Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

1986 four-issue comic book miniseries by Frank Miller
For the animated adaptation, see Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (film).

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 -1980s-1990s.


  • [his inner voice, the true Batman, taunting him] The time has come. You know it. In your mind. In your heart. In your soul. You tried to hold me back. But you can't, Bruce. You're weak. You're a shell. A rusty trap that cannot hold me.
  • It wasn't easy to make. Took years and cost a fortune. Luckily, I had both.
  • We should have been changing the world... inspiring people to be better than what they are... we were heroes... now look at us...I've become a political liability...and're their've become a joke... A gullible, ignorant instrument of a incompetent, manipulative system... You talk to me about letting the past go, and yet you yourself won't. Because the mighty Superman is just so perfect he thinks he knows what's best. If that were true,'d be at my side, as we were before. We were friends once upon a time, but that ship sailed with you put your judgement in the corrupt. In the greedy. When you threw your lot in with the perpetuators of disorder and ill intent. And you had the gall to lecture me, trying to intimidate me, simply because they asked you to. I didn't have to go easy on you...a different binding agent...a potent I wanted you to stay out of my way...I wanted 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.
  • Tonight was invigorating. I finally understand. It was denying myself this. That was my problem. The voice in my head. Telling me I was weak. No, I'm not weak. I'm not a shell. Not a trap. I remember. I was patient. I tried to let it go. But I can't. Or more accurately, I won't. I never will. Because the simple truth is Bruce Wayne is gone. He's been dead fore years. I died in the alleyway with my parents. And someone else emerged. Just as tonight. All those years I spent fighting against the evil and greedy, the criminal element, I should be damn near dead. In utter agony. Nothing but broken bones, aching muscles, internal bleeding. And if I were still a man in my sixies, I probably would be. But those unpleasant days are behind me. My wisdom never left, but my strength has returned. I remember who I am. The rain pouring down now is a baptism, representing my rebirth, issuing a new mission. Once again, I am vengeance. Once again, I am the night. Once again!


  • Bruce, you idiot. You're ruining 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 like us. The normal people. The weak. 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. You never learned to let it all go.
  • They'll kill us if they could find a way, Bruce. Every year they grow smaller. Every year they hate us more. We can't remind them that giants walk the earth.
  • Twenty million die by nuclear fire if I am weak.
  • Bruce, why can't you understand? This is idiotic. This whole thing is a waste of time! This is exactly what I didn't want to do. This is why they're afraid of us! This is why we are where we are now.
  • 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. Because tomorrow I go free, and then it's time for my final show.
  • 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 — Even then, Bats, it wouldn't be enough.
  • No, I don't keep count. But you do. And I love you for it.
  • You're in trouble now. Go ahead, Batman. Say you've never wanted this to happen. Say you wish there'd been another way. We both know it'd be bullshit though, right? No, you've dreamt of this moment. You even said so. The best part about it is, I still won. Because I finally made you lose control. Made you break your one rule. And now, the civilized people you've struggled to protect? They're going to hunt you for this. Hunt you like a dog. They're gonna kill you, Brucie. So, I'll see hell! [cackles as he finishes breaking his own neck]


  • 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...I don't think he ever learned how. A man like him? So sure and passionate about what he does? He'll live forever. That I know for sure.
  • 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: You're the Joker, right? Well, Batman's gonna kick your ass, like always!
Joker: That right? Well, here's a secret for you, brat. He's gonna go through you first!
Batman: You know I won't. Now put the boy down, Joker.

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: [slams his hand into Batman's chest, putting a deep hand-shaped dent in the armor as Batman goes flying] I suppose that means if you're going to stand down, I'm going to have to force you. Those were three ribs, Bruce. Stop being stubborn. Believe me, I don't want to do this.
Batman: [grunting in pain as he picks himself up] Too bad. Because I do.

Alfred: ...I shall come right out with it. Have you forgotten what happened to Master Todd?
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 seizes him and slams him through a window, with him falling onto the fire escape, cuts all over him and is bleeding profusely]
Batman: Yes, you've got rights. Plenty of them. And right now, you've got a huge shard of glass stuck in a major artery in your arm. Right now, you're bleeding to death. And right now? I'm the only one around to get you to a hospital in time. So however long you take to tell me what I want to know? That's up to you. Right now, would be preferable.

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