In 1986, The Dark Knight Returns was released to nearly overwhelming critical acclaim. The near-dystopian future painted by writer/artist Frank Miller depicted an aged Batman, who had long since retired, donning the cape and cowl again. This, unprecedented, prestige format, four-issue book influenced a generation of fans and made its mark on pop culture, being adapted, not on into its own animated feature, but serving as story inspiration for both The Dark Knight Rises and next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In 2015, it is Miller who returns, this time as co-writer (along with Brian Azzarello), on a brand new outing featuring his take on the Dark Knight. Available in comic shops today, Dark Knight III: The Master Race starts in a similar fashion to the original Miller story: Batman has been out of action, now he’s back.
This first issue reads quickly, but serves its purpose to set up the following issues. The hallmarks of Miller’s Dark Knight Universe are all there: political commentary, talking heads, weird future slang, and neon lights. Just as The Dark Knight Returns features Superman heavily, this issue features Wonder Woman. I’m sure the role the Amazon Princess plays in this story will be fleshed out a little more in upcoming issues; her appearance here felt like nothing more than an action sequence.
One of the more cool things about this was that the middle of the book contained a small (pun intended) interlude. A mini-comic starring The Atom is attached to the inside of every copy of Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1. If you’re wondering what “master race” the title refers to, my thought is that you need look no further than this mini-comic.
The art of the book evokes Miller’s style quite well, despite being drawn by Andy Kubert. A lot of this could probably be attributed to Klaus Janson (Miller’s original inker on TDKR and current inker on Superman), who joins the creative team on this book.
Ultimately, I’d say that this will read extremely well in a collected edition, but with an event nearly 30 years in the making such as this, who could wait? Head to your local comic book retailer and pick up issue #1 (and one of it’s 70+ variant covers) today.
Thanks for reading!
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