Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

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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.


  • It wasn't easy to make. Took years and cost a fortune. Luckily, I had both.
  • We could have changed the world... now look at us...I've become a political liability...and'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.


  • 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 Joker[edit]

  • 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 myself feel crazy. But right now you've got a piece of glass shoved into a major artery in your arm. Right now you're bleeding to death. Right now I'm the only one in the world who can get you to a hospital in time.

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