Back in 1987 (or so) the finnish translation of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns was an unexpected return to the realm of superhero comics I had written off as childish pastimes the year before (the domestic edition of X-Men having started on not so good storylines following the dissolution of the Claremont/Byrne-duo). But sadly, like so many things in high school, this was a discovery made too late – by the time we found out about the awesomeness of the four issue series, the first three installment had been sold out. Borrowing them from friends with a better taste was no match to owning the whole.
Needless to say, the publisher didn’t do a re-run, and we settled for the next piece of goodness: Year One.
I finally picked up the Titan Comics edition a couple of years later, and what a feast it was. And still is. Year after year. Re-read after re-read.
This, alongside Watchmen turned an entire genre upside down, and they have not been improved on since. Which is more than a little sad, since both of them are closing in on thirty years already.
Frank Miller’s take on an aging Batman is a cruel but deftly drawn one. Gotham City has deteriorated, as has the rest of the world. A world quite well resembling our own (with a Ronald Reagan for the U.S. president) yet subtly different (the island republic of Corto Maltese whose crisis pulls the globe to brink of nuclear war).
The script is merciless, it combines classic characters with modern cruelty and throws in surgically aimed stabs at the american society.
An awesome graphic novel, that should be read by anybody with any interest in comics. Or a good story.