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Favorite Comic Runs: Frank Miller's Batman: Year One vs. The Dark Knight Returns

Batman's intense debut in Gotham City or the gritty future where Batman and the Man of Steel are forced to face-off? Come vote in the poll and speak your mind.

Welcome to the Favorite Comic Runs' spotlight, Frank Miller!

This week, we're taking a look at the writer/artist's two iconic Batman stories. One is a detailed reimagining of Bruce Wayne's return to Gotham as he puts on the cowl for the first time and Jim Gordon sees just how dirty the GCPD truly is. The other reveals a darker future where Superman is controlled by the U.S. Government and Batman aims to restore order to his city. Both are without question a must read for any fan of the Caped Crusader, but which legendary tale do you prefer and why? Will you side with the 1986 limited series that Frank Miller wrote and illustrated? Or will you give you support the Miller's 1987 limited series that was illustrated by David Mazzucchelli?

CLICK HERE TO VOTE

In the unfortunate event you haven't read either of these epics, voting will remain open until Friday morning (ET). That gives you plenty of time to get your hands on these two stories and jump right in. But in the event you're too lazy or too busy to give either of these a proper read, there is an option for "haven't read either." That said, we will most certainly judge you if you vote for that and we strongly recommend you rectify that mistake as soon as possible. This weeklong voting period also offers more than enough time for you to make a case for one of these stories and potentially sway more voters to your side. Last but not least, if your post is extra impressive, there's a chance we'll highlight it in Friday's updated article. We'll select one post made for each story, so be sure to elaborate after you cast your vote.

Check the homepage on Friday to see which story won and why. In the meantime, feel free to make future match-up suggestions in the comments below or via Twitter.

32 Comments
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I was waiting for this and I think I know whats going to win

Posted by Spideyfan3160

Year one is great. I always thought the dark knight returns was a little overrated.

Posted by KaliboooStew

The Dark Knight was a more revolutionary comic that contributed more to Batman's character and comics overall, but Year One was a far better told story and holds up much better today.

Edited by DaltonMunnal

I honestly find TDKR to be unbearable, so Year One would win by default from me even if it wasn't amazing.

Edited by longbowhunter

I love both books. But Year One had a better story and beautiful Mazzucchelli art. Year One comes out on top for me.

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Posted by Captain13

I went with The Dark Knight Returns because Batman: Year One is more of a James Gordon story.

Posted by Nahuel

Tie for me.

Love both stories, so I can't vote for any of them.

Posted by Hashbrowns

The first half of The Dark Knight Returns is incredibly atmospheric and engaging, but everything after the defeat of the Mutant Leader is a waste of potential.

The entire Superman vs Batman showdown appeals very strongly to the worst aspects of comic fans. It's every bad stereotype of a "fanboy" put on the page: a senseless spectacle, and an ugly one at that, both visually and thematically. Sadly, it is the least interesting, most exploitative part of the comic... but it is also the definitive moment of the entire comic, the part virtually everyone thinks of when TDKR is mentioned.

Year One is a more satisfying tale in total, though there are such great individual moments in Dark Knight Returns that Year One really can't compete with on a one-on-one comparison of cool moments. But overall, Year One is a better story with far better art.

Posted by entropy_aegis

The first half of The Dark Knight Returns is incredibly atmospheric and engaging, but everything after the defeat of the Mutant Leader is a waste of potential.

The entire Superman vs Batman showdown appeals very strongly to the worst aspects of comic fans. It's every bad stereotype of a "fanboy" put on the page: a senseless spectacle, and an ugly one at that, both visually and thematically. Sadly, it is the least interesting, most exploitative part of the comic... but it is also the definitive moment of the entire comic, the part virtually everyone thinks of when TDKR is mentioned.

Year One is a more satisfying tale in total, though there are such great individual moments in Dark Knight Returns that Year One really can't compete with on a one-on-one comparison of cool moments. But overall, Year One is a better story with far better art.

I kinda agree with this,especially the first sentence.

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Edited by Asbat

I´m going with The Dark Knight Returns. The definitive Batman story, in my opinion. I agree with Captain13, Year One is too gordon-centric ( Even if its great, of course)

Posted by iaconpoint

Gotta give it Year One. The storytelling was a bit better and there were more nail biting and holy crap moments like Bats getting trapped by the GCPD and Gordon beating the crap out of Flass and leaving him tired up naked, respectively. TDKR had better fight and action scenes, and gave us Carrie Kelly, but I still prefer Year One.

