Story: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello
Pencil: Andy Kubert
Inks: Klaus Janson
Colours: Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics
DC’s recent re-visitation to the Batman: Dark Knight Returns is a book team-written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello (as it sounds, Frank Miller chats with Brian over his vision for the book and Azzarello writes the book while talking it out with each other) that actually takes place sometime after the first sequel, Dark Knight Strikes Again (DK2). At this point Bruce Wayne is supposedly dead with his Robin from the Dark Knight Returns donning the cowl and protecting the world. Superman has disappeared after the US had betrayed his trust and his Kryptonian daughter Kara now fights to save the world in his place. Frank Miller had built this great Batman universe in which had not been visited until recently with ‘The Master Race’ series. While DK2 was not well received (or visually appealing in my opinion) it still has laid the foundation for what DK3 is built upon and expanded upon. If you want to fully appreciate all the nuance and all that this book has to offer then I highly recommend reading the books that have come prior. The team that has been put on this new book is phenomenal and all have great backlogs of work with DC comics, with notable creative lead Frank Miller who has very much slowed down his production work these days.
DK3 is an approachable book and has much readability without having to read anything that has come prior. The first two issues of the new book have really felt like a warm welcome back into the world of Dark Knight visiting a lot of older things touched upon in prior books but also sets up the state of things in the world. Without spoiling anything, this latest issue #3 is where the story seems to kick into gear and Batman finds the world is in need of saving one last time. These single issues being released have had the main story that flows through, but each issue also features a smaller mini-comic inside that focuses on specific characters and catches us up on what they are doing in the world. This not only gives us a bigger picture but also perpetuates the story in a big way such as the mini comic feature in this week’s #3 which spotlighted Green Lantern and what he is up to during this crisis on Earth (not only are these cool reads but the mini-sized format insert comic makes for a special little book inside of your book). This issue’s villain goes to some drastically devastating places which sets the high stakes scale for this story and seems to be very powerful, almost too powerful for just one hero which leads to Batman setting off on an adventure to find the only person he knows who could save the world… Superman. Brian Azzarello’s writing is well thought out and refined with shimmers of Frank Miller shining through. The art as well as the panel work makes the story feel like the story is moving and captures scenes in really cool ways, much like multiple cameras on a sitcom.
This issue is a high point and absolutely the best issue yet. I would rate this book a 9/10 as it has everything you want and instead of dragging you through mud the story kicks in at the right time. There is no better time to jump in than now as this is looking to be a book that will be highly praised after it’s run. If you are more of a collector this series also features a hardcover collectible edition (with beautiful cover art by Jim Lee) that features the mini-comic in full page format and comes with a beautiful slip case at the end of this books run. This book is still fresh and early in its run so I highly recommend jumping on now and picking up the prior issues as they might be harder to come by down the road and you might be out of luck in picking up the single issues later. This book is certainly a gem you won’t want to miss!
~ T.J Head