Obviously The Dark Knight Returns is pretty different from what we have been reading so far. It’s darker, grittier, crazier, and in some ways more believable than the Superman comics and older Batman comics. The first time I read it a few years ago I didn’t have as solid of grounding in the superhero comics origins, so I missed a lot of really nice moments like the reference to science fiction author Harlan Ellison (164) and The Purloined Letter (188). With the superhero comic roots in science and detective fictions, these are pretty significant moments. I also did not know much about Green Arrow, so I missed the fact that most of the panels featuring Oliver have a green tinge.
I also found the news narrative a really important and interesting aspect of this miniseries. The whole story is narrated, commented on, and framed by a news reporters dialoging about or reporting on the events unfolding in the story. They (primarily the blonde lady with the very 80s short haircut, who I believe is unnamed) expand on what unfolds in the panels, adding another dimension to the story and a commentary that provides the viewpoint of the citizens. In this way, the news narrator functions as the voice of Gotham and the perspective of the people.
This connects with Superman, whose stories are also rooted in the media – not the television news, of course, but the newspaper. The Daily Planet is the home of Superman’s love Lois Lane, making the news the home of Superman’s obsession (as we saw in the early comics, he can get preeeettttyyy obsessive). For Batman, his true love has always been Gotham, and it is the site of his obsession – so the news operates in the same way for him, providing the voice of his love.