Dark Knight 3: The Master Race

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Though Frank Miller famously had Superman and Batman squaring off against each other, it’s nice to see them back on friendly terms and fighting the good fight together … against an implacable and overwhelmingly superior enemy, no less.

The first half dozen issues of Dark Knight 3 have come across a bit disjointed. This is an alternate universe and events are not quite the same as those of the universe most readers are familiar with and so it takes the average reader some time to gain their footing.

This isn’t helped by the fact that while simultaneously changing up the status quo, Miller depends upon the reader’s familiarity with Superman and Batman lore. For example:

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

In issue six of Dark Knight 3, Batman is slain. Issue seven commences with Superman rushing Bruce Wayne’s lifeless body to a pool somewhere, where he dunks him, and then Bruce Wayne miraculously lurches out, resurrected!

In the back of my mind, I recall that Batman had an enemy named Ra’s al Ghul (and I had to look up the spelling for that) who gained immortality via some sort of mystical pool called the Lazarus Pit.

Is this the same pit that Superman uses to save Batman’s life. I think so … but I’m not sure, and no explanation is given in the pages of Dark Knight 3 issue 7. Frank Miller leaves a lot of space for the reader to fill in the gaps. And, from a writer’s point of view, I wouldn’t suddenly introduce a mystical pool capable of resurrecting people only at the time when a hero needs it. The background for this mystical pool should have been laid long ago at the beginning of the story … otherwise, it seems to the reader that the author is cheating.

Frank Miller, it seems, is depending upon readers to be familiar with the works of previous Batman authors so that it doesn’t appear he is cheating by introducing a heretofore unmentioned miraculous cure.

As for art, Andy Kubert fills in, doing a marvelous impression of Frank Miller. It seems that Andy Kubert is like the Josh Reynolds of the art world. Josh Reynolds is capable of transforming his writing style to match the genre requirements and Andy Kubert is capable of matching art styles. If I remember correctly, I recall him also doing some X-men work in the style of Jim Lee.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have the legendary Klaus Janson inking your work.

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In contrast to the high-quality covers and paper that are used for the majority of these publications, each issue contains an interior, detachable mini-comic illustrated by Miller, which are made with cheaper cover stock. These contain stories which relate in some way to the central story, but it is not always clear how until somewhat later.

-Joel Jenkins
Author of Weird Adventure Fiction

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2 thoughts on “Dark Knight 3: The Master Race

  1. Your memory doesn’t fail you about Ra’s Al Ghul and The Lazarus Pit. Ra’s has used it a number of times to come back from the dead. The Lazarus Pit has been part of the Batman mythology ever since the 1970s. Most recently it’s shown up on TV’s ARROW where it’s been used to bring back a couple of cast members from the dead.

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