This issue has more master race, more Dark Knight and a hell of a lot more Superman, but is it good?
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4 (DC Comics)
The official DC Comics summary is pretty vague and misleading. It reads:
The Master Race will rise. Cities will fall. Bruce Wayne is dead. What will the heroes of the world do to save it?
It was probably written way before the last issue was released because we all know Batman is not dead. So last issue Superman and Wonder Woman’s daughter is working with the “master race,” aka the Kryptonians of Kandor from the bottle. Superman faces her while Batman and Carrie, aka Robin, look on.
Why does this book matter?
You got to admit the team up of Brian Azarello, Frank Miller, and Adam Kubert is all kinda of bad-ass. So far it’s been just that, with event-level sequences, great art, and mini-comics in each issue drawn by Frank Miller. This all comes together in a package that must be seen to be believed.
A trippy opening.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with the Atom seemingly lost on the molecular level. This helps remind us not all is lost (or is it?) because he must get out of this…right? The issue is bookended with the Atom and it’s safe to say he might just be the main hero of this series. So far he has had a brief appearance and a focus in one of the mini-comics, but if this issue is any indication he’s going to be big as the story progresses.
Speaking of progressing, this issue does move things along much better than the last issue. Bruce is slowly getting into gear to be the Batman, Superman makes an important decision, and Gotham goes from status quo to complete chaos in 12 hours. Hell, even Wonder Woman gets a check-in, which helps move things along. The biggest revelation is seeing how Bruce/Batman views the solution to stopping the Kandorians. He knows they need Superman, but Superman is unwilling to fight his own daughter. It’s clear the pieces are being put into place for all the heroes to come together. In a lot of ways this series is building towards reminding us why the Justice League is necessary and that’s exciting.
Adam Kubert continues to do a fantastic job and DC knows it–just look at the last few pages in this issue which show just his pencils at work. They’re gorgeous. In some ways the colors take away from his ability–no offense to Brad Anderson who does a fantastic job throughout, but really the hulking beast that is Batman looks somehow better in black and white. Kubert does a great job with Superman fighting his daughter as well, with Supes going from left to right across the page in small panels that do well to show the speed and distance in play here. This all culminates in a full page spread of blood-soaked snow that’s perfectly disturbing.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The book ends with an appearance of Flash that completely perplexes me. He seems to be introduced so that it’s not a shock later, but why and what happens is confusing. It’s clear what happens after the fact, but how is confusing probably on purpose.
The mini-comic this time around is rather weak and doesn’t add much to the character or why she matters. She’s fighting off bad guys due to the actions in this issue and the captions seem to suggest she’s learned…something from Batman. What that is and why remains to be seen. Really, this mini-comic reads as if Miller just wanted to draw a female Batman with close-ups of her butt and lots of violence for violence’s sake.
Is It Good?
Not a bad issue at all due to some much needed story progression. Batman is getting on his feet while Superman does the opposite which makes for entertaining Dark Knight-style reading that’s leading somewhere, and where exactly it’s leading is slowly becoming clearer.