DKIII: The Master Race #5
Writer: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello
Artist: Andy Kubert
Inks: Klaus Janson
Colours: Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: June 27th, 2016
DC’s Dark Knight Returns sequel DKIII: The Master Race has reached past its mid-point in the 8 issue run just after the launch of DC’s Rebirth event. Holding this book in my hands I immediately notice how beautifully put together it is, with that fantastic “battle-of-the-capes” Andy Kubert cover and that great back cover portrait of Batman, donning the new DC logo which presents itself quiet/minimal while blending with the cover. It can’t go unstated that Andy Kubert’s design style and all around work on this book is top notch and a great revival of the Dark Knight Returns universe. I find the addition of a mini-comic inside a great way to get inside the mind of Frank Miller and fill in the story gaps you might discover reading the issues, I cherish the surprise of reading those. I do not mind paying a $5.99 cover price for these books as the money goes to good places and there are no advertisements inside to diminish the quality of the overall product. Issue #5 makes some great strides in storytelling with lots of reveals that finally starts letting this book live up to the Dark Knight Returns legacy.
The book finally feels like it is gaining some direction and building momentum towards confronting the status quo. The issue opens up with some insight on the status of Gotham city and what our heroes are up to. Gotham city is being lorded over by Quar Father and the Kryptonians released from the bottled city of Kandor. It would seem that while Lara fought against Superman in a moment of rage, she does not fully see eye to eye when it comes to how Quar Father and the Kryptonians are treating Earth and humans. It would seem that her Amazonian side is coming out as she can see that what the Kryptonians are doing is not justice. We are given a glance at the state of Barry Allen and as Barry comes to Bruce Wayne with severely disfigured legs Barry asks Bruce to fix him up or at least do something for him. What Bruce ends up doing with Barry is a very cool moment in the book that is a treat to see. The book also gives us a moment to see what Carrie Kelley is doing while we see her riding a squid underwater alongside Aquaman is an attempt to find Superman’s encased body left in the melted arctic where his Fortress of Solitude used to be, giving us a great moment of Carrie having an inner monologue giving us her thoughts on the wild range of events going on. While she is doing her inner monologue Aquaman begins telepathically talking to her which surprises Carrie blowing her mind more so than it already was. Carrie and Aquaman end up waking Clark out of his encased sleep where he awakes with a fresh conscious and in the right head space to fix what he let happen to Earth. Without spoiling too much more, what Batman ends up doing is bringing back the Dark Knight Returns Tank/Bat-Mobile which is very reminiscent of the original Dark Knight Returns books and the ultimate team-up ensues.
This issue does some amazing things, this issue truly showcases Batman’s behind the scenes work in motion as he has Carrie Kelley finding and bring Clark Kent back as well as fixing up Barry Allen for a very important task that Batman utilizes before heading into battle at the end of the issue. The end scenes right up to that special final panel was full of great moments where Batman’s clever plans come to flourish. This issue also has plenty of moments that remind readers of Dark Knight Returns and DK2 when it comes to classic moments almost being revived. One of my favourite moments was getting into Carrie Kelley’s headspace as she is with Aquaman and the dynamic between the both of them is priceless. Bruce Wayne getting back into battle is also quite different as Dark Knight Returns and this universe we have a Batman who is always on the verge of retirement/secretly hiding out pretending to be dead and it is a great redemptive moment with that final page with old man Bruce and old man Clark teaming up again. Bruce’s wide grin is very different from the typical Batman but it seems like with Bruce at the end of his days he is more confident than ever and is so sure he has a smirk as wide as the Jokers. Andy Kubert does some spectacular pencils in this book and it can’t go without mentioning that Klaus Janson’s inking because it really comes out with great brilliance in this issue how much great ink work goes into this book. Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello’s direction on this book is great as it really feels like a perfect addition to the Dark Knight Returns universe. Finally the book is shaping up to be a worthy sequel with many great unique aspects like the mini-comic insert in each issue that fleshes out the story that much more, revealing Frank Miller’s true intentions for the story. This issue was a 9/10 for me and has really refreshed my feelings towards DKIII as I was getting a little confused/bored of what was going on in the book. This book has just passed the midway point for the series and it’s still not too late to jump into this quality sequel, DKIII: The Master Race! Pick it up at your local comic shop today!
~ T.J Head