Comic Legends: How Did Dark Knight Returns End in Miller's Original Plot?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and twelfth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the weekly three legends.

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Frank Miller's original plot for Dark Knight Returns had a different ending to the Superman/Batman fight



Reader Daryl M. wrote in to suggest this one.

As we all know by now, the final issue of Frank Miller's epic miniseries, Batman: The Dark Knight (now known as The Dark Knight Returns because that is what the trade paperback was called, but at the time, it was just Batman: The Dark Knight, with each of the four books having their own title - The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Triumphant, Hunt the Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Falls), had the United States government call in their agent, Superman, to take down Batman.

Batman is ready for him, though, and has some synthetic Kryponite delivered to the fight courtesy of a Green Arrow, well, arrow...

So Batman is dead, but at his funeral, Superman picks up his heartbeat...

Yes, Batman faked his death so that he could continue his mission in secret, without the government coming after him.

Great ending.

Daryl read that Miller originally had Batman SURVIVE his battle with Superman. That is correct.

From Miller's original plot for the final issue of the series (courtesy of the 10th Anniversary Edition of the collection)...

Yes, Batman survived the fight initially and then fakes his suicide in the hospital.

Clearly, Miller realized that it did not work out nearly as well as Batman "dying" at the battle. He was totally correct.

Thanks for the suggestion, Daryl!

Do note that there Miller actually had ANOTHER ending in mind before he ever plotted the series, as well. I'll get to that in a future legend. But for the sake of this legend, you're right, Daryl!

Check out some Christmas-themed entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:

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Check back tomorrow for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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