The third installment in the Dark Knight series continues this week which follows up issue #6’s shocking cliffhanger. With the Kryptonites butts kicked and Superman in a panic, is it good?
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #7 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
Batman and Superman are back together again—but is their reunion too late?
Why does this book matter?
Frank Miller’s Dark Knight series goes down as one of the greatest of all time. Considering the darker tone we’re seeing in politics of late, nuclear proliferation going up, riots and acts of racism, I have a feeling this series will become more prominent in people’s minds. Enter this latest series, where riots have taken over Gotham and you can see the connection.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue is all about Superman rushing to save Batman whilst the bad guys regroup and plot their next move. It’s very much a fallout issue with a check in with heroes making it more of a bridge between the last issue and the setup for an all out war next issue. I’m getting ahead of myself here, but Azzarello, Miller, and Kubrick are building towards what could be a battle reminiscent of 300.
As is customary with this series, there’s a nice double page spread checking in with the local news media, celebrities (Trump makes an appearance!), and the texting that goes on in Gotham. The general pace of the issue is good as it cuts between characters. As Superman’s captions shows he’s becoming precedingly more freaked out, the cut aways add tension and immediacy to his predicament.
Kubert’s art continues to be strong, properly making Gotham look like war torn and in chaos. Later in the issue there’s a five page sequence with little to no dialogue which focuses on Superman attempting to save Batman. It’s heartfelt and meaningful due to the statues that look on in dismay, Superman’s sorrow, and the atmospheric glow. In another scene, with the Kryptonians standing amongst the clouds (a very cool visual idea), Kubrick does well to capture the monstrous nature of the Kryptonian leader as well as the incredibly cold nature of Superman’s daughter. These scenes will pay dividends when she gets her comeuppance next issue.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Every scene where Commissioner Gordon pops up feels forced or simply pointless. The age old, “Why do we do what we do” question springs up and there’s really no answer given. It also seems strange timing to even bring up a question like that and I’m at a loss for its purpose. Given the end result of Batman in this issue, all the tears and sorrow seem misguided too. Avoiding spoilers here, but if you want an emotional impact maybe don’t have the story reveal the things it does here.
The cut aways to other heroes, two pages in this book, don’t do much either. They seem to be there to remind us they matter to the story, but what is happening or why we should care is hard to see.
The mini-comic written and drawn by Frank Miller doesn’t help add value to the book. While the mini comic is a cool feature of this series, the story is forced. It seems to have Hawkman and Hawkgirl in it just because and is a strange obtuse story with no locales or environments. The characters walk about in close up revealing a deal with villains we don’t know or care about. The resolution seems to suggest big things for a classic hero, but it’s hard to care one way or the other.
Hey look, it’s Trump.
Is It Good?
Ultimately this issue is good, but not great. It bridges issue #6 to what could be a fantastic issue #8, though we’ll have to wait till March to read that! Still, the pace is solid, the art on point, and the villains are all kinds of evil.