From DC Comics, writers Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello and artists Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert – comes the epic conclusion to the trilogy that began with The Dark Knight Returns. This is my review of Dark Knight III: The Master Race book 1.
The epic ending you never saw coming is here because you demanded it! The Dark Knight rises again to face the dawn of the master race!
With a hefty price tag of $6 (I’m used to Image Comics and how much awesome you usually can get for half of that), I wasn’t sure that this would be worth it. But let’s be honest — it’s Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello (100 freaking Bullets) teaming up to conclude the greatest Batman story ever told. Dark Knight III: The Master Race is some of the most bang you’ll likely get all year for that precious buck. Even if you avoid the hundreds of cool variants – the standard edition packs a glossy and thick cover looking glorious as can be. On the inside you’ll get a ton of story PLUS a mini comic drawn and written ONLY by the man Frank Miller himself.
That mini comic acts as an extension to the abrupt and shocking conclusion for issue 1. That little story is extremely vital to this third chapter in Miller’s Dark Knight trilogy. I thought these mini Dark Knight Universe comics would be secondary and disconnected but NOPE – they are essential reading to this new story arc. Speaking of which —
It’s been a long time since Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Back and a lot of people were super puzzled in the directions that he took his second chapter. It was bizarre, loaded with DC universe characters who all did crazy shit and the overall package seemed slightly rushed. That being said — I still enjoyed it for what it was worth. With more time between that arc and this final series, Miller has had plenty of time to come up with an appropriate and definitive ending. It doesn’t hurt to have a badass creative team helping him out either – and they have done a magnificent job. Klaus Janson and Andy Kubert’s art is a great extension to what Miller began all those years ago and they’ve recreated that signature look of his but the colors definitely pop more this time out. I kinda like Miller’s gritty look and found myself missing it a tad, but his mini-comic was enough to satisfy that need.
The coolest bits of issue 1 are some spectacular action sequences with Wonder Woman in the jungle, where we also find out just how long exactly it’s been since the events of Dark Knight Strikes Back. Remember Superman knocking her up in that weird mid-air sex sequence? Turns out they did have a child – and that child will play an important part of this finale. As for Batman himself — his shocking return involves a series of violent clashes with the authority and concludes with a bloody standoff against several Gotham City policemen.
What comes next however — is truly shocking, confusing and absolutely unexpected. I’m not sure what the hell is going to come in future issues in light of what happened here but I have absolute faith in Miller and Azzarello. They’ve done a helluva job with the beginning of the end.