Batman: The Dark Knight 1 (March 1986)

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Miller establishes he’s telling The Dark Knight [Returns] in twelve panels a page, four columns, four rows. He quickly breaks this layout, but always for emphasis. I’d never realized how beautifully he designs the comic. It’s very cinematic, even if the actual content often isn’t visual.

He implies most of the action. Batman’s return is mostly implied, the issue’s fight scene finale is all implied. Miller even implies big plot developments instead of just showing them.

The result is being either inside Batman’s head–and Miller goes out of his way to show how psychologically disturbed he is from the first page–watching a newscast or, very briefly, being with the supporting cast. The supporting cast scenes Miller uses to setup a good Batman scene.

The issue’s about aging, forgetting, recovering and failing. It’s rather touching at times.

It’s fairly impressive, but Miller’s too dependent on his “future story” gimmick.

CREDITS

The Dark Knight Returns; writer and penciller, Frank Miller; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Lynn Varley; letterer, John Costanza; editors, Dick Giordano and Denny O’Neil; publisher, DC Comics.

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