Posted by Wolverine08

Year One.

Posted by JamDamage

Im gonna go on a rant here. One of my very first purchases back in 88 or 89 was the Complete Frank Miller Batman, which had Year One, Santa Claus wanted dead or alive (one shot) and DKR. All in one hard cover black leather book that sold for $30. Someone stole it, and I'm furious, but anyway. I love them both. To this day I love them both. DKE tho, back then was just a master piece. It was written during the cold war, Ronny Raygun was just president, and people were still kreeped out by the idea of a nuclear war. The book itself meant a whole lot more back then. To also see Superman working for the government was a creep idea because of the cold war spy ideas and what not. Plus Batman was just crazier it seemed in the book. It was so much more adult oriented then anything out there other then Killing Joke, and Arkham Asylum. It had more meaning to the readers then, then it does now. I can see how it is, in it's own right, out dated. Still DKR is my all time favorite. I have some new favorites, but reading DKR was just creepy is so many ways. Somewhat like the very first Ultimate X-Men story by Mark Millar was modernizing the Mutant World and turning Magneto in a terrorist. Blowing up Parliament, sending videos of himself like Osama did from a cave. Just creepy when you consider it was written before 911. DKR was my vote only because of the response I felt when I read it. I wish they would have a put a "Tie" option because Im sure there are a lot of us who would have liked to put it down as such.

Posted by Sovereign91001
Posted by Pokeysteve

Why are the polls and this page separate? This is like the middle man page and seems unnecessary.

I'm gonna go vote for Returns now =D

Edited by CuddleBear

I went with The Dark Knight Returns because Batman: Year One is more of a James Gordon story.

yeah but its the definitive Gordon story.

Posted by AmazingWebHead

Tough call. Really tough call.

I guess I'd go with Returns. The epic final battle Joker always wanted, AND the original Batman vs Superman fight, all in one storyline.

Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek

Why are the polls and this page separate? This is like the middle man page and seems unnecessary.

I'm gonna go vote for Returns now =D

Articles can't have polls in them.

Posted by Battle_Forum_Junkie

Definitly Year One.

Posted by BlackSword29

If your definitive Batman is either an origin story or an Elseworld final one, you're a sheep. Stop being slaves to marketing, think for yourselves and realize these ancient Miller droppings were overrrated 30 years ago. Stop putting stuff on a list because you were told they're 'great' and realize what gullible oafs the previous generation was. Learn what a good comic is, a good story is and a good writer is, and stop lionizing an idiot who did nothing but shit on the medium and conned a fandom into eating it up and asking for more.

Posted by oldnightcrawler

Year One all the way.

Edited by Breadspread

I love The Dark Knight Returns, but I still have to give it to Year One.

The good news is we have both

Posted by LiveForever

Year One, no doubt. The Dark Knight Returns is supremely overrated. Never really felt like it was true to the character.

Edited by CantDance93

Year One. At least Batman in that wasn't a fascists and didn't use gun, and Superman's portrayal in TDKR ... how he's an obedient boy scout really makes me angry. Great comic, but year one is better. Also Year One didn't get a crappy sequel, *cough* *cough* The Dark Knight Strikes Again. *cough*

But TDKR has MUCH better art!

Posted by Pokeysteve

@pokeysteve said:

Why are the polls and this page separate? This is like the middle man page and seems unnecessary.

I'm gonna go vote for Returns now =D

Articles can't have polls in them.

I was thinking that. Good to have confirmation though so thank you.

Edited by patrat18

Why are the polls and this page separate? This is like the middle man page and seems unnecessary.

I'm gonna go vote for Returns now =D

Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek said:

@pokeysteve said:

Why are the polls and this page separate? This is like the middle man page and seems unnecessary.

I'm gonna go vote for Returns now =D

Articles can't have polls in them.

I was thinking that. Good to have confirmation though so thank you.

No problem man.

Edited by Whirlwind_33

Year One

Posted by PopRock123

Hard chose for me I can't pick between these two. Now I'm going to flip a coin to decide.

Posted by k4tzm4n

Two more days to vote.

Staff