Dark Knight III: The Master Race returns with its third issue after being mysteriously absent in the month of January. In the last issue the Kryptonian city of Kandoor was grown to full size and an army of religious zealots sprang up to conquer Earth. Carrie Kelly has been revealed as the new Batman, because Bruce is too old and broken to keep up the fight. Issue 3 moves the plot a long at a faster pace. But, it does raise a lot of questions about the world this takes place in, and what has happened since the last Dark Knight Installment.
After Quar, the religious leader of Kandoor, grows he threatens the Earth with its ultimate destruction if they do not completely surrender to his demands. The Kryptonians show their power by becoming nuclear bombs and blowing up Moscow. Bruce Wayne realizes that he can’t fight this menace alone, so he goes to the Fortress of Solitude to get Superman out of a self imprisoned block of ice. This scene is actually one of the best scenes in the entire series, as Bruce painfully admits that he needs Superman’s help. It’s funny, and rather touching actually, but it’s keeping entirely in character.
As the leaders of the world meet to discuss the surrender, Bruce Wayne readies his army of Batmen (in designs similar to TDKR Sons of Batman) to prepare for war. This is where a few questions come up, specifically about what has gone on since The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Has this army always been there? Or did they disband for some reason? The previous two issues imply that it was just Bruce and Carrie Kelly. There’s also the question of what happened to Superman, and why he decided to freeze himself.
We’re getting to a point in the book now where these questions need to start being answered. However, this book does a great job of showing and not telling or explaining things through dull exposition. The pace keeps moving forward, and that’s certainly a good thing for a third issue of a limited series to do. However, some of the news segments are beginning to overstay their welcome. They’re not bad and help establish the world, but some of those pages could have been used to expand the story. But, none of this breaks the story or causes too much confusion. And there are still five issues to tell the story, so they have time.
The art is still amazing, and I think I won’t be using these reviews to retread what I’ve already said about Andy Kubert’s and Klaus Janson’s artwork. It’s beautiful to look at, has that same older Frank Miller aesthetic, and it’s wonderful to look at. The covers are fantastic, they all have a strong use of negative space, but also enough detail for the highlighted elements to pop out. The art alone is worth the price of the book.
So, overall, this issue propels the story forward, and raises the stakes even further. It’s a fun read, and still enjoyable. It’s fun to see Batman and Superman ready to take on the Kryptonian equivalent to the Westboro Baptist Church. The price is still very fair considering it’s a longer book than most comics, has no advertisements, and has a bonus story. So, this is still a book that should be on your list.
Speaking of that bonus story.
Bonus Review: Dark Knight Universe Presents Green Lantern
As the issues get released, a bonus story comes with them. This one is about Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern responding to the new threat on Earth. Unlike the other two issues that featured The Atom and Wonder Woman, I’m not a big fan of this one. Green Lantern is written as a very reluctant, and passive superhero who gets overwhelmed by three Kryptonians, who then end up taking his ring away. What’s bothersome isn’t Green Lantern being beaten by Kryptonians, it’s more the fact that he gets tricked by them. Frank Miller has never really seemed to understand Green Lantern, and that’s very apparent here. Hopefully he comes back in a later issue, but now it’s not a fulfilling introduction to this universe’s Hal Jordan. Luckily John Romita JR.’s artwork is really good, and nice to look at, but of the tie in books this one is the weakest.