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.