I was introduced to Frank Miller’s work in the 80’s when I was given some issues of Daredevil. His art is his own style, but his storytelling – the way he wrote and his panel by panel flow – drew me in and I became a fan. Back then I had to purchase most of my comics via mail-order with my hard earned cash (part-time job as a teenager), so I wasn’t able to collect much of Miller’s work. My next Miller purchase would be years later with Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
I liked Miller’s dark imagining of Batman in a not too distant somewhat dystopian future. Miller is one of the few Batman writers/artists I will seek out, Jim Lee being the another especially with his Hush arc (Amazing BTW. I highly recommend.) I’m not a huge DC Comics fan and currently only a regular reader of Saga (also recommend), but if Miller’s working on Batman, I’m excited.
I had first purchased Batman: The Dark Knight III: Master Race issue by issue (even picked up a few variants) but our local Hastings closed in the middle of the run, and I couldn’t gather enough of an order each month to warrant shipping costs from MidtownComics.com. I was thrilled when this hardcover collection went on sale during Prime Day!
DK: III returns to that dark future where Batman is old, and the Justice League disbanded. Even Superman is dark and brooding, all but given up on Earth and he chooses to sit frozen in his fortress of solitude. Baal, prince of Kandor, a Krypton city shrank down to the size of a terrarium as a means of imprisonment, takes advantage of Lara’s (daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman) loneliness and desire to know what it means to be Kryptonian. Together, Lara and Baal convince Dr. Palmer to use his tech to bring Kandor’s citizens back to regular size. But Palmer was deceived and instead released the evil know as Father Quar, and his followers who believe they are the “master race.”
The story is the classic tale of good versus evil. Each principal Justice League member is drawn into the fight in their own ways, not forming a team but most fighting individual battles, allowing each member to reflect on their perception of what it means to be a hero of Earth. The most significant character developments occur with Carrie (Robin, then Batgirl, then Batwoman) and Lana. Carrie realizes that she has more to offer as Batman’s partner that taking orders as a sidekick. Lana discovers she has a place on Earth and creates a connection with her father. #girlpower
The story is mostly drawn by Andy Kubert. To me, it feels like Kubert tried to mimic Miller’s style but actually ended up creating a pleasing hybrid of both their methods. Miller does take on pencils on a few covers and side stories with his bold lines and contrasts. Kubert’s cover work is terrific – particularly book nine’s duotone Batman.
I very much enjoyed this book, and recommend it to any Batman or Miller fan. A solid story with great art makes it a safe investment for the casual comic reader or collector.