Writer: Adrian “Prophet Alpha” Murphy
With The Dark Knight III: The Master race, readers are given the opportunity to revisit the alternate world of an aged, battle-weary Batman/Bruce Wayne that was originally created by Frank Miller in 1986 with The Dark Knights Returns.
The fascinating aspect of this take on Batman was he was a darker, crueler Batman than we had seen in the monthly comics. Frank Miller’s Batman was now in a world in turmoil like we had never witnessed before. Batman had to approach crime and justice more aggressively, because of his age.
The DK III is a continuation of Miller’s work from the original Dark Knight Returns and Dark Knight Strike Again. This time around, Brian Azzarello is doing the main story and majority of the plotting. Miller contributes with inclusion of a mini-comic series within the main books.
Azzarello does a great job of recapturing the feeling of Miller’s original plots from the previous books. The art by Andy Kupert is a respected interpretation of Miller’s style from the original Dark Knight stories. Miller’s writing and drawing style has diminished with age, which is evident in the mini-comic submissions that act as companions to the main story done by Azzarello, but the mini comics does succeed in helping lay the plot for the massive story that is DKIII.
Once again, a great supporting cast of characters help make this book a spectacle of anticipation regardless of the delays that continue to plague this book. Superman, Wonder Woman and their daughter Lara, now a head strong and powerful Supergirl, comprise the main cast along with Carrie Kelley supporting the battered and aged Batman.
The story focuses mainly on the Superman family and how Superman has exiled himself from the world by locking himself in his fortress of solitude. The story also explains how Wonder Woman has raised and trained Lara to be a warrior on the Island of Themesacra. Lara has an attitude of Superiority over lesser species because she has the combined power of a Kryptonian and Amazon warrior.
The story of DK3 deals directly with the consequences of The Dark Knight Strikes Again. The Kryptonians of the shrunken and bottled city of Kandor have been inadvertently restored to rightful size and released from their bottled city by the Atom. They discover a large population of Kandorians have been murdered by a religious cult within Kandor led by a maniac Kryptonian named Quar who has hundreds of super-powered fanatics with the power of Superman.
The Kandorian cultist seeks revenge against Superman because they believe he has done little to help free them from their bottled prison. They seek revenge against Batman because of the torment they suffered in the previous Dark Knight Strikes Again story. So, you can imagine the concern Bruce has for the demands of conquest from an army of crazed and cultish Kryptonians that has been unleashed upon the world. Bruce knows his only hope is to convince the reclusive Superman to come out of exile to help deal with the threat of the people from his home world.
The leader Quar has managed to persuade Lara to their cause of superiority and reason for ruling the weaker humans of earth. Bruce has convinced Superman into the fight, but Superman is shocked and useless when he discovers Lara has joined the cult and attacked her father at the will of Quar.
Superman, beaten and not fighting, is trapped in a cocoon of black matter and frozen in the wasteland of his former fortress of solitude. Now with Superman disposed of, Quar and his followers have demanded that Batman be turned over to them so that he may face their justice. What will an aged and battle weary Batman do against an army of Supermen? Well that remains to be seen, but Bruce has dispatched Carrie on a mission as Batgirl to seek the aid of Aquman, which is smoothly plotted in the Frank Miller’s written and illustrated mini-comic companion.
The story slowly builds up to what I believe to be an Epic continuing story to the dark Knight story. With only four issues released, and expectations of further delays throughout the summer, the dedicated reader and fan of this series will anxiously wait. While it may lose some audiences because of its schedule shortcomings, I believe it’s worth the wait.