Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a 1986 four-issue comic book miniseries starring Batman, written by Frank Miller, illustrated by Miller and Klaus Janson, and published by DC Comics. When the series was collected into a single volume later that year, the story title for the first issue was applied to the entire series. The Dark Knight Returns tells an alternative story of Bruce Wayne, who at 55 years old returns from retirement to fight crime and faces opposition from the Gotham City police force and the United States government. The story introduces Carrie Kelley as the new Robin and the hyper-violent street gang known as the Mutants. The story also features the return of classic foes such as Two-Face and The Joker, and culminates with a confrontation against Superman, who works on behalf of the government.
The Dark Knight Returns is my favorite comic book of all time. I was fairly young when it came out, but it hit me in such a way that I cannot explain. Batman was always my favorite character, but this version, although separate from the monthly titles really set the stage for a change in the character in general. After this everyone began doing Batman more and more dark and brooding. Watch any Batman movie (sans the 1966) and you see this style of Batman in everyone. Hard, violent and Dark. It’s a book you should all read, and now it’s a statue from Diamond Select Toys you should own.
Lets start off with Batman, styled after the comic book he is sculpted in that blocky and bulky way Miller drew him. Big hands, almost square face, just a massive hulking version of Batman. It’s the classic colors of Blue and Grey, with a black bat signal on the chest (Missing the yellow circle) and the bright yellow utility belt. You can see the wrinkles that have been molded into the design throughout the entire costume. The flexing left arm is in perfect view as you can see not only all the folds in the spandex grey outfit, but the muscles undeath that are causing the costume to wrinkle up. The gloves, on the giant hand feature the side wings and you can see each finger also has the costume wrinkles in it. The cowl is the traditional old school blue with the pure white out eye lids. And the mouth is exactly like Miller drew the Dark Knight. Huge tan face with the angered look where you actually see his red gums coming around his clenched white teeth. Its spot on to the comic creation.
Moving over we see Robin. Yes in the future (if you have never read the story) a girl picks up the mantel of Robin when she essentially saves Batman from the mutants. She’s decked out in the classic Dick Grayson style red and green outfit with the canary yellow cape. As opposed to the batman colors hers are bright and bold. Like Batman her outfit is etched and molded to show all the individual wrinkles in her costume. The legs and arms, are shaded perfectly. Its comic book style so not all the anatomic sculpting but still shaded out to give it depth. She’s even holding her trademark slingshot, which is wrapped around individually sculpted fingers, while wearing her green and yellow tinted glasses to hide her identity. I like how her toes are pointed up and she’s placed next to, but still semi sideways next to Batman. It gives the piece a more rounded look.
From this back shot you see the base, which is a really cool rooftop with chimney pipes throughout. There’s even smoke bellowing up from the back ones on the sides. Its caved to be a combination of cement blocks, and concrete. A very dirty grey that’s completely scuffed up and worn looking. The main part of the back is still the giant flowing blue cape on Batman. Its massive not only does it hang down to the base, but it flows around it as well. Its completely draped around Batman’s boots. Like the rest of the costume its sculpted to flow and wrinkle with variations of blue and grey used to give it a shadowy look in spots. The boot as you can see features those same wrinkles but is done brighter than the cape to separate them as you look. The cape is a major part of the outfit and this one looks great.
Here is a shot of the left side where you can see more of Batman’s flowing cape. Its also a good look at the pipes on the roof as well as the pool of cape hanging on the base. Notice all the lines and shades in the cape from the side as well as in his boots. This is a really well done piece in terms of detail as it matched the comic book to a “T” You can see the smoke by his boot as well. I like how he is done so big and Robin was done much smaller. She’s barely visible from the back and this side shot.
This shot gives you a good look at the rest of Robin, as well as more of Batman’s cape which is flowing into her space. Her cape is incredibly bright but much smaller its also sculpted to show all the lines throughout as are the sleeves on her costume where her arm is slightly bent. You also get a good shot of the “R” logo standing out on her costume. Batman just towers over her from the back as she is almost tucked into his arm while he readies a punch
This is a great piece. Miller designed Batman much different than anyone else who has drawn him so this is definitely a standout Batman piece as much as it was a standout Batman comic. The look is a perfect match to the comic counter part and this is a must for any Batman fan. It’s a must have for your collection
Overall 5 out of 5 Stars
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