie. The police even mistake her for a boy.
** Yindel too, although she's a somewhat more butch example.



* BrassBalls[=/=]MeaningfulName: {{Subverted|Trope}} by Byron Brassballs. With that name, you'd think he'd be an exemplar of courage, but he's really a complete asshole who [[{{Pun}} brazenly]] justifies his sociopathically self-centered behavior and actions in his interviews.



* UsefulNotes/TheBronzeAgeOfComicBooks: This is generally seen as the comic that officially ended the era and brought about UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks. Alternately, it's seen as a key story that played a part in the development of UsefulNotes/TheIronAgeOfComicBooks.



* CivilianVillain: Happens twice, when the same psychiatrist [[WhatAnIdiot declares Two-Face legally sane and recommends the Joker make a talk show appearance as part of his rehabilitation]].



* CombatPragmatist:
** The Mutant leader puts his claw-like fingernails and filed teeth to good use in the first fight against Batman.
** Batman becomes one in his second fight with the Mutant leader, since brute force failed spectacularly the first time.



* CoolOldGuy: C'mon now. Batman, Alfred for being so up in the years, still serving ''and'' snarky, Jim Gordon, Green Arrow, Superman (despite being arguably on the wrong side), and even the Joker in a dark and nasty way.
* CrapsackWorld: Between the Mutants, the heat wave, and general decay, Gotham has become a rather nasty place to live.
* CrazyPrepared: You do know who this comic is about, right?



* UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks: Along with ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', TDKR is considered one of the co-creators of this era.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Robin kills. Batman mutilates. ComicBook/TheJoker's massacres are graphically portrayed. Creator/FrankMiller lays out his [[StrawmanPolitical grim feelings]] of [[{{Eagleland}} America]] for all to see.



* DeadpanSnarker: The Joker.



* DeathSeeker:
** Bruce has become one by the start of the story, and after he becomes Batman again, he frequently remarks on how certain things would be good or bad deaths as the story progresses.
** Batman suspects that [[spoiler:Harvey Dent]] has become one due to what's happened to him, and by the time his arc is complete, it's proven to be correct.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Batman's tactics spur debates on toughness on crime, while Superman's idealism makes him an ideal government cat's paw. The story also deconstructs many elements of Batman's mythos, particularly Batman's potential craziness, as well as showing what kind of [[CrapsackWorld world]] would make Batman not only possible, but necessary.



* DependingOnTheWriter: Happens to Batman and Superman a lot but Batman's X-Ray seeking missiles wouldn't be able to tell Superman from anyone else normally because Superman's X-Ray Vision doesn't actually emit X-Rays [[note]]not since the GoldenAge when they pulled double duty as his EyeBeam attack.[[/note]]
* DespairEventHorizon: Batman suspects that [[spoiler:Harvey Dent]] has been pushed across this. In their final confrontation, it's confirmed by his dialogue and emotional breakdown.
* {{Determinator}}: Bruce/Batman. Despite being [[spoiler: stabbed multiple times by the Joker and shot several times the Police and once by the Joker, Batman still manages to elude them by getting to the Bat-Copter.]]
* DistaffCounterpart: Carrie to Robin, and hanging on Bruce's every word she becomes more and more like him.



* TheEighties: A lot of the action and political commentary stems from real-world politics of the period, in particular [[spoiler:the U.S.-Soviet arms race]], which comes to a head in part four.
* ElectraComplex: 13 year old Carrie is utterly in love with Batman, in his fifties.



* EyesAlwaysShut: The reporter Lola Wong. Even when [[spoiler:Two-Face shoots a missile into the skyscraper where their studio is located]], she never opens her eyes.



* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler:Batman fakes his death in the final chapter.]] It fools everyone...''almost''.
* FashionableAsymmetry: The newscaster Lola Wong always wears asymmetrical earrings, plus [[AnimeHair she has a triangular hairstyle]] that is much higher on one side than the other.
* FatGirl: [[spoiler:'''Comicbook/LanaLang.''']] IWasQuiteALooker is averted, though, as her usual depiction is never addressed.
* FearlessFool: Gets some {{deconstruction}} in Harvey Dent, who at the climax of their confrontation leans so far out of his helicopter to try to shoot Batman that he falls from it, with Batman (not knowing for sure that it's actually Dent) noting that whoever it is has the same lack of sense of self-preservation that Dent had. The deconstruction comes from Dent being a DeathSeeker who may have done that on purpose.
* FeelingTheirAge: Batman is portrayed like this. He starts as a RetiredBadass, but soon returns to crime-fighting. Throughout the story Batman keeps on lamenting how slow he's become, culminating in the fight between him and the leader of a mutant gang, who is, as Batman himself states, "in his physical prime". [[spoiler: Batman loses, but only because he "tried to fight like a young man". Later he beats the mutant leader with some CombatPragmatist moves.]]
* FlatlinePlotline: Batman's ultimate plot in the fourth issue is to [[spoiler:remove himself from the public spotlight by faking his death.]] Being Batman, [[spoiler:he kills himself for a while using a special drug, using the fight with Superman both as a cover and as an excuse to work out his anger and frustration with Superman.]]



