It’s finally here. The comic book event of year – DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE – promises to be your pull list’s newest addition. This series marks the epic conclusion to Frank Miller’s DARK KNIGHT trilogy, yet it’s something more profound. It’s the opportunity to see two of the biggest names in comics – Brian Azzarello and Andy Kubert – play in Miller’s sandbox of grit and grime.
Although this story is conceived by Miller and Azzarello, it is the latter’s voice that resonates. This is Azzarello playing with Miller’s toys. The toys that DC COMICS has lent to Miller over the years. And you know what? No one should be complaining. We’re all in for some fun.
Azzarello’s take has many highlights. The parodies of “real life” Media figures in conjunction with their commentaries on Batman echo Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Wonder Woman shines. But Azzarello’s emotional beats are the pulse of this narrative. The visceral moment Lara, Superman’s daughter, laments to her father’s frozen body shows us how she feels displaced. And the jaw-dropping cliffhanger reveals a bloodied, Bat-suit-wearing Carrie Kelly dropping to the ground as she utters: “Bruce Wayne is dead”.
Kubert may have just produced his masterwork in homage to Miller. Yet, the veteran entirely maintains the intangibles that have made him the living legend that he is. And thanks to Klaus Janson’s inks and Brad Anderson’s colors, Kubert’s illustrations strike a chord. Make no mistake about it, a careful eye will reveal that Miller’s visual aesthetic is referenced and honored, but it’s no secret that this book has its own identity.
DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #1 seems to be building to something big. And just as it deserves, this series is getting the grand treatment. Miller’s 16-page DARK KNIGHT UNIVERSE PRESENTS: THE ATOM #1 mini comic found inside BOOK ONE is an awesome extra and expands on the DKU. It’s a must-read. Pick up a copy. Hold it in your hands. And you will feel the gravity. This experience is definitely worth the price of admission.