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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: FTN reviews Dark Knight III The Master Race

December 2nd, 2015 by Phil Robinson Comments

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DKIII The Master Race
Art by: Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert
Cover by: Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert
Variant cover by: Jim Lee, Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert, Frank Miller
Written by: Brian Azzarello, Frank Miller
Published by: DC Comics

When a storyteller returns to a character that he helped redefine, you have to, as the reader, enter into it with a bit of trepidation. After all, it’s been almost 15 years since Frank Miller last entered the realm of his dystopian Dark Knight universe, a story whose influence is still felt today. Hell, just look at the trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and tell me that Miller’s blueprints aren’t still there (on a side note I had hoped the appearance of Jared Leto as The Joker would have resembled the camp, white suit wearing psychopath of Miller’s tale, but sadly you can’t always get what you want).

“A good death?” asks the somehow familiar voice. For this story to start any other way would be ludicrous. After all, it’s the iconic, bold statement of Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Returns – “This would be a good death…” – that lands us directly in the character’s frame of mind. But now this is a different take, following up the question by stating that “There’s no such thing.”

And what this first issue does is predominantly act as a way of dropping us back into the world of Miller’s Dark Knight. A text conversation between two thugs tells us that it has been three years since anyone last saw Batman, but the photos hastily snapped on one of their phones suggests that he’s back – but why is he beating up cops?

The artwork calls back to the Miller books of old, with the media storm that follows being bombarded at us left, right and centre. It may be Andy Kubert on pencils these days, with the colour scheme losing that retro feel, but it’s still very much in the same vein, and the addition of the companion piece of The Atom #1, part of the Dark Knight Universe Presents… line is a nice tough, showing off Miller’s traditional style and adding further depth to what’s been going on in the world.

We catch up with Commissioner Yindel, and with Wonder Woman, seeing how this stirring of the Caped Crusader has now started the knock-on effect that will change everything, once again. This time round, it appears that Diana’s daughter Lara is set to taking action. Visiting her father’s frozen tomb, you get the sense that this eight issue run is going to have a much bigger picture than Miller’s last two entries into the world.

Finishing up, of course in Gotham, when Yindel has the Bat held at gunpoint all by herself, the shocking revelation that follows is proper edge-of-your-seat reading, leaving you frantically Googling when issue two hits the shelves. But for Bat-fans and Miller-maniacs alike, this is proper, weapon’s-grade storytelling. Never a fool to rush in, this part-history lesson, part-homage to tales gone by is the perfect re-introduction to the world and to the characters, all the while being expectedly unexpected.

5 out of 5 Nerds

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Hidden deep in the woods, past the abandoned insane asylum and long-forgotten summer camp, off the old dirt road, across the creaky timber bridge, lies a log cabin. Under the full moon some have said they've heard blood-curdling howls from deep in the basement, though none have been brave enough to explore further... If they had, the shocking reveal would be that the screams come from old horror VHS tapes, accompanied by the maniacal laugh of Phil Robinson, brought on by comics and wrestling promos. The self-confessed "horror guy", he has also been known to talk about Spider-Man and heavy metal at great, unnecessary lengths. Yes, he knows he needs a haircut.

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