* FutureSlang: The Mutants are all over this one. "Balls nasty!", "spud" vs. "slicer-dicer", "chicken legs", and many others.
* GangOfHats: The Mutants and their various splinter groups.



* HandicappedBadass: At some point prior to the beginning of the comic, [[spoiler:Superman]] caused Green Arrow to lose his left arm, which he is still bitter about. It hampers him but doesn't make him any less effective of an archer.
-->I want a piece of him. Just a small piece will do...for old times' sake.



* HateSink[=/=]{{Jerkass}}: Everything Byron Brassballs says and does is custom-made to make you want him to get his ass kicked...and he only appears twice.



* HonorBeforeReason: Batman knows that it's best if [[spoiler:he just shoots the Mutant leader in the dump]], but he can't bring himself to cross that line... and it nearly gets him killed.
* HulkSpeak: The Mutant leader's dialogue.



* HumanWeapon: Franchise/{{Superman}} here is nothing but an icon who reports directly to the President, who gives him orders that include waging a one-man war in a BananaRepublic, [[spoiler:stopping the nuclear strike that follows (he fails)]], and [[spoiler:assassinating Batman]], all of which he does without question.



* ImAHumanitarian: One of the Mutant leader's {{Catchphrase}}s is his boasts that he will eat Batman's heart.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: The ComicBook/GreenArrow is better than you at archery even with one arm... in the dark... in the rain... ''hanging upside down''.



* TheInsomniac: The Joker's insomnia is addressed here.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Selina Kyle didn't age well. [[spoiler:The Joker]] notices.



* MadeOfIron: Subverted here.



* MonsterClown: It should be [[ComicBook/TheJoker obvious]] at this point. Selina notes this after [[spoiler:the Joker attacks her]].
-->'''Selina''': Bruce -- he's worse than ''ever''.



* NiceJobBreakingItHero: While Batman's return helps save Gotham from the CrapsackWorld it has become in his absence, it also causes the Joker to snap out of his 10 years of catatonia and gives him a motive to return to crime.



* OddlyNamedSequel2ElectricBoogaloo: This one is followed by a sequel called ''The Dark Knight Strikes Again''.



* OldSuperhero: One of the central themes of the overall plot is how age affects Batman in everything he does, from his tactics to combat to his overall state of mind.



* ParentalObliviousness: Carrie Kelley's parents, probably due to their drug abuse. Taken UpToEleven when they occasionally forget Carrie exists.
-->'''Parent #1''': [''visible only as a trickle of dope smoke''] ...Hey...didn't we have a kid?
* PersonOfMassDestruction: Superman is treated as the best deterrent against nuclear warfare.
* PluckyGirl: Carrie, who at the age of 13 gets herself a Robin costume and goes out to fight crime armed only with a slingshot and a few firecrackers, and who earns Batman's respect by attacking the ''goddamn Mutant Leader'' when he's just about to defeat Batman. She downplays the perky associations of this trope, tending to be more sarcastic than outright cheerful, but she's as spirited as hell and, apart from the occasional BSOD, she never gives up.



* ServileSnarker: Alfred has always been this, but in TDKR he takes it UpToEleven, as he is at first very unhappy with the way Bruce has let himself go in his retirement from the cowl, and is even more unhappy when he goes back to being Batman because it not only makes him seem like he's forgotten the lessons of the past, it means Alfred has to patch him up again when he's hurt.
* SettingUpdate: In the original stories the version of ''The Mark of Zorro'' that Bruce saw as a child was the 1920 version. Miller updated it to the 1940 version, putting Bruce's birth date in 1932 and making him a man in his mid-50s by the time of the story.



