DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE
Frankly, it’s not a masterpiece
released OUT NOW! Publisher DC Comics
Writers Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello
Artists Andy Kubert, Frank Miller,
Eduardo Risso, John Romita Jr
Few comic books can match the reputation of Frank Miller’s landmark Batman story The Dark Knight Returns. Highly influential, it’s a classic that’s already had one follow- up – the deeply flawed The Dark Knight Strikes Again ( DK2). Now DC are giving us another instalment, in time to capitalise on the Milleresque movie action of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
However, while Miller’s name is front and centre on the credits of Dark Knight III: The Master Race, he’s only contributing a small amount of art, and his pre- release interviews have cast doubt on how much of DK3 he actually wrote, suggesting this is largely co- writer Brian Azzarello’s show.
Set three years after the events of DK2, this eight- issue miniseries sees the return of Batman to the streets of Gotham, just as the science experiments of Ray “The Atom” Palmer accidentally release a horde of crazed Kryptonian religious fundamentalists from the bottle city of Kandor.
A worldwide rampage soon begins, and there’s only one hero who can stop it – but while the series has its attention- grabbing moments, it mostly steers away from the crazier, more incoherent elements of Miller’s work on DK2 and All- Star Batman & Robin. Instead, DK3 is a focused comic- book thriller executed with plenty of style, and only occasionally dragged down by some clanging dialogue.
Each issue features a back- up story illustrated by a guest artist ( with the first done by Miller himself ); meanwhile main series artist Andy Kubert does his best
A focused thriller with plenty of style
Miller impersonation, capturing the right visual style.
However, as with DK2, the broader perspective on the entire DC Universe means The Master Race loses the sense of focus that gave The Dark Knight Returns its impact and power. An early, potentially fascinating plot twist is quickly reversed for a more traditional set- up, while the story’s only truly controversial aspect treads worryingly close to territory covered in Miller’s 2011 graphic novel Holy Terror. DK3 will sell in epic quantities, but despite its slick and efficient storytelling, there’s little to distinguish this from the avalanche of other Dark Knight-influenced grim superhero sagas.
Due on 20 April: Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade, set 10 years before DKR, which depicts the death of Jason Todd.
You’ll need it.