Worlds Collide in Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4

Book Four of Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello’s Dark Knight III: The Master Race is upon us. Andy Kubert provides pencils while Klaus Janson inks the tale. While I was very skeptical after reading the first couple of entries in the new series, I’ve slowly begun to enjoy the continuing adventures of our aged super hero in “The Dark Knight Returns” universe.

In Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4, the Master Race will rise. Cities will fall. Bruce Wayne is dead. What will the heroes of the world do to save it? Gotham and the rest of the world is burning. What can Commissioner Barbara Gordon do to save her city? The world could really use a Batman right now!

Writers Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello spend most of Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4 having Superman bludgeoned by the people of Kandor as they knock him through one historic landmark after another all the way to the Fortress of Solitude in the North Pole. It’s a sight to behold as his own flesh-and-blood gets in on the butt-kicking and takes parental issues to a whole other level.

Penciler Andy Kubert does a stupendous job capturing all the action and drama Miller and Azzarello hand him in a visual form. He gives just the right amount of nods to Miller’s artwork while letting his own style shine through as well. If Miller isn’t going to do the art himself, I can’t think of anyone better to do the job and keep it consistent with the past two books in "The Dark Knight Returns" saga.

Dark Knight Universe Presents: Batgirl #1 is the mini-comic featured in Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4. Frank Miller lends his penciling talents to a story written by Azzarello and himself. It’s all action from the get-go as Batman’s female sidekick makes her way across town to the docks of Gotham with her precious cargo. It seems like the whole world is against her getting where she needs to be.

We’re provided five examples of penciled pages before they were colored as bonus material for Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4. It’s nice to see Andy Kubert’s handiwork before it’s covered in Klaus Janson’s inks and Brad Anderson’s colors. You get a tiny window into the different steps in the creative process of a comic book.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4 is rated T+ for Teen Plus. It’s the equivalent of a movie being rated PG-13 in my book. The issue contains bloody violence and some drinking. Nothing out of the ordinary for folks who have watched any of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.

As Dark Knight III: The Master Race unfolds before me, I’m beginning to warm up to it. I still wish the book was more concentrated on Batman than on Superman. Most of the focus of part four is on the Man of Steel and his family and foes. The series continues to feel more like a Justice League story than one about the Dark Knight. It does provide great entertainment which keeps you coming back to see how it’s all going to conclude.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4 is available in print and digital editions.

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