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Me and my friend recently had an argument regarding Miller's The Dark Knight Returns story. Namely, my friend (who is far more familiar with Batman comics and DC comics in general) claims that its portrayal of Batman is so vastly different from "canon Batman" in order to make the story, work which makes the whole DKR look silly and unrealistic.

Namely, he is referring to the fact Batman retired 10 years prior to the comic's beginning (and not to Batman's actions in the comics itself) and these are the things he names that make no sense for "canon Batman" to do:

  • Generally, Batman would never give up on being a vigilante, as long as there's still crime to fight (which, as it seems, DKR universe is full of).
  • Robin's death would not cause Batman to simply give up (as seen in "A Death in the Family").
  • Batman would not allow pressure from the government to affect him, even with Superman being part of it.

Is there any indication in "canon" comics that, given the circumstances presented in DKR, Batman would act the way he did (completely retiring and giving up the life of a vigilante) or was this noticeably out-of-character for Batman to do?

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    Some people get more cynical with age. – user16696 Jul 11 '15 at 16:22
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    One might argue that, at the point when DKR was printed, "cannon" Batman's character was not that well developed. DKR influenced Post-Crisis cannon Batman a lot, transferring attributes of the elderly Batman to his newly rebooted, younger, self. I will admit to being hazy on the finer points of the pre-Crisis Batman's character, but it is safe to say that he was less single-minded then his successors. – Politank-Z Jul 11 '15 at 19:46
  • That sounds reasonable and, considering there weren't any other answers offered, could you rewrite it as an answer so that I can choose it? – fstanis Jul 15 '15 at 8:54
  • I'm not 100% sure but I think part of Batman's retirement in DKR is a massive reduction in crime. All of Batman's villains are out of action at the beginning of DKR. He likely went along with the government because it was better for Gotham if he did. He wasn't necessary any more. – DutchOven Aug 11 '16 at 23:36
  • I was fully expecting one of the bullet points to be about DKR Batman using a gun. – jamesdlin Sep 12 '17 at 3:25

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