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REVIEW: ‘The Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2′ is Deception, Death and Descent

 
TDKRIII 02 cov
TDKRIII 02 cov
TDKRIII 02 cov

 
Overview
 

Story by: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello
 
Art by: Andy Kubert & Klaus Janson
 
Colors by: Brad Anderson
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


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To sum it all up..

After the shocking “revelation” in the premier chapter, Frank Miller and Brian Azzarelo continue their narrative brilliance in another plot-twisting chapter of the Dark Knight III: Master Race #2. Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson serve as the artist and the inker, respectively. Similar to the previous issue, it has a mini-comic that is an equally […]

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Posted December 24, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

TDKRIII 02 cov

After the shocking “revelation” in the premier chapter, Frank Miller and Brian Azzarelo continue their narrative brilliance in another plot-twisting chapter of the Dark Knight III: Master Race #2. Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson serve as the artist and the inker, respectively. Similar to the previous issue, it has a mini-comic that is an equally important piece of the puzzle to the overall story of this another mind-boggling chapter that can surely make some readers scratching their heads and ultimately demand for more DARK KNIGHT next year.

This issue follows up the apparent subjugation of the successor of the mantle of the Dark Knight; alongside a brief mother and daughter dynamism and the biggest “mistake” one superhero ever committed, are tackled once again with such brilliance and eloquence primarily in the hands of Azzarelo because he is basically performing the majority of the storyline, with Miller’s direction and blessings. Examples for this case are highlighted in the exchanges of the commissioner and the prized-prisoner that illuminates the discipline, mastery and cadence of a true crime suspense novelist. What is more heartfelt here is the protagonist’s recollection with the final moments of the one and only Dark Knight that showcase something more human and even possesses an emotional pack since the original The Dark Knight Returns run. This interconnectivity is repeated in the mini-comic where the Amazon queen tries to reconnect the bonds between her and her daughter. Furthermore, some of the Brian’s dialogues reminiscence of his classic and seminal crime and noir tale, 100 Bullets, particularly in the thought-balloons of the said prisoner. For non-Azzarelo readers, his wordings can be tricky, if not subliminal, for these are utilized to convey something surprising and/or ominous which are exactly what transpired in the next pages, especially the emergence of another iconic imagery last seen in TDKR run. In other words, Brian maintains this great level of writing consistency and hopefully continues his narrative mark in the succeeding chapters.

Frank’s fingerprints in this issue are still visible regardless of the writing dominance that is Azzarelo. One, he loves to nitpick and parody the mainstream media, and that is exactly what this chapter pinpoints since the beginning of the new run, presenting the shallowness of the so-called experts and/or commentators around. Two, Miller is no fan of religiosity and he makes sure that his critical views on that regard is very clear. Upon the release of the so-called “Master Race” from its proverbial Pandora’s box, that superhero-scientist realizes the folly he commits, alongside the group’s leader’s fanaticism and the use of brutal force in fulfilling he and his pack’s objectives, particularly Earth. Third, his vision of some formidable women around; and this is especially true with Bruce Wayne’s heir apparent. Forget this misogynistic label and other feminist rhetoric for awhile and see how Carrie carries the legacy of the Dark Knight. The same goes with the Amazonians here, which Miller may show signs of mellowness or something like that. And, the underdog personas of the major characters are again illuminated with fervor in meta-critiquing the ruling establishments, and the perceived superiority of faith-religious-based that will directly clash in the succeeding chapters next year. Seriously, there are neither potty-mouths nor very graphic artwork that may offend some anti-Frank Miller people.

Andy’s pencils continue to shine here, almost replicating the Miller-esque feel from the entire TDKR series. The brutal confrontation of both the new and the old Caped Crusaders is actually ultra-realistic that one can feel the intensities they received and endured, such as the blood spilled and in one panel, tooth removed from a well-connected straight punch. Andy is very detailed in illustrating the physiological parts, especially in scenes on Bruce Wayne. Though he mostly leaves plenty of backgrounds empty or being minimalist, whenever the scenes dictate the background illustrations, he does that with finesse. One good example is the futuristic Gotham city skylight that is warm even during nighttimes.  And, the blood splattered in some pages which produce some vision effects that signify the rather unpleasant twists on the main heroes. Unlike the previous issue, however, the sequential paneling is definitely unorthodox to the extent that Andy could have experimented with his current sequential visual storytelling to another level. Honestly, his present form of interpreting the script is a little jarring to follow, though upon rereading this issue, I can get use to this kind of graphic narration. Klaus’s inking remains the same as the previous chapter, but the heavy utilization of inks are already seldom since the inker is dealing with Andy, not Miller. Regardless, the inks fit well with the artist’s homage to the Dark Knight legacies. The only messiest here is found in some of the last pages, which are appropriate due to the content and context of those revelatory scenes.  Consistency is the name of the game in this excellent issue.

Yet, some readers may find Azzarelo’s language here off-putting as I stated above. Seriously, it needs to be reread twice or so to comprehend his lingo. Moreover, it is clear that this series targets the follies of religious fanaticism and to some degree, dogmas about race superiority. Fickle-minded types and simply anti-Millers around are best to avoid this great revitalization. Nonetheless, Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 maintains the great level of consistencies the creative team delivers, particularly with Azzarelo, Kubert and Janson. There are certainly some twists and/or surprises along the way, but the bottom line here is that Brian and Andy truly respect the Dark Knight legacy and even elevating the ante to the next level; as what the final pages like to suggest.


Paul Ramos

 


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