* ShoutOut:
** To an inept crook who was a running gag in Miller's ''ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}'' days:
---> '''Thug 1''': Can't be Batman. Turk say he killed Batman.\\
'''Thug 2''': Turk says lots.
*** Batman narrates, word-for-word that "I'm [[ComicBook/DaredevilBornAgain born again]]."
** Two-Face [[Film/AClockworkOrange was fixed, all right]].
** Corto Maltese is a shout out to [[Comicbook/CortoMaltese the famous Italian comic book by Hugo Pratt.]] Strangely, the name was used in the 1989 ''Film/{{Batman}}'' movie as an apparent ShoutOut to ''The Dark Knight Returns'' without recognizing that it was already a ShoutOut.
** There is also a reference to a porn star named "Hot Gates". In Greek, "Hot Gates" is translated "Thermopylae," the setting of [[Film/ThreeHundred another]] of Frank Miller's creations. However, since ''300'' wasn't released for another twelve years, the reference ''here'' is to both the literal translation of Thermopylae and William Golding's (now out of print) collection of essays 'The Hot Gates and other occasional places'.
** Batman's sarcastic internal monologue describing Superman quotes ''Film/MontyPythonsTheMeaningOfLife''.
** The scene with the pimp in the cab is basically right out of the Creator/ClintEastwood film ''Film/MagnumForce''.



* SociopathicHero:
** One interpretation of Batman in this story, especially in the later chapters. Creator/AlanMoore's introduction in one printing of the TPB specifically noted that one interpretation of Batman was "revenge-driven psychopath."
** A generous interpretation of the Sons of Batman. They may be fighting crime, but their methods are anything but heroic.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: It's officially Carrie Kell'''e'''y, not Kelly.



* SpotlightStealingTitle: ''The Dark Knight Returns'' was originally released as ''Batman: The Dark Knight'', with "The Dark Knight Returns" being the first issue's title.



* StockSubtitle: "Returns."
* TheStoner: Carrie's parents embody this to the point that all we ever see of them is the smoke from their joints.



* TheStrategist: Batman of course, especially in his fight against Superman.



* TakeThat: The Mutants can be seen as a TakeThat to "angsty", rebellious teen superheroes made popular by Creator/MarvelComics. Fittingly, they're named "The Mutants" (Creator/StanLee's working title for ''Comicbook/XMen''), they wear red shades that look a lot like [[Comicbook/XMen Cyclops']] visor, and they despise adult authority figures. They form a perfect contrast to Batman, who's the epitome of the "traditional" DC superhero--an adult hero who's driven and fearless, and has zero tolerance for crime.



* TechnicalPacifist: Batman will beat you, ''threaten'' to drop you off the ''tallest'' building in Gotham, and break every bone in your body... but he won't ''kill'' you.



* ThoseTwoBadGuys: Rob and Don.
* ThouShaltNotKill: Also behind Batman's dislike of guns.
** WordOfGod says that Batman didn't kill [[spoiler:the aforementioned Mutant who held the baby at gunpoint when he shot her with another Mutant's M-60, stating he shot her shoulder]]. The animated adaptation completely changes this sequence to remove the issue.
** Gruesomely played with when [[spoiler:Batman has the perfect chance to kill the Joker]] but still refuses to. [[spoiler:The Joker notices... and kills himself just to screw with Batman.]]
* TooDumbToLive: Dr. Wolper, and the entire studio audience/host for that matter. At one point, Joker even states that he's going to kill everyone in the room, but [[GenreBlindness Wolper dismisses it as a simple joke]].
* TotallyRadical: See FutureSlang, above.
** Played for laughs when Carrie reprograms the Bat-Copter to accept verbal commands from her. In ''slang''.
--->'''Batman:''' [''to Bat-Copter''] Boosters! [''nothing happens''] '''Boosters!''' [''nothing happens''] What in the--?\\
'''Carrie:''' Peel.\\
[''cue Boosters'']



* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture



* VitriolicBestBuds: Frank Miller's interpretation of Batman and Superman's relationship is that 'these two people do not like each other'.



