Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a Batman comic book miniseries written and drawn by Frank Miller and published by DC Comics from February to June 1986. It reintroduced Batman to the general public as the psychologically dark character of his original 1930s conception and helped to usher in an era of "grim and gritty" superheroes from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.



  • Rubber bullets. Honest.
  • This would be a good death... But not good enough.
  • The time has come. You know it in your soul, for I am your soul... You cannot escape me. You are puny, you are small, you are nothing--a hollow shell, a rusty trap that cannot hold me. Smoldering, I burn you — burning you, I flare, hot and bright and fierce and beautiful. You cannot stop me, not with wine or vows or the weight of age — you cannot stop me, but still you try. Still you run. You try to drown me out... But your voice is weak.
  • This should be agony. I should be a mass of aching muscle — broken, spent, unable to move. And, were I an older man, I surely would... But I'm a man of 30 — of 20 again. The rain on my chest is a baptism. I'm born again.
  • Welcome to Hell.
  • There are seven working defenses from this position. Three of them disarm with minimal contact. Three of them kill. The other-- [KRAKK] --hurts.
  • A fine death. But there are thousands to think of... And Harvey... I have to know.
  • I see a reflection, Harvey. A reflection.
  • It was tough work, carrying 220 pounds of sociopath to the top of Gotham Towers — the highest spot in the city. The scream alone is worth it.
  • I leave them behind me, I leave it all behind me. I go to the dark place where I first met you. Before my parents died, before I learned what I am. I'm dying but I can't die. I'm not finished yet. And you're not finished with me. Then something shuffles out of sight, something sucks in the stale air and hisses.
  • Gliding with ancient grace. Eyes gleaming untouched by love or joy or sorrow. Breath hot with the taste of fallen foes, the stench of dead things, damned things. Surely the fiercest survivor, the purest warrior. Glaring, hating, claiming me as your own.
  • [Fighting the Mutant Leader] You don't get it, son. This isn't a mudhole... It's an operating table. And I'm the surgeon.
  • Something tells me to stop with the leg. I don't listen to it.
  • The wind rises, tearing dead leaves free. Frogs croak like a cartoon car alarm. Crickets pick up the chorus. A wolf howls. I know how he feels.
  • I'll count the dead, one by one. I'll add them to the list, Joker. The list of all the people I've murdered by letting you live.
  • Fighting cops. It's been a while.
  • It's a .45 caliber hollow point. It explodes in his chest. I feel the shock through his fingers. For the hundred thousandth time my father dies.
  • When you came for me in the cave I was just six years old. You were ancient... nothing could kill you, but the war... it didn't begin then. No... it was two years later, when her necklace caught on his wrist, when he shoved his pistol to her jaw and pulled the trigger. And everything my mother was struck the pavement as a bloody wad.
  • No, Joker. You're playing the wrong game. The old game. Tonight you're taking no hostages. Tonight I'm taking no prisoners.
  • Lucky old man.
  • The Dump. It's a breeding ground for rodents. Some rodents fly.
  • You tried to warn me, Jim, so many times. You told me that I break too many of the important rules, that I made too many of the wrong enemies. That, for all my tricks I've been getting by on luck. It's all a game of odds, you said. All it will take is one bullet.
  • Still talking -- keep talking, Clark... you've always known just what to say. "Yes"-- you always say yes -- to anyone with a badge -- or a flag.
  • You're beginning 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 hand…at your throat…I want…you to remember…the one man who beat you.
  • This will be a good life. Good enough.


  • Bruce, you idiot. You'll ruin everything. For all of us.
  • The rest of us learned to cope. The rest of us recognized the danger--of the endless envy of those not blessed. Diana went back to her people. Hal went to the stars. And I have walked the razor's edge for so long... But you, Bruce--you, with your wild obsession.
  • They'll kill us if they can, Bruce. Every year they grow smaller. Every year they hate us more. We must not remind them that giants walk the earth.
  • Twenty million die by fire if I am weak.
  • Bruce, this is idiotic. You're just meat and bone--like all the rest.
  • You have every reason to be outraged, Mother Earth. You have given them everything. They are tiny and stupid and vicious but please, listen to them.
  • I have always loved you. Though I was born a galaxy away, I have always served you. The same power, the sun's power, fuels us both. You hold it here, you store it... I beg you. For a suffering world, release it...
  • You are so generous... I swear, your adopted son will honor you.

The JokerEdit

  • Batman. Darling.
  • Should sleep. Should be fresh tomorrow. Tomorrow I go free.
  • 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.
  • Paralysis, really. Doesn't matter: they'll burn you for this. And they'll never know... that you just didn't have the nerve. I'll see you in hell.


  • Commissioner Gordon: I think of Sarah. The rest is easy.
  • Robin: It's only once in the whole night that it shows. He's given the orders and all the Mutants and S.O.B.s and everybody is gone for a minute. He just sags in his saddle like an old man. Then he straightens up and grins at me like it's funny. He can't die...
  • Commissioner Yindel: No. No. He's too big.
  • Alfred (thought, just before dying of a stroke after destroying Wayne Manor) Of course. How utterly proper.


Mutant Leader: You got any kids, officer?
Officer: Shut up.
Mutant Leader: Just asking, officer. I love kids.

Batman: Boosters. Boosters. What...
Robin: Peel.

Kid: Batman! He's getting away--get up. You got to kick his--
Batman: Watch your language, son.

Batman: You sold us out, Clark. You gave them the power that should have been ours. Just like your parents taught you. My parents taught me a different lesson... lying on this street... shaking in deep shock... dying for no reason at all. They showed me that the world only makes sense when you force it to.
Superman: Bruce, I just broke three of your ribs.

Alfred: ...I shall come right out with it. Have you forgotten what happened to Jason?
Batman: I will never forget Jason. He was a good soldier. He honored me. But the war goes on.

Thug: No! Stay back, I got RIGHTS!!!
Batman: You've got rights, lots of rights. Sometimes I count them just to make me feel crazy... But right now you've got a piece of glass shoved in a major artery in your arm, right now you're bleeding to death. Right now I'm the only one person in the world who can get you to a hospital in time!.

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