DARK KNIGHT III: the MASTER RACE #1 (of 8)
“Book One” (28 pages)
Story by: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello
Pencils by: Adam Kubert
Inks by: Klaus Janson
Colors by: Brad Anderson
Letters by: Clem Robins
Covers by: Andy Kubert & Klaus Janson; Jim Lee, Scott Williams & Alex Sinclair; Frank Miller & Alex Sinclair; Dave Gibbons, Klaus Janson & Brad Anderson; Jill Thompson
[blank variant also available plus 72 retail incentive exclusives!!]
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
It’s all about the ladies!!! You read that correctly. Batman is nowhere to be seen. Oh no! Spoilers 🙁
After an unspecified hiatus, the Big Black Bat is running rampant through the mean streets of Gotham giving its finest the pounding of their lives. This is not unnoticed nor can it go unpunished. News spreads like wildfire and the media frenzy is worse than a pack of hungry wolves. Commissioner Yindel is approached by the Mayor’s rep to address the issue. Vigilantism will not be tolerated. The Commish has been misquoted and seems to have softened a bit. NOT!!
Wonder Woman takes down a Minotaur/Centaur hybrid. She is fiercer than ever. It’s completely understandable since she is now a mother lugging around her baby boy Jonathan. She is so overprotective that she almost impales one of the Amazons for offering assistance. Her scheduled match with daughter Lara is inadvertently postponed.
Lara, offspring of the Power Couple, returns to the Fortress of Solitude. She seeks answers to her heritage and status in the world. Her father Kal-El sits on his throne entombed in ice. The Bottled City of Kandor etches a most urgent message.
Throwdown with the Bat-
Man!! A manic chase only ends because the Dark Knight chooses to ditch the motorcycle in an alley. Barely atop a fire escape, the cowled crusader descends among the shock troops. Fists of fury do not account for a careless maneuver: a bullet grazes the shoulder of the cloaked crimefighter. Gotham’s protector falls and that’s when the payback begins. When cooler heads have prevailed, the Miranda rights are given. The unmasking takes place. It’s…….
Yindel arrives at the most opportune time. She instinctively knows something is amiss. She takes a swing at the beaten Bat and demands Bruce Wayne’s whereabouts. Beneath the cowl is Carrie Kelley!! She informs the Commish that Bruce is no longer on this plane of existence and collapses.
If you’re actually upset that I spoiled things, get over it!! Early reviews as well as Howard Stern’s overzealousness already ruined the fun. Luckily, I steered clear of all those things until today when I bought the hotly-anticipated issue and maniacally read through it cover-to-cover. The rise in interest also stems from the creative input by Frank Miller. Many speculate that Brian Azzarello is the sole scribe with Mr. Miller simply overlooking with his complete blessing. One other item that has caused constant chatter: the complete trilogy is now a tetralogy.
I iterate my first statement: this initial chapter features nothing but females, all strong in their own way! Elements from the previous two installments Carrie over [natch!]. There is plenty of time to expand on the plot threads.
Mssrs. Miller & Azzarello heighten the mystery behind Gotham’s greatest urban legend made reality. The Bat is just a Man in a costume who takes the law into his own hands. Until his re-emergence, he kept his distance and wrath from the police. These men hoodwinked the citizens (myself included) into thinking Bruce Wayne was on a rampage. Once the cowl is lifted, the motive is clear but there is no explanation.
Regarding the sub-title of this maxi-series, some interpretations apply – it could refer to the Amazons, the Kandorians, a newer class of Mutants, or women ruling the world!! Wonder Woman is more of a force to be reckoned with than ever before. Secluded from the outside world, widowed, and undergoing a second motherhood, she could undo the human race. Lara is her super-powered (literally!) daughter whose teen angst makes her volatile. Mourning the loss of her father and cementing her identity are a two-tiered focus for her. Commissioner Yindel is one tough cookie to be in her current position. Gotham is the sleaziest metropolis of the DCU, the city without hope especially with the Bat in absentia. She stands by her policy of abiding by the law. Something major happened to Bruce to set off Carrie. She is grief-stricken, enraged, and sloppy. Wearing her mentor’s uniform isn’t enough to honour him. She will have to find a better way to continue the everlasting mission.
Adam Kubert knows how to perfectly position the Batman. There is the defiant stance, the predatory patience, and the unrelenting attacks. Remaining in the shadows is the most effective way to strike terror into the cowardly criminals. The remaining women exude confidence, determination, and passion.
Klaus Janson gives elegance and grace to the Bat. Instead of being engulfed by surroundings, the silhouettes are distinct and ominous. If one happens to spot DK, one is in for a world of trouble and hurt.
Brad Anderson dazzles us with Carrie’s dance into darkness. The raging red comes through the inevitable blood splatter. It is telling for Wonder Woman to wear black around the gold. This reflects her widow status.
Clem Robins had me strain my eyes with those text messages. The different coloured background didn’t help much. His rendition of the news reports is also notable. He lost it with the constant WHACK delivered by the GCPD.
This is but a teaser. It has succeeded in making my head spin. I demand to know the fate of Bruce Wayne!! The fast pace, the shifting of scenes, and the building intrigue have me rate this 8.5 out of 10. Come back to us, Bruce. Please!!!
DARK KNIGHT UNIVERSE PRESENTS: The ATOM #1
Story by: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello
Pencils by: Frank Miller
Inks by: Klaus Janson
Colors by: Alex Sinclair
Letters by: Clem Robins
Cover by: Frank Miller & Alex Sinclair
Ray Palmer is most introspective. He is over the heartache of his wife having left him. The world of science provides him much solace compared to complex emotions. He is aware of Batman’s capture and imprisonment. This makes him reminiscence on the early days of the Justice League and how he walked among the venerable Trinity. There really are no more heroes. Ray was more scientist than super-slugger. Someone has gained unlawful entry into his lab. He pulls out a semi. The sight of a miniature man intrigues him. Lara surprises him with the bottled city of Kandor. Ray is caught off-guard. One of the Kandorians was set loose to relay a message. Kara informs the good doctor that it is time for the citizens of Kandor to regain their actual size. You fill in the blanks.
NOTE: this is a 16-page mini-book smack dab in the middle of the squarebound format. I don’t know if this was intentional or coincidental, but for the even-numbered pages, Lara’s face is predominantly featured in the ‘background’ of page 14 in the main story. Plus, these mini-one-shots are integral to and expand upon the main story. No occurrence is random. This is the most clever marketing move yet!! It is kind to our wallets and lessens clutter since a separate series need not be published 😀
There is no disputing that the man ‘behind the scenes’ is front and centre with his artwork. Mr. Miller revisits one of many supporting cast members from DK2. Ray’s size-changing provides different perspectives. The Atom encountering another microscopic man is surreal. Those mini-panels fit accordingly.
Mr. Janson is Frank’s right-hand man is many ways. There is a sharp contrast to this tale. The Atom may be able to shrink in the blink of an eye but details are always more important.
Alex Sinclair respects the Tiny Titan’s dual colours. There is a nostalgic feel to a character created over 50 years ago. Lara is an interesting mix, especially the clash between purple and red. Those two simply don’t mix, dahling!!
Clem gets to make text message magic. Aside from that, what the heck did Ray mutter when Lara announces her presence?? The same goes for the Kandorian. Not even a magnifying glass helped me decipher 😐
It is unknown how many other characters will be featured in these compact books but there is a definite follow-up for this first chapter. I’m hooked more by this tidbit!! I rate this 9 out of 10 molecules 😉
This review brought to you by my abso fave local comic shop:
Tags: Alex Sinclair, Batman, Brad Anderson, Brian Azzarello, Dark Knight Master Race, DC Comics, Frank Miller, Klaus Janson