Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 1

Back in the mid-1980s writer/artist Frank Miller was just coming off a successful run of Marvel Comics' Daredevil series and the Ronin mini-series from DC Comics.

DC Comics handed the keys to its Batman character to Frank who then created the critically acclaimed Batman The Dark Knight Returns mini-series.

In the series Miller introduced readers to an aged Bruce Wayne who had hung up his Batman cowl ten years previously.  Now in his 50s Bruce has watched his beloved Gotham City plunge into despair as a new criminal group, the Mutants, run rampant in the city, leaving mayhem, murder and destruction in its wake.

Lead by their bear-like Mutant Leader, the Mutants have brought Gotham City to its knees.
No longer able to subdue his Batman persona. Bruce once again dons a cowl and cape and tackles the new 'rehabilitated Two-Face and then the Mutants.

Along the way his return inspires a young girl to take up the mantle of Robin.  When Batman is nearly killed by the leader of the Mutants, Robin rescues him and in return is brought to the Batcave and made Batman's new ward.

Together they hatch a plan to take on the Mutant's leader and to humiliate him in front of his followers.  Their plan works, but, the comatose Joker revives and sets up the second part of the Blu-ray/DVD/Ultraviolet series from Warner Bros.

I was a little skeptical about the series being translated to an animated film but I need not have worried. While a few necessary changes were made to the story to accommodate its new format, the soul of the story survives and the art is a fine visual tribute to Miller's style.

Included in the set are some killer extras such as: a Digital Comic of the ground-breaking comic, featurettes on the new Robin and Bob Kane (the creator of Batman), a preview of part 2, and two bonus cartoons.