Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #6 Review and **SPOILERS**

Tell Me Alien: Do You Hug?

Story By: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello 
Pencils By: Andy Kubert 
Inks By: Klaus Janson 
Colors By: Brad Anderson 
Letters By: Clem Robins 
Cover By: Andy Kubert & Brad Anderson 
Cover Price: $5.99 
On Sale Date: October 19, 2016


Hey, it’s another issue of Dark Knight III: The Master Race! Seems like the last one came out four months ago. Probably because it did come out four months ago! At this rate, this nine-issue monster should wrap up in time for Hillary Clinton’s second term in office. If our reptilian overlords want it that way, that is! I’ve said too much! Better to move on to the simple fun of a Batman comic book and check out the most recent issue of this sluggish series.

Explain It! 

As you probably don’t remember, Gotham City is experiencing some nasty weather in the form of Kryptonite rain, created by Batman in order to weaken Kandoorian refugee Quar and his army of similarly-Kryptonian Kandoorians (say that five times fast) that are trying to take over the planet. Got it? Now Gotham City’s citizens are getting in on the act, beating down some trash-talking members of Quar’s renegades until the riot cops show up, and professionally kick the crap out of the Kryptonians. Batman and Superman are taking the fight to the Kandoorians; Batman wearing a similar tank suit to the one he wore in the Dark Knight Returns, and Superman wearing some leaden armor that makes him look like the outer shell of a Russian nesting doll. They dole out an especially brutal beating on a member of Quar’s crew, smashing his face against Superman’s chest plate. That’s when Carrie Kelly, now known as Batgirl shows up. This was a big deal in the solicit, and she’s featured on the cover, but it really doesn’t seem to make such a big splash. Like, call yourself Batgirl, Batwoman, Bat-Mite or Bats-a-poppin’, you’ve still got the same job more or less. And no one even acknowledges the name change, if it even applies. Carrie wears so many homage costumes that it’s difficult to tell if this is the real deal or just another gimmick. And that’s another thing: the costume is purple and green. Those are specifically Marvel Comics colors and usually apply to villains! Just what are you playing at here, Brad Anderson???

High above Gotham City, Quar, having lost the power of flight, is plummeting to earth and squealing like a stuck pig about it. On the way down he gets blasted with Kryptonite-infused lightning just to add to his humiliation. As Quar sputters invective from a rooftop, one of Batman’s Sons of Gotham takes aim right at Quar’s bald head and fires a shot—which turns out to be a sonic hologram of swarming bats, I think? It drives Quar loopy, and puts him right in range of a building where two floors worth of people are at the windows, with weapons trained and ready. They fire on Quar, he falls off of the building, and then Batman sends a flipping drone camera to film the humiliation, and probably to sell the video to WorldStarHipHop dot com. The video is instantly broadcast on several channels, and the people of Gotham City begin to rest easy because, considering Batman nearly levels the city on a weekly basis, they are clearly delusional. This brings Superman and Wonder Woman’s daughter Lara and her boyfriend Baal to the scene, and with the Kryptonite rain ended, it’s time for some payback!

Carrie Kelly is cruising along in the Batmobile, scanning for hidden Kandoorians, when Baal shows up and, with a clap, turns some guy’s head into tomato soup. For an encore, he incinerates an array of Sons of Gotham (the ones that dress like Batman!) with some heat vision. Carrie Kelly rolls the Batmobile to a head-on collision with Baal and—what does she think is going to happen?—Ball rends the front of it like tissue paper, in a panel whose composition is reminiscent of one in Dark Knight Returns. Batgirl leads Ball on a chase through some Gotham City alleyways, then turns around and fires a Kryptonite pebble into Baal’s eye with a slingshot, and this makes half of his face melt off! How incredibly awesome! While Baal flies away screaming, his head smoking, Superman and Batman survey their handiwork and behave like two people that respect each other. It was so nice to see, particularly since Superman was such an arrogant shitbrain in the Dark Knight Strikes Again (and let us never mention that particular title another time.) Just before Baal splits, he shoots an eye-beam out of his good eye into Batman’s chest, which seems to have killed him! For now!

I’m not going to lie, I expected to hate this series because I was so disappointed by the second volume. But…it’s pretty good. It’s crazy, for sure, and quite brutal at points. But that’s part and parcel of Frank Miller’s weird Batman universe. It all made sense to me and read sort of like a child’s revenge fantasy against some bullies. The artwork, clearly Kubert doing his best Frank Miller impression, is fairly well spot-on, and closer to the Dark Knight Returns than the Book That Shall Not Be Named. I will have to consume some humble pie here and confess that I enjoyed this issue a lot. Still, with the infrequency of publication, you would probably do just fine to wait for the trade collection and read the whole thing in one sitting.

Bits and Pieces: 

I will gladly eat my share of crow for having doubted this series, because I must say I am enjoying it quite a bit. One should put on their Frank Miller hat before reading, but once applied I think you'll find this is tonally in lockstep with Dark Knight Returns. The story itself is okay, perhaps not worth the cover price, but not an abominable rip-off either. And Kubert does a bang-up impression of Miller's artwork while he was in his prime. I still say you should check this out in trade if you just want to read a fun story, but that is more than I might have recommended when this was first announced. 



  1. Sorry Reggie, but I'm going to have to disagree with you...big time. I did NOT enjoy this issue at alll. it was just noise, and maybe it's cuz I was beat down by how dumb the previous issues had become(last issue made me drop this series all together), but this issue raised WAY too many questions. I would have given it a 4.


  2. DK3 seems to be one long action packed story in a typical Miller style that we are all familiar with. It is a fun read. Miller (even with Azarello) stopped breaking boundaries in comic book writing decades ago. And that is not a slight, since he was the legend who established a new Batman boundary to begin with. What I enjoy about this particular issue, (and the series as a whole so far) is that it does indeed to be working toward a send off tribute to Miller's Dark Knight and a passing of the torch to a new generation in Miller's world. And Batman is kick-ass right to the end.

    And as a Superman fan who always felt that Miller was overly harsh on Superman over the years, it's nice to see (what I view as) a more intelligent and sensible Man of Steel interact with Bruce. I love the scene where Clark basically tells Bruce (that despite what Bruce might think)he has always understood him. There is a sense of redemption in their relationship in the sense that despite all their differences and conflict over the years, it is their understanding of each other that has ultimately won the day. These two superheroes KNOW each other and most importantly the ACCEPT each other, (World's Finest)warts and all.

    1. I think the only reason Supes is being treated right is Azzerello's part in writing.