If any comic has a claim to have truly reinvigorated the genre, then The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller--known also for his excellent Sin City series and his superb rendering of the blind superhero Daredevil--is probably the top contender. Batman represented all that was wrong in comics...
Bruce Wayne/Batman: Everything's correct about him. Miller's batman is as we all like him to be... gritty, mean, brooding and the ultimate bad-ass who takes crap from no one, not his friends, not from his only well wisher, not the government and certainly not from a god-like alien, one who can shake the earth with his bare hands. He is a scarred man living with a demon trapped inside him. He has scars that never heals with time and he remains the ultimate strategist.Ever.
Clark Kent/Superman: Superman is the same Boy Scout he's always been. He takes orders from the government now, and does their dirty work like fighting the Soviets. Something went on between him and the Green Arrow, and any superheroes still living or relevant have lost all respect for Clark Kent.
Alfred: Same old butler we know, still alive even though he was ancient when Bruce was only a child.
Harvey Jones/Two Face: In this novel he is the mirror image of batman..A deranged man who is slowly losing himself into the other part of his personality. After getting operated upon , his face is restored to normal but his mind is far beyond repair.
The Joker: He lied in a catatonic state upon the Batman's retirement. Seeing batman after 10 years joker once again springs back to his diabolic state.
Carrie Kelly/Robin: Inspired by batman, this young girl takes on the mantle of Robin. Though seeming to be bookish in nature, she's actually a computer whiz and a brave kid who sharpens her talents under batman's intense training.
Commissioner Yindel: Coming from Chicago to succeed Commissioner James Gordon, she starts by issuing an arrest warrant for the Batman. Once in place however, she realizes that police work and wrong and right aren't as black and white as she had hoped.
“Do you remember why you retierd Bruce? No.. just look at you.. You'd do it again and like a murderer, you'd cover it up again. nothing matters to you except your holy wars. But now the storm is gathering again. They'll hunt us down again. Because of you.”
“You sold us out, Clark. You gave them the power that should have been ours. Just like your parents taught you to. My parents taught me a different lesson. Lying on the street .. shaking in deep shock..dying for no reason at all..they showed me the world only makes sense when you force it to..”
“Oliver.. I've finally gotten him angry..It's now or never..(Oliver fires the kryptonite arrow) It wasn't easy to synthesize, Clark.. took years and cost me a fortune..Luckily I had both..You're begining to get the idea Clark.. this is the end.. for both of us..We could have changed the world.. Now.. look at us.. I've become a political liability.. and you.. you're a joke. I want you to remember Clark, in all the years to come..in your most private moments..I want you to remember my hands at your throat.. I want you to remember the one man who beat you”
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