[[/folder]]

[[folder:Setting]]
* BadFuture: Batman is gone for ten years and ''everything'' goes to hell.
* BananaRepublic: Corto Maltese.
* CrapsackWorld: Between the Mutants, the heat wave, and general decay, Gotham has become a rather nasty place to live.
* TheEighties: A lot of the action and political commentary stems from real-world politics of the period, in particular [[spoiler:the U.S.-Soviet arms race]], which comes to a head in part four.
* SettingUpdate: In the original stories the version of ''The Mark of Zorro'' that Bruce saw as a child was the 1920 version. Miller updated it to the 1940 version, putting Bruce's birth date in 1932 and making him a man in his mid-50s by the time of the story.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Characterization]]
* TheAlcoholic: Dialogue from Gordon and Alfred at the start of the series suggests that Bruce is dangerously close to becoming one, if he's not there already.
* AnimeHair: [[CoincidentalBroadcast TV reporter]] Lola Wong and her improbably triangular hair. See FashionableAsymmetry.
* AntiHero:
** Batman is an UnscrupulousHero or PragmaticHero, being more ruthless than his original DC counterpart.
** The Sons Of Batman are more or less {{Nominal Hero}}es.
* AntiVillain: Franchise/{{Superman}} is a PunchClockVillain overlapping with HeroAntagonist in this miniseries. He only reluctantly fights against Batman under orders from the US government.
* BrassBalls[=/=]MeaningfulName: {{Subverted|Trope}} by Byron Brassballs. With that name, you'd think he'd be an exemplar of courage, but he's really a complete asshole who [[{{Pun}} brazenly]] justifies his sociopathically self-centered behavior and actions in his interviews.
* AxCrazy:
** The Mutants, especially their leader, and The Sons of the Batman once The Mutants are no more.
** The Joker is depicted as having a love/hate fixation on Batman that he feeds with his indiscriminate killing.
---> '''Joker (inner dialogue)''': They could put me in a helicopter and fly me up into the air and line up the bodies head to toe on the ground in delightful geometric patterns like an endless June Taylor dancers routine -- and it would never be enough. No, I don't keep count. But you do. And I love you for it.
* BadassNormal: [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Do you need to ask?]]
* {{Bifauxnen}}: Carrie. The police even mistake her for a boy.
** Yindel too, although she's a somewhat more butch example.
* CivilianVillain: Happens twice, when the same psychiatrist [[WhatAnIdiot declares Two-Face legally sane and recommends the Joker make a talk show appearance as part of his rehabilitation]].
* CombatPragmatist:
** The Mutant leader puts his claw-like fingernails and filed teeth to good use in the first fight against Batman.
** Batman becomes one in his second fight with the Mutant leader, since brute force failed spectacularly the first time.
* CoolOldGuy: C'mon now. Batman, Alfred for being so up in the years, still serving ''and'' snarky, Jim Gordon, Green Arrow, Superman (despite being arguably on the wrong side), and even the Joker in a dark and nasty way.
* CrazyPrepared: You do know who this comic is about, right?
* DeadpanSnarker: The Joker.
* DeathSeeker:
** Bruce has become one by the start of the story, and after he becomes Batman again, he frequently remarks on how certain things would be good or bad deaths as the story progresses.
** Batman suspects that [[spoiler:Harvey Dent]] has become one due to what's happened to him, and by the time his arc is complete, it's proven to be correct.
* DespairEventHorizon: Batman suspects that [[spoiler:Harvey Dent]] has been pushed across this. In their final confrontation, it's confirmed by his dialogue and emotional breakdown.
* {{Determinator}}: Bruce/Batman. Despite being [[spoiler: stabbed multiple times by the Joker and shot several times the Police and once by the Joker, Batman still manages to elude them by getting to the Bat-Copter.]]
* DistaffCounterpart: Carrie to Robin, and hanging on Bruce's every word she becomes more and more like him.
* ElectraComplex: 13 year old Carrie is utterly in love with Batman, in his fifties.
* EyesAlwaysShut: The reporter Lola Wong. Even when [[spoiler:Two-Face shoots a missile into the skyscraper where their studio is located]], she never opens her eyes.
* FashionableAsymmetry: The newscaster Lola Wong always wears asymmetrical earrings, plus [[AnimeHair she has a triangular hairstyle]] that is much higher on one side than the other.
* FatGirl: [[spoiler:'''Comicbook/LanaLang.''']] IWasQuiteALooker is averted, though, as her usual depiction is never addressed.
* FearlessFool: Gets some {{deconstruction}} in Harvey Dent, who at the climax of their confrontation leans so far out of his helicopter to try to shoot Batman that he falls from it, with Batman (not knowing for sure that it's actually Dent) noting that whoever it is has the same lack of sense of self-preservation that Dent had. The deconstruction comes from Dent being a DeathSeeker who may have done that on purpose.
* FeelingTheirAge: Batman is portrayed like this. He starts as a RetiredBadass, but soon returns to crime-fighting. Throughout the story Batman keeps on lamenting how slow he's become, culminating in the fight between him and the leader of a mutant gang, who is, as Batman himself states, "in his physical prime". [[spoiler: Batman loses, but only because he "tried to fight like a young man". Later he beats the mutant leader with some CombatPragmatist moves.]]
