Friday, 26 February 2016

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 Review (Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello)

The evil Kandorians (the “Master Race” of the subtitle) are free of their miniature glass prison and, thanks to The Atom, are regular-sized. Their nutso leader Quar tell Earth what they want (which is the same thing Donald Trump wants): to be worshipped as Gods! But don’t worry because pensioner Batman and unfrozen Superman are here to fight back the crazy with their own brand of angst! 

In issue #3 of Dark Knight III we finally get to hear from Bruce Wayne – but is that a good thing? This is from Bruce’s opening monologue where he describes his Batman combat strategy: “I wanted to take the punch. I thought that’ll scare ‘em. It was probably too many punches that put that thought in my head.” So… he’s basically Rocky in a Batman outfit?! 

Bruce and Carrie head to the Fortress of Solitude where we saw Superman in the first issue frozen for some reason. I don’t know how much of the writing Frank Miller is doing or whether Brian Azzarello is doing it all and Miller’s just plotting, but Miller’s well-known hatred of Superman and Green Lantern comes through very clearly in this issue. This is his explanation for why Superman is frozen: “He gave up, three years ago, after we nearly got this planet destroyed.” What?! That doesn’t sound like the character at all! Miller writes THE single worst version of Superman ever. 

The Kandorians show they’re serious and raise the stakes by having one of Quar’s kids do something nuts to the Russians (those bastards always get the shitty end of the stick – no wonder they’re so angry!). I really liked the dutch angles Andy Kubert used with the scenes between Quar and Lara – why shouldn’t the panels be skewed when they’re floating in the sky? Not enough artists take advantage of the full three dimensions when characters are flying, it’s almost always a linear perspective which is so unimaginative. 

The Kandorians’ demands are disappointingly generic and their campaign in bringing down social media was a bit laughable. Also that final page is supposed to be a cliffhanger but, seeing as it doesn’t make any sense, I’ma calling it what it most likely is: bullshit misdirection and therefore not very exciting.

The Green Lantern backup is the worst in the series yet. Art-wise the breakdowns are credited to John Romita Jr and the finishes to Miller so I don’t know who dropped the ball but yuck – that first page was DKII-level of art quality! A trio of Kandorian women take out Hal Jordan who, of course, is written as a flaming idiot who doesn’t know what he’s doing. I really wonder why Miller writes this character at all given his obvious dislike of him. Maybe that was the point – the continued piss-take of Green Lantern? Hmm. 

The third issue of DKIII is definitely the weakest one so far in a series that has only been mediocre at best. Still, the pieces are now all assembled so maybe the real story can begin? I do wonder what old Rocky Batman has in store for this army of evil Supermen – or maybe he’s taken too many hits to the noggin and hasn’t got anything up his sleeve? Wouldn’t that be a larf? Still, I’m hoping Bruce is going to have more to offer than Frank seems to.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3

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