Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 - DC Comics

Containing one of the most touchingly haunting Bruce Wayne death scenes imaginable, as well as an incredibly dramatic return of the Batmobile, Issue Two of “Dark Knight III: The Master Race” must surely have delighted its 158,188 strong audience, including the lucky 125 “dedicated” Frank Miller fans “(all chosen via lottery) who lined up in the rain outside [Midtown Comics] waiting to meet their heroes and get their Dark Knight III copies signed” in December 2015. Certainly its heavy focus upon Carrie Kelley’s brutal incarceration at the hands of Commissioner Yindel, its insinuation that the titular character died following the injuries he suffered “three years ago” fighting “a toad of a man”, and its shocking emergence of a fully-sized murderous Kryptonian cult from within the miniaturised city of Kandor, can only have reaffirmed the status of the mini-series’ Maryland-born architect as “a lightning rod for controversy”.

Fortunately, not only is this twenty-eight page periodical’s narrative somewhat contentious, it is also extremely well-written by Brian Azzarello, with the Eisner Award-winner’s handling of young Robin’s touching, final bedside goodbye to her “boss”, genuinely proving to be an emotional read. Indeed, the scene would truly have been a fitting end for the Caped Crusader as, semi-delirious, he slips away “taking solace from” the fact his parents died together, if this book’s ending had not made it emphatically clear that the restrained ‘Jane Doe’ had been dishonest in her recollection as to his demise.

Equally as impactive, yet a far more exhilarating experience, is the American author’s action-packed depiction of Kelley’s rescue from a prison transport by the heavily-armoured, formidable-looking ‘Bat-Tank’. This high-octane sequence is somewhat disappointingly short in length. But certainly makes up for its brevity by having Batman’s gigantic tracked vehicle arbitrarily crunch numerous police cars, fire all manner of (non-lethal) ordnance at its pursuers and breathtakingly propel itself across Gotham City’s largest movable bascule bridge.

Something of a minor disappointment however is this publication’s Wonder Woman mini-comic, which whilst amply demonstrating the friction between William Moulton Marston’s Amazonian co-creation and her half-Kryptonian daughter, does so by populating the entire miniscule magazine with a somewhat tiresome ‘mock’ fight scene; something that perhaps a simple panel depicting a defiant obstinate-faced Lara would surely have sufficed in doing..?
Story: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello, Pencils: Andy Kubert, and Inks: Klaus Janson

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