* FutureSlang: The Mutants are all over this one. "Balls nasty!", "spud" vs. "slicer-dicer", "chicken legs", and many others.
* GangOfHats: The Mutants and their various splinter groups.
* HandicappedBadass: At some point prior to the beginning of the comic, [[spoiler:Superman]] caused Green Arrow to lose his left arm, which he is still bitter about. It hampers him but doesn't make him any less effective of an archer.
-->I want a piece of him. Just a small piece will do...for old times' sake.
* HateSink[=/=]{{Jerkass}}: Everything Byron Brassballs says and does is custom-made to make you want him to get his ass kicked...and he only appears twice.
* HonorBeforeReason: Batman knows that it's best if [[spoiler:he just shoots the Mutant leader in the dump]], but he can't bring himself to cross that line... and it nearly gets him killed.
* HulkSpeak: The Mutant leader's dialogue.
* HumanWeapon: Franchise/{{Superman}} here is nothing but an icon who reports directly to the President, who gives him orders that include waging a one-man war in a BananaRepublic, [[spoiler:stopping the nuclear strike that follows (he fails)]], and [[spoiler:assassinating Batman]], all of which he does without question.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: The ComicBook/GreenArrow is better than you at archery even with one arm... in the dark... in the rain... ''hanging upside down''.
* ImAHumanitarian: One of the Mutant leader's {{Catchphrase}}s is his boasts that he will eat Batman's heart.
* TheInsomniac: The Joker's insomnia is addressed here.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Selina Kyle didn't age well. [[spoiler:The Joker]] notices.
* MadeOfIron: Subverted here.
* MonsterClown: It should be [[ComicBook/TheJoker obvious]] at this point. Selina notes this after [[spoiler:the Joker attacks her]].
-->'''Selina''': Bruce -- he's worse than ''ever''.
* ParentalObliviousness: Carrie Kelley's parents, probably due to their drug abuse. Taken UpToEleven when they occasionally forget Carrie exists.
-->'''Parent #1''': [''visible only as a trickle of dope smoke''] ...Hey...didn't we have a kid?
* PersonOfMassDestruction: Superman is treated as the best deterrent against nuclear warfare.
* PluckyGirl: Carrie, who at the age of 13 gets herself a Robin costume and goes out to fight crime armed only with a slingshot and a few firecrackers, and who earns Batman's respect by attacking the ''goddamn Mutant Leader'' when he's just about to defeat Batman. She downplays the perky associations of this trope, tending to be more sarcastic than outright cheerful, but she's as spirited as hell and, apart from the occasional BSOD, she never gives up.
* ServileSnarker: Alfred has always been this, but in TDKR he takes it UpToEleven, as he is at first very unhappy with the way Bruce has let himself go in his retirement from the cowl, and is even more unhappy when he goes back to being Batman because it not only makes him seem like he's forgotten the lessons of the past, it means Alfred has to patch him up again when he's hurt.
* SociopathicHero:
** One interpretation of Batman in this story, especially in the later chapters. Creator/AlanMoore's introduction in one printing of the TPB specifically noted that one interpretation of Batman was "revenge-driven psychopath."
** A generous interpretation of the Sons of Batman. They may be fighting crime, but their methods are anything but heroic.
* TheStoner: Carrie's parents embody this to the point that all we ever see of them is the smoke from their joints.
* TheStrategist: Batman of course, especially in his fight against Superman.
* TechnicalPacifist: Batman will beat you, ''threaten'' to drop you off the ''tallest'' building in Gotham, and break every bone in your body... but he won't ''kill'' you.
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: Rob and Don.
* ThouShaltNotKill: Also behind Batman's dislike of guns.
** WordOfGod says that Batman didn't kill [[spoiler:the aforementioned Mutant who held the baby at gunpoint when he shot her with another Mutant's M-60, stating he shot her shoulder]]. The animated adaptation completely changes this sequence to remove the issue.
** Gruesomely played with when [[spoiler:Batman has the perfect chance to kill the Joker]] but still refuses to. [[spoiler:The Joker notices... and kills himself just to screw with Batman.]]
* TooDumbToLive: Dr. Wolper, and the entire studio audience/host for that matter. At one point, Joker even states that he's going to kill everyone in the room, but [[GenreBlindness Wolper dismisses it as a simple joke]].
* TotallyRadical: See FutureSlang, above.
** Played for laughs when Carrie reprograms the Bat-Copter to accept verbal commands from her. In ''slang''.
--->'''Batman:''' [''to Bat-Copter''] Boosters! [''nothing happens''] '''Boosters!''' [''nothing happens''] What in the--?\\
'''Carrie:''' Peel.\\
[''cue Boosters'']
* VitriolicBestBuds: Frank Miller's interpretation of Batman and Superman's relationship is that 'these two people do not like each other'.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Meta]]
* UsefulNotes/TheBronzeAgeOfComicBooks: This is generally seen as the comic that officially ended the era and brought about UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks. Alternately, it's seen as a key story that played a part in the development of UsefulNotes/TheIronAgeOfComicBooks.



* UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks: Along with ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', TDKR is considered one of the co-creators of this era.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Robin kills. Batman mutilates. ComicBook/TheJoker's massacres are graphically portrayed. Creator/FrankMiller lays out his [[StrawmanPolitical grim feelings]] of [[{{Eagleland}} America]] for all to see.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Batman's tactics spur debates on toughness on crime, while Superman's idealism makes him an ideal government cat's paw. The story also deconstructs many elements of Batman's mythos, particularly Batman's potential craziness, as well as showing what kind of [[CrapsackWorld world]] would make Batman not only possible, but necessary.
* DependingOnTheWriter: Happens to Batman and Superman a lot but Batman's X-Ray seeking missiles wouldn't be able to tell Superman from anyone else normally because Superman's X-Ray Vision doesn't actually emit X-Rays [[note]]not since the GoldenAge when they pulled double duty as his EyeBeam attack.[[/note]]
* FollowTheLeader: This miniseries singlehandedly ushered in the new age of Cranky Batman.
* OddlyNamedSequel2ElectricBoogaloo: This one is followed by a sequel called ''The Dark Knight Strikes Again''.
* PrivateEyeMonologue: Miller's unique take on this permeates the entire work. The reader is constantly privy to Bruce/Batman's thoughts as disembodied word boxes rather than actual thought bubbles, and several other characters also get the treatment, especially Gordon, Joker, and Superman.
* ShoutOut:
** To an inept crook who was a running gag in Miller's ''ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}'' days:
---> '''Thug 1''': Can't be Batman. Turk say he killed Batman.\\
'''Thug 2''': Turk says lots.
*** Batman narrates, word-for-word that "I'm [[ComicBook/DaredevilBornAgain born again]]."
** Two-Face [[Film/AClockworkOrange was fixed, all right]].
** Corto Maltese is a shout out to [[Comicbook/CortoMaltese the famous Italian comic book by Hugo Pratt.]] Strangely, the name was used in the 1989 ''Film/{{Batman}}'' movie as an apparent ShoutOut to ''The Dark Knight Returns'' without recognizing that it was already a ShoutOut.
** There is also a reference to a porn star named "Hot Gates". In Greek, "Hot Gates" is translated "Thermopylae," the setting of [[Film/ThreeHundred another]] of Frank Miller's creations. However, since ''300'' wasn't released for another twelve years, the reference ''here'' is to both the literal translation of Thermopylae and William Golding's (now out of print) collection of essays 'The Hot Gates and other occasional places'.
** Batman's sarcastic internal monologue describing Superman quotes ''Film/MontyPythonsTheMeaningOfLife''.
** The scene with the pimp in the cab is basically right out of the Creator/ClintEastwood film ''Film/MagnumForce''.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: It's officially Carrie Kell'''e'''y, not Kelly.
* StockSubtitle: "Returns."
* SpotlightStealingTitle: ''The Dark Knight Returns'' was originally released as ''Batman: The Dark Knight'', with "The Dark Knight Returns" being the first issue's title.
* TakeThat: The Mutants can be seen as a TakeThat to "angsty", rebellious teen superheroes made popular by Creator/MarvelComics. Fittingly, they're named "The Mutants" (Creator/StanLee's working title for ''Comicbook/XMen''), they wear red shades that look a lot like [[Comicbook/XMen Cyclops']] visor, and they despise adult authority figures. They form a perfect contrast to Batman, who's the epitome of the "traditional" DC superhero--an adult hero who's driven and fearless, and has zero tolerance for crime.
[[/folder]]

