The Dark Knight Returns
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Art by: Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: November 25, 2015
The time has finally come. I have been waiting for this book for better or for worse since it was first announced. On the one hand it could have been like The Dark Knight Returns; A dark, action packed and thoughtful book with some satire but could be the thing that could make people love comics again. On the other, it could be like Strikes Again: An over satirized propaganda piece that makes either the characters a bunch of jerks or idiots. Both books are famous(well infamous in the case of Strikes Again), so either way the Dark Knight: The Master Race has a LOT to live up to.
So we need to know: Does the team of Frank Miller and Brian Azarello actually have what it takes to bring back the Dark Knight? Let's find out...
We open up to Gotham, three years since The Dark Knight Strikes Again (six years from the original Dark Knight Returns), and the Police have become more brutal...just like that one Batman comic that got the blog in trouble... One night Batman reappears and fights off some cops, but not before getting pictures of his fight spread on the Internet. After the one page of satirized newscasts (I was actually excited that it was just one page), Commissioner Yindel gives a statement that she is still against vigilantism and will arrest the Batman...In the first few pages it was able to capture The Dark Knight Returns' charm...then the next few pages happen.
We jump down to the Amazon where we see natives fighting a giant minotaur...no sorry not fighting, getting SLAUGHTERED by the minotaur. This is when Wonder Woman runs from the brush and brings the fight to the Minotaur. She goes toe to toe with the beast WITH A BABY ON HER BACK! She might not win the mother of the year award, and the way she's drawn makes her look just dumb(hated it in Strikes Again, hate it now), but it's friggin' badass as hell. After slaying the beast, she returns to the Amazons that take up residence at the ancient Mayan temples (Not a bad idea having the Amazons in the Amazons rather than Themyscara). She goes to train with her daughter Lara aka Supergirl, but she is off to see her father, Superman, who is trapped in ice...for some reason at the Fortress of Solitude...which was destroyed in Strikes Again. Lara, just like her mother, is designed horribly. She always flies with her sitting on her legs, her hair looks like blue foil, and her costume really is just a blue shirt with the superman logo on both sides. Wonder Woman at least has the defining unique armor bits such as the chest plate and head gear.
We return to Gotham where Yindel is sitting on the roof with her vice of choice, alcohol, and wonders why Batman came back this time. An officer comes up to tell her that they have Batman on the run. Batman gets cornered so the bloody fight begins. It's the brutality of this fight that makes me realize the Dark Knight Returns has returned. Blood flies everywhere from both sides and Yindel is able to unmask the Bat...as Carrie Kelly?! And she claims that Bruce Wayne is dead?! If that doesn't get you on board with the story, I don't know what will.
The book also has a mini-comic that pushes the plot ahead with Lara going to see Ray Palmer...who apparently doesn't remember their team up in Strikes Again, to bring Kandor back to normal size. While I think it's great that the mini pushed the plot, it took too long to get there as we spent a chunk of the book talking about how Ray fell in love with Atoms after his divorce.
Bits and Pieces:
This book took the step in the right direction to having a proper Dark Knight Returns sequel. The art for the the most part was good, the satire is kept to a minimum, the story is actually intriguing. The downside of this book are things that came from the Dark Knight Strikes Again; The art of Wonder Woman and Lara, the Atom comic, and a few annoying continuity issues, but it doesn't subtract from my enjoyment of this issue. I hope this keeps going up as time goes on...and hopefully we fix what Strikes again broke.