This is a spoiler-free review of DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #1 which goes on sale on Wednesday, November 25.
One thing that made DARK KNIGHT RETURNS such a fantastic book was more than just that it was Superman and Batman fighting it out. The book was a reflection of society and what it could head towards to. Almost three decades later, we have DARK KNIGHT III, which hits on all those same tones and themes once again. We're still presented a world where television pundits are arguing on television and those voices seem to overpower everything else. Vigilantes are still being hunted by those sworn to protect the people.
DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #1 feels like you're coming home to the house you grew up in. It's familiarity and something new all at the same time, but what really makes this first issue work well is that readers don't have to be uber-knowledgable with all the nuances of the previous two series. DKIII actually works well for those new to this universe, as a stand-alone issue. It doesn't over-explain anything that's going on, but the first issue does set this world up incredibly well. Obviously, readers new to the Dark Knight world will want to go back and read the rest, but this first issue doesn't alienate new readers.
The writing team of Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello is the perfect match up for this book. They're both two incredibly iconic storytellers whose writing style compliments one another. It has the same type of flow the original book had. Obviously, when reading part three, it's hard not to compare it to the original, but this issue, on its own, feels good. It's a fun and intriguing read that shows a lot of promise for the future of this mini-series. It doesn't have the impact I would have hoped it had, but it has more than enough to keep readers invested in future issues.
The stand-out aspect of this first issue is the art of Andy Kubert with inks by Klaus Janson and colors by Brad Anderson. Artistically, this is a phenomenal team for the book and Kubert does a great job at capturing Frank Miller's original work, while adding his own flair to each page. It's a bit strange to see Kubert's style taking heed from Miller's original art, but that really adds cohesiveness to the overall look and feel of the world, connecting it to the previous issues. In addition, Janson, who worked on the previous books, gives the book more connectivity by really doing some quality inking work.
DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE offers a solid and entertaining read. It didn't blow me away, but it shows an immense amount of promise for greatness. Miller's world opens up even more as Brian Azzarello steps in to work with him and the artistic team is a wonderful fit for the first issue. DKIII doesn't feel like something that's trying to be DKR. It is its own story that pushes this world forward. If you're a Batman fan, then this is something you need to pick up on new comic day.