The Dark Knight III: The Master Race

The Dark Knight II: The Master Race – Frank Miller/Brian Azzarello

Sixteen years after publishing “The Dark Knight Strikes Again”, and thirty-one years after his ground-breaking first Batman run with “The Dark Knight Returns”, Frank Miller returns to The Caped Crusader with THE DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE.

I’ll be the first to say that The Dark Knight Returns is pretty much flawless – it completely re-energized and revolutionized Batman for the modern age and its influence can certainly be seen in the decades that would follow.  When I heard that Miller was going to return to his Dark Knight universe in 2017, I was cautiously optimistic.  It seems that whenever a creator decides to return to a property that he or she created decades prior, the results are generally a mixed bag (I don’t expect much from Ghostbusters III, to be honest, although Bill & Ted III was pretty good).  In this instance, I think I was right.

First things first, my opinion may be a bit skewed here.  I thought I had read The Dark Knight Strikes again, but according to Goodreads, I hadn’t marked it as read.  When I took a brief glace at the plot of the book, I think it’s safe to say I missed this one.  Which, judging by its general reception, that might have been a good thing?  So, I suppose that would explain why I had no idea what the hell was going on for most of this book.  Or maybe I just had a hard time following the plot.

I can safely say that I don’t have a problem with Frank.  I’ve read many of his books over the years and rarely have I come out on the other side with a bad taste in my mouth, but this one just didn’t do anything for me.  I really didn’t care much for the off-shoot stories that were inserted in between the main issues of The Master Race storyline.  I get that they connected, but they felt like filler and I would literally groan when I would see one was about to begin.

The bottom line is that I feel it’s too difficult to take something as iconic as The Dark Knight Returns and try and build sequels on it.  The expectations are too high.  Maybe that’s not a fair thing to put on Miller, who feels he had a story he wanted to tell, but I feel like it’s especially true in this case.

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