DC Comics

iReview: DKIII – The Master Race

Now that most of the world has delved back into Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight” I can say with reverence “no spoilers ahead”!

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The expectation around the third part of graphic novelist and artist Frank Miller’s latest chapter of his opus dedicated to the legend of the Caped Crusader should come as no surprise. Eager collectors have been foaming at the mouth at the revelation of the multitude of “alternate covers” accompanying Dark Knight III: The Master Race without knowing much else about the story.

There are many in poplar circles that would contest, the original Batman: The Dark Knight Returns prestige format 4-issue series didn’t need to become episodic. If anything, Miller’s set ended very solidly with a definite end game for the Bruce Wayne’s Batman, having negotiated to keep the peace with the world at large and not stir things up. He contrives a plan to fake his death and moves operations into the Batcave.

Inevitably a sequel would follow.

At the conclusion of the lukewarmly received Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again readers were left with a perrifial look at where Bruce Wayne’s legacy had lead him and his place in a world that had mostly lost its way. The 3-issue series also examined the placement of the other heroes including Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash in how they related to now living relegated to a world that regarded heroes as a threat.

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A cover gallery of Frank Miller’s original Batman: The Knight Returns epic.

After all in his quest to seek justice, Batman inspired a movement and a social consciousness in his descipiles in stark construct to perhaps the Man of Steel, who truly came the closest of all the superheroes in the league pantheon to resemble a “God on Earth”. How that was validated upon by the likes of Wonder Woman, who had born Superman a daughter, and yet Bruce had accumulated more of the glory, did not sit well with her.

Especially not when Batman’s actions would directly impact the already emotionally taxed Man of Steel, who was being held ransom by his villainous arch enemies.

Batman’s legacy meanwhile was preparing to move onto the very able and capable hands of the latest “Robin” to sport the familiar tights and yellow cape, Carrie Kelley had herself stepped out of the Batman’s cave and endeavoring to adopt an identity of her own, interestingly one based on one of the Dark Knight’s most enduring and popular rogue’s Catwoman. Carrie becomes his chief lieutenant in his fight.

Freeing Ray Palmer/the Atom and Barry Allen/the Flash from imposed captivity and giving them a new mission, Batman along with his soldiers, including the Green Arrow are poised to save a planet that is beyond corrupted, but in effect face not only some of the most dangerous villains, there is also a society that doesn’t want to be rescued.

At mission’s end DK2 appeared pretty cut and dry and the Batman was “dead” — for good, this time, but enter the third chapter like any good trilogy and it looks like the stakes are much higher this time. When DKIII: The Master Race opens up the streets of Gotham City are still facing corruption, but emerging from the darkness is a familiar avenger — the Batman is once again on the hunt!

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An unfinished page from DKIII: The Master Race captures the drama in play in one of the more intense moments in the first issue.

Many still perceive of him as a myth, and he’s been out of commission for a significant enough time that his return is being questioned, when Commissioner Yindel learns her GCPD is giving chase to the caped and cowled assailant, when she arrives on the scene, after the “Batman” has taken out several of her officers, Yindel unmasks the vigilante and reveals the true identity of…Carrie Kelly!

In a brilliant move, Miller’s prologue to this new chapter, reveals very much a world that still needs its caped avenger, but to what end. This is the first time in the lineage of the story that an entire universe is being elaborated, which is leading audiences to believe that Miller plans a story of epic proportions in DKIII and will hopefully explain he eludes to in the subtitle and reveal who exactly are the Master Race.

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