Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4 - DC Comics

For those of the 143,055 readers who bought this book and weren’t actually fans of Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster’s Kryptonian creation, Issue Four of “Dark Knight III: The Master Race” must arguably have proved somewhat satisfying with its depiction of the daughter of Kent beating her father up “tirelessly”, “ceaselessly” and “mercilessly.” Certainly the ultimately bloody and seemingly fatal sequence is savagely reminiscent of Kal-El’s gory demise at the hands of Doomsday in the 1992 comic book storyline “The Death Of Superman”.

Yet whilst Editor Mike Carlin’s enormously successful plot showed the Justice Leaguer valiantly dying in order to save Metropolis from “The Ultimate”, Brian Azzarello’s portrayal of the Big Blue Boy Scout’s downfall appears infinitely less meaningful as the “shame of Jor-El” impotently allows himself be beaten to a pulp by his angst-ridden daughter, and subsequently leaves the entire world vulnerable to the homicidal machinations of Quar. Such a chillingly paternal sacrifice at the hands of one’s child may well have been a noble, even heroic, gesture on behalf of Clark Kent’s alter ego, but it hardly succeeds in ousting possibly the greatest threat to the planet so far seen in storyteller Frank Miller’s acquiescently bleak ‘alternative’ universe.

Indeed, all Superman’s end really causes is a very real threat to the titular character’s life as the triumphant Leader of the Master Race of Kandorian cultists turns his attention “to more pressing matters” and gives the people of Gotham City just thirty-six hours to hand over “your Batman” or “one of my children will cleanse this Earth of you.” A situation which is made doubly dire by Wonder Woman’s determination to stand by the disagreeable decision made by her love, humanity “collectively”, and her own daughter for the Amazonian Queen not to interfere in the affairs of the modern-day world...

Somewhat more encouraging and hearteningly less dour, is Miller’s writing for this twenty-three page periodical’s mini-comic “Dark Knight Universe Presents: Batgirl”. Featuring Bruce Wayne’s “accomplice” Carrie Kelly, this short but garishly coloured tale follows the lime-green and pink attired heroine battling her way to then end of Gotham City Pier through a horde of enraged citizens. Enthusiastically drawn by the Maryland-born penciller, this narrative once again provides the title’s audience with plenty of physical evidence as to just why the Caped Crusader has selected the young female Robin as his successor, and additionally features a nice cameo by a sea-beast riding Aquaman too.
Story: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello, Pencils: Andy Kubert, and Inks: Klaus Janson

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