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* UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks: Along with ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', TDKR is considered one of the co-creators of this era.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Robin kills. Batman mutilates. ComicBook/TheJoker's massacres are graphically portrayed. Creator/FrankMiller lays out his [[StrawmanPolitical grim feelings]] of [[{{Eagleland}} America]] for all to see.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Batman's tactics spur debates on toughness on crime, while Superman's idealism makes him an ideal government cat's paw. The story also deconstructs many elements of Batman's mythos, particularly Batman's potential craziness, as well as showing what kind of [[CrapsackWorld world]] would make Batman not only possible, but necessary.
* DependingOnTheWriter: Happens to Batman and Superman a lot but Batman's X-Ray seeking missiles wouldn't be able to tell Superman from anyone else normally because Superman's X-Ray Vision doesn't actually emit X-Rays [[note]]not since the GoldenAge when they pulled double duty as his EyeBeam attack.[[/note]]
* FollowTheLeader: This miniseries singlehandedly ushered in the new age of Cranky Batman.
* OddlyNamedSequel2ElectricBoogaloo: This one is followed by a sequel called ''The Dark Knight Strikes Again''.
* PrivateEyeMonologue: Miller's unique take on this permeates the entire work. The reader is constantly privy to Bruce/Batman's thoughts as disembodied word boxes rather than actual thought bubbles, and several other characters also get the treatment, especially Gordon, Joker, and Superman.
* ShoutOut:
** To an inept crook who was a running gag in Miller's ''ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}'' days:
---> '''Thug 1''': Can't be Batman. Turk say he killed Batman.\\
'''Thug 2''': Turk says lots.
*** Batman narrates, word-for-word that "I'm [[ComicBook/DaredevilBornAgain born again]]."
** Two-Face [[Film/AClockworkOrange was fixed, all right]].
** Corto Maltese is a shout out to [[Comicbook/CortoMaltese the famous Italian comic book by Hugo Pratt.]] Strangely, the name was used in the 1989 ''Film/{{Batman}}'' movie as an apparent ShoutOut to ''The Dark Knight Returns'' without recognizing that it was already a ShoutOut.
** There is also a reference to a porn star named "Hot Gates". In Greek, "Hot Gates" is translated "Thermopylae," the setting of [[Film/ThreeHundred another]] of Frank Miller's creations. However, since ''300'' wasn't released for another twelve years, the reference ''here'' is to both the literal translation of Thermopylae and William Golding's (now out of print) collection of essays 'The Hot Gates and other occasional places'.
** Batman's sarcastic internal monologue describing Superman quotes ''Film/MontyPythonsTheMeaningOfLife''.
** The scene with the pimp in the cab is basically right out of the Creator/ClintEastwood film ''Film/MagnumForce''.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: It's officially Carrie Kell'''e'''y, not Kelly.
* StockSubtitle: "Returns."
* SpotlightStealingTitle: ''The Dark Knight Returns'' was originally released as ''Batman: The Dark Knight'', with "The Dark Knight Returns" being the first issue's title.
* TakeThat: The Mutants can be seen as a TakeThat to "angsty", rebellious teen superheroes made popular by Creator/MarvelComics. Fittingly, they're named "The Mutants" (Creator/StanLee's working title for ''Comicbook/XMen''), they wear red shades that look a lot like [[Comicbook/XMen Cyclops']] visor, and they despise adult authority figures. They form a perfect contrast to Batman, who's the epitome of the "traditional" DC superhero--an adult hero who's driven and fearless, and has zero tolerance for crime.
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23rd May '16 7:36:39 PM Anddrix
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In this storyline, Batman has been retired for ten years, alcoholic and consumed with grief after the death of Jason Todd, the second ComicBook/{{Robin}}[[note]]a full '''two years''' before "A Death in the Family," mind you[[/note]]. Franchise/{{Superman}}, still as young and handsome as ever, has become little more than an icon, answering to the government and trying to stay as neutral as possible. Commissioner Gordon is weeks away from retirement, SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker has been silently locked away in Arkham for years, and Two-Face is about to be released back into the world with a brand new skin. In Batman's absence, and in the midst of a killer heat wave, Gotham City is overrun with crime, plagued by a monstrously violent gang known as The Mutants. After encountering a Mutant gang in the alley where his parents were murdered, Bruce Wayne resurrects Batman, aided in his renewed crusade by Carrie Kelley, a 13-year-old girl who becomes the third Robin. Defeating the Mutants, though, turns out to be child's play compared to what Batman faces next...

