REVIEW: Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1
Written by Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello
Art by Andy Kubert
Inks by Klaus Janson
Colors by Brad Anderson
Published by DC Comics

Unquestionably, the propaganda put forth by DC leading up to the DKIII: Master Race release has been met with both unbridled enthusiasm and a healthy level of reservation. Both viewpoints really stem from the original Frank Miller Dark Knight masterpiece.

Back in 1986, Frank Miller introduced the comic book world to a dystopian future version of Gotham City in the Dark Knight Returns, featuring an aged Batman that was compelled to come out of retirement to do battle against a much more sinister criminal element that was inhabiting and terrorizing his city. The Dark Knight’s reinvigorated crusade saw the emergence of a new Robin in Carrie Kelley and featured the return of the Joker. Batman’s campaign against crime was also met with ample amounts of resistance from Gotham’s police force, the government, and even from his long time ally, Superman. Miller’s work then was unprecedented, and it was a catalyst for bringing about the Dark Age of Comic Books…more commonly known as the Modern Age, where the psychological makeup of comic book characters became much more intricate and grim by nature. When a comic book or comic book series has that kind of influence on the industry, that makes it legendary…that makes it truly epic. All too often, I hear the words legendary, epic, badass (my very least favorite word), iconic and greatness tossed around recklessly by publishers, comic book reviewers and readers alike to describe current comic book events or series. The Dark Knight Returns changed the Batman mythos, and comics overall, in a way that might not be matched again perhaps for a very, very long time. DK2 is an example of that.

Although the sequel to the Dark Knight Returns, DK2, also known as The Dark Knight Strikes Again, was released 15 years later, in 2001, the impact it had wasn’t even close to the one the original series had. There were very little bright spots with that story. To me it felt like Batman and friends were like fish out of water…too many broken heroes operating under a weird set of circumstances. Simply put, this story failed and it disappointed me greatly.

So, how does DKIII: The Master Race #1 measure up against the previous DK series so far? Well, it’s only the first installment, and for the moment it’s simply OK. This time around, all I sincerely hope for is that DKIII will not be a flop like DKII was (in my opinion). What I did find refreshing was being able to return to the Frank Miller Batman universe in general. I can easily recognize various components from DKI and DKII being utilized within the DKIII first issue. The dialogue overall was not complicated, making it pretty easy for new gen Batman fans to follow. The art here holds up in its attempt to mimic the style we have longed to see within Batman books.

Where I cast my doubts, lies solely with the non-Gotham resident characters that appeared in this issue. It already implies that there’s a decent chance that this story might be more of a JLA or Superman themed book rather than a Batman book. That’s not necessarily such a bad thing when you think about it; however, there’s a side of me that hopes that I’m proven wrong, especially since I’m investing in this story strictly because of the Batman from the Frank Miller Universe.

Until next time Crusaders!

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