Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tragedy Revealed in Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2

DC Comics’ Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 is upon us. Writers Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello give us the next chapter in the highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed “The Dark Knight Returns” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” Andy Kubert pencils the book and Klaus Janson brings each panel a definitive texture filled in by Brad Anderson’s vivid coloring.

Carrie Kelley has been captured in Dark Knight III: The Master Race. The GCPD wants to know if the real Batman is alive. Is our aged Caped Crusader still among the living and running things from the dark recesses of the Batcave or has he shuffled off this mortal coil? Meanwhile, the Atom continues to search for a way to resize the Kandorians and bring them into the world.

Disappointment is not what I had in mind when I delved into Dark Knight III: The Master Race. As the story moves forward, it seems to be rooted more in "The Dark Knight Strikes Again" than "The Dark Knight Returns." Everything happening in issue #2 is Superman-centered when it comes to the main storyline and establishing the villains of the book. With the general consensus being that "Strikes Again" was far inferior to "Returns," I was hoping for something focusing more on Batman, his villains, and getting back to the root of things in his world.

As an added bonus to Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2, readers get the 16-page Dark Knight Universe presents Wonder Woman #1. Writers Miller and Azzarello give us background on the rivalry between the Amazon goddess and her daughter Lara. Art for the mini-comic is provided by Eduardo Risso, who does a good job channeling Miller’s art style while bringing something of himself to the table as well.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 is rated T+ for Teen Plus. I’m still puzzled as to why it’s given this rating. There’s really nothing much outside of the normal content we find in the Batman or Detective Comics monthly titles. It contains violence, gore, profanity, and frightening and intense scenes.

Let me make myself clear. I’m not saying the tale Miller and Azzarello are telling is necessarily bad. It's just not what I craved when cracking open Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2. I feel like I'm reading a Justice League book instead of one centered around Batman. If the comic were titled "The Justice League Returns" I wouldn’t have such an issue.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 is available now in print and digital editions.

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