to:

In this storyline, Batman has been retired for ten years, alcoholic and consumed with grief after the death of Jason Todd, the second ComicBook/{{Robin}}[[note]]a full '''two years''' before "A Death in the Family," mind you[[/note]]. Franchise/{{Superman}}, still as young and handsome as ever, has become little more than an icon, answering to the government and trying to stay as neutral as possible. Commissioner Gordon is weeks away from retirement, SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker ComicBook/TheJoker has been silently locked away in Arkham for years, and Two-Face is about to be released back into the world with a brand new skin. In Batman's absence, and in the midst of a killer heat wave, Gotham City is overrun with crime, plagued by a monstrously violent gang known as The Mutants. After encountering a Mutant gang in the alley where his parents were murdered, Bruce Wayne resurrects Batman, aided in his renewed crusade by Carrie Kelley, a 13-year-old girl who becomes the third Robin. Defeating the Mutants, though, turns out to be child's play compared to what Batman faces next...



* VomitingCop: Alluded to. After [[spoiler:SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker kills everyone at the TV studio]], somebody tells the commissioner that one of the rookies got sick and had to go home.

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* VomitingCop: Alluded to. After [[spoiler:SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker [[spoiler:ComicBook/TheJoker kills everyone at the TV studio]], somebody tells the commissioner that one of the rookies got sick and had to go home.



* MonsterClown: It should be [[SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker obvious]] at this point. Selina notes this after [[spoiler:the Joker attacks her]].

to:

* MonsterClown: It should be [[SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker [[ComicBook/TheJoker obvious]] at this point. Selina notes this after [[spoiler:the Joker attacks her]].



* DarkerAndEdgier: Robin kills. Batman mutilates. SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker's massacres are graphically portrayed. Creator/FrankMiller lays out his [[StrawmanPolitical grim feelings]] of [[{{Eagleland}} America]] for all to see.

to:

* DarkerAndEdgier: Robin kills. Batman mutilates. SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker's ComicBook/TheJoker's massacres are graphically portrayed. Creator/FrankMiller lays out his [[StrawmanPolitical grim feelings]] of [[{{Eagleland}} America]] for all to see.
21st May '16 10:16:28 AM Doug86
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* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Two of the Joker's victims were David Endochrine and Ruth Weisenheimer, who were clearly based on DavidLetterman and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

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* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Two of the Joker's victims were David Endochrine and Ruth Weisenheimer, who were clearly based on DavidLetterman Creator/DavidLetterman and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
12th May '16 8:06:33 PM Anicomicgeek
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* In 2015 a third volume titled ''Dark Knight: The Master Race'' was announced, to be written with Creator/BrianAzzarello.

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* In 2015 a third volume titled ''Dark Knight: The Master Race'' ''ComicBook/DarkKnightIIITheMasterRace'' was announced, to be written with Creator/BrianAzzarello.
5th May '16 10:02:49 AM Willbyr
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Added DiffLines:

* FearlessFool: Gets some {{deconstruction}} in Harvey Dent, who at the climax of their confrontation leans so far out of his helicopter to try to shoot Batman that he falls from it, with Batman (not knowing for sure that it's actually Dent) noting that whoever it is has the same lack of sense of self-preservation that Dent had. The deconstruction comes from Dent being a DeathSeeker who may have done that on purpose.
2nd May '16 7:51:58 PM hullflyer
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Added DiffLines:

* MuggingTheMonster: Averted. The Mutants who are about to attack Bruce at the beginning realize that not only is Bruce really big and strong-looking, but doesn't seem to be afraid of them, and they retreat.
19th Apr '16 12:49:41 PM acrobox
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* FiveBadBand: Joker's gang
** BigBad: Joker
** TheDragon & EvilGenius: Abner
** TheBrute & DarkChick: Bruno
** EliteMooks: Bobbie & Mary
15th Apr '16 9:29:32 AM 06tele
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Added DiffLines:

** Yindel too, although she's a somewhat more butch example.
15th Apr '16 9:27:32 AM 06tele
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Added DiffLines:

* InsaneTrollLogic: The Joker's psychiatrist uses this to argue that the Joker himself didn't commit his crimes, Batman did, ''through'' the Joker.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Comicbook.BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns