Fun fact: DK III #1 was the highest selling comic book in the month of November with 440 thousand sales. Using some simple math, 440K times $5.99 an issue equals 2.6 million dollars. From a single issue of a comic book! People are interested, but that doesn’t make the title automatically worthy…so is it good?
The Dark Knight III: Master Race #2 (DC Comics)
Last month we learned Carrie Kelly was donning the cape and cowl by way of her kicking cops’ asses. She was hauled in though, which is where this issue begins. Meanwhile The Atom is attempting to save Kandor by growing them to human size. Considering this series is subtitled “The Master Race” something tells me that’s a bad idea.
Why does this book matter?
440,000 people can’t be wrong! Plus Writer Brian Azzarello is taking a story by Frank Miller and doing something very poetic. This isn’t conventional comics by any means. Hell, the very product on the shelf is unconventional as each issue contains a separate mini comic inside with a focus on another hero entirely.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is the kind of reading that requires you take your time, ruminate a bit, maybe even read it more than once to truly enjoy it. Take for instance a phrase that is used, “God willing,” that later pays off on the big twist at the end. I hadn’t noticed it originally, but after reading this issue a second time I caught it and instantly made me realize there’s a bit of brilliance going on here. Azzarello also seems to be saying something indirectly with Kelly in the opening pages, making the entire sequence more of a message than a purposeful set of panels and dialogue. Combine this with the intriguing dip into where Wonder Woman stands in the mini comic within, and how that ties into the bigger plot, and you’ve got yourself one of the most complex and adult reading experiences on stands today.
The mini comic and how it interacts with the bigger story of Kelly and Batman are also interesting. The previous mini comic delved into The Atom, who gets a much bigger role in the larger issue here, which makes me wonder if Wonder Woman and her daughter will play a larger role in issue #3. If that ends up being the case that makes this mini comic serve as a sort of forced tie-in that pays off by carrying parallel stories that belong together but aren’t necessarily required together.
Now that’s dramatic.
Adam Kubert continues to do a fantastic job with the main comic, delivering some intense scenes of loss and pain in the part of Kelly. She’s gone through a lot and subsequently grown up quite a bit and Azzarello leaves it to Kubert to convey that via imagery. In a lot of ways this comic works as it isn’t directly saying anything, which means Kubert needs to do more and he does so by showing less. It’s hard to describe, but there’s a minimalism that’s poetic.
Meanwhile Eduardo Risso draws the mini comic set on Paradise Island. He draws Wonder Woman in a sleek, strong and uncompromising way that suits the character very well. His lines remind me of Miller’s work although his layouts are much more conventional looking.
It can’t be perfect can it?
While the veiled sort of storytelling makes the reveals earned and matter more, many people are going to be frustrated with the obtuse opening scene. What is Kelly even talking about? It’s confusing on purpose which makes the reader feel almost stupid for it.
Is It Good?
This comic is slowly revealing its hand and in doing so reads in a poetic and extremely dramatic way. It pays off for readers who want complexity in their comics and it’s incredibly exciting since this isn’t seen every day. If the creators behind this book can stick the landing and deliver a climax we can only dream of this might go down as one of the best works of superhero fiction in some time.