Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 Review


Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3

Story by: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello / Pencils by: Andy Kubert / Inks by: Klaus Janson / Colors by: Brad Anderson / Letters by: Clem Robins / Cover by: Andy Kubert & Klaus Janson / Variant Covers: Jim Lee, Scott Williams & Alex Sinclair, Frank Miller & Alex Sinclair, Dave Gibbons, Klaus Janson & Brad Anderson, Jill Thompson

“Relevancy”, “escalation”, and “greatness” … Those are the three quick words to describe Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3.  An even-keeled story that sees the villains rising to power and our heroes preparing for a battle of the ages.  I was quite pleasantly surprised by how much Frank Miller pulled back on this issue, yet kept the thrills and tension extremely high.  The story is very clean-cut with no ambiguities other than the theme of “make up your own politics.”  Goals are clear and the art clearer.

I was really impressed with this issue of Dark Knight III due to its subtlety.  Not that I’m against violence or gore.  In fact, I’m usually the one to push for it.  I’m impressed by how much was conveyed with so little — so little gratuitous violence, so little dialogue, and so little conflict.  Usually, when either of these three suffer, you lose your audience.  Writers are taught that every page’s purpose to make you turn to the next page.  The team of Frank Miller, Brain Azarrello, Klaus Janson, and Andy Kubert dial every one of those qualities down, but the feeling of anticipation for the next page is higher than any issue in this series.

The story is an allegory, of course, to our own current world situation.  It’s clear who these zealous invaders represent.  In my introduction, I said that the theme was “make up your own politics.”  I may need to clarify that.  The story clearly represents Miller’s politics and his point-of-view of the enemy, but the onus of how this problem can be solved is up to the reader’s own politics.  That’s what I meant by “make up your own politics.”  However, we’re not drudged down by too much philosophizing.  The writers get right to it and give our protagonists an active forward momentum push.

READ MORE > Dark Knight III: Interview with Artists Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson

In the end, we’re left with a very clear line of heroes and villains.  Superman is not the self-righteous heel he was set up to be in Miller’s past work … well, that remains to be seen for now.  But I can say that the Man of Steel’s initial reentry here is great.

The best way I can describe the art is with the word “symmetry.”  If you look at every page and every panel, you see a perfect balance.  Whether it’s lines or colors, there’s a certain harmony to everything.  No one page is light, and no one page is too heavy or chaotic.  It’s a journey of balanced visual storytelling.  Kubert and Klaus make a really great team for Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 and the overall series.  Kubert’s lines and character figures are evenly proportioned and have a great perspective style.  And Klaus’s inks really pop off the page.

I have to say that Klaus’s abilities really shine when scenes call for a needed glow or explosive light.  For example, the President’s meeting with the leaders of the world, and Superman presenting himself anew.  The shadows and light hitting off each curved surface lends a soft vividness that’s both an homage to the past days of “flatter” coloring and the more recent “hyper-realistic” look.  So props to Klaus for his handy work.  We recently had an interview with Kubert and Klaus, and Kubert mentioned that he performed really loose pencils to let Klaus shine.  I can very much see that in this issue.

Next: The Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 Review

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 tells a very well-balanced story that shows just enough politics to let us relate to it.  The pacing is very even and there are no slow areas.  The art is just as equally balanced with some very nice renderings where shadows and light dominate.  Leaving on a page which is both optimistic and a cliffhanger, this latest issue in the Dark Knight saga is a can’t miss for any lover of comics.