Bat­man: the Dark knight – mas­ter race

Hat­man Re­turns

SFX - - Reviews -

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.

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