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5 Things That Need To Be Explained After Dark Knight Returns III #1

Written by  Published December 14, 2015 05:15
Back in late 2012, I had the chance to read the 1986 Frank Miller-written comic book miniseries landmark Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (also known as "DK I"), which I have to agree is one of the best Batman works DC Comics has ever published up to date despite being set outside the dimensions that make up the legacy of mainstream dimension settings within the DC Universe continuity (you know, going from Pre-Crisis Earth-Two to New 52's Earth-0/Prime Earth). I mean, it had a great narrative and version of Bruce Wayne that looked kinda' scary but awesome.

While I never read the miniseries' 2001 sequel Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again (also known as "DK II"), I first thought I would never see the Dark Knight Returns Universe again after discovering on the internet that the New 52 Multiverse's Earth-31 (home of the sea pirate versions of Justice Leaguers) is not synonymous of the Pre-New 52 one (which happens to be the DKR universe itself, but I knew that from researching the 2006-2011 DC Multiverse online), until months ago, I heard word that Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello teamed up to write the 8-issue miniseries The Dark Knight III: The Master Race (also known as "DK III"), which I decided to tune in to for two reasons: 1) to see more of one of the greatest dimensions from the official DC Universe saga, and 2) to celebrate the coming of the anticipated 2016 live-action film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (although it will be set outside the DCU canon). Unfortