Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 Review (Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello)


Bruce Wayne is dead. Long live Batman? 

Except he’s not. And that’s why the start of this second issue cheesed me off a bit - of course Bruce isn’t dead! There’s no Dark Knight book without him so why are we spending a third of the issue on this water-treading pretense? 

But there’s an extended interrogation sequence at the start between Commissioner Yindel and Carrie Kelley (who’s been masquerading as Batman) where Carrie spins this yarn about Bruce’s boring bed-ridden death. 

There’s an ok action sequence that follows this as Carrie’s being transported to Blackgate where the Bat-Tank is reintroduced and is as fearsome and unwieldy-looking as ever. The scene is a little predictable and not terribly exciting. 

The best part of the issue was seeing the titular Master Race appear. Ray Palmer (The Atom) is working with a Kandorian scientist and Lara (Superman and Wonder Woman’s daughter) to expand the bottled city of Kandor back to its regular size. Once Ray pulls it off, oh boy, has he let the genie out of the bottle, or more accurately hundreds of evil Supermen! Nice going, Ray, you irresponsible dick! 

The coming conflict is what I’m looking forward to in this book because in the original Dark Knight Returns, Bruce barely held his own against Superman - one Kryptonian. Here, it looks like an even older, more crippled Bruce Wayne is going to take on hundreds, if not thousands, of that same foe. Can we say Kryptonite Atom Bomb? No, I’m sure it’ll be cleverer than that, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out. 

The Atom’s mini-comic in the first issue feels less special now I know the format is being applied to all characters in the DCU appearing in this series. This second mini-issue within the issue features Wonder Woman and Lara as they practice duel. Yeah, it’s not too interesting. There’s a little friction between a mother and her teenage daughter but isn’t there always? Eduardo Risso’s art is great though and imitates Frank Miller’s art style like Andy Kubert’s does in the main story. 

The second issue of The Master Race has some good moments but still feels kinda slow, probably to stretch it out over, what, 8 issues? I guess DC have to do something to shorten the gap between them and Marvel, so this’ll have to be their Star Wars! But it’s a controlled and steady build-up that hasn’t gone off the rails yet. Can’t wait to see them wheel out Bruce in the next ish - go on, ya old coot, take your heart pills and fight the alien gods! I get the feeling Carrie’s story will have an element of truth to it by the end of this series...

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2

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