Batman: the Dark knight – master race
graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns is one of the most influential comics ever released; it forever shifted how we see Batman, transforming him from a serious detective into a violent thug – from someone who solves crimes to someone who punishes them. It also seeped into the industry, adding grit to previously optimistic books, creating a wave of new vigilantes. The Dark Knight Strikes Again had less impact – dismissed by fans and critics in equal measure, it felt like a throwaway critique of everything people liked about the original. So, how does this third instalment measure up? Very well.
The story is deceptively simple. The Atom enlarges the miniature Kryptonians from Kandor; they decide to take over the Earth, insisting that the inhabitants worship them like gods; Batman and Superman have to come together to save the day. There’s more to it than that – including a subplot about Wonder Woman, and her daughter with Clark, Lara – but none of it adds significant complexity to the basic narrative. However, Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello work huge themes into the slight premise; the usual stuff about heroism, sacrifice and redemption, alongside some different (for Miller) explorations of optimism and hope.
With a third act that’s basically one giant set-piece, Master Race is ridiculously entertaining, and with Andy Kubert on art duty, it looks incredible. It might not prove to be as influential as the original, but it does give this series the closer it deserves. Sam Ashurst
A Donald Trump-inspired character features. Miller isn’t a fan, calling the current US President a “buffoon”.
He had no idea the Batmobile had a secret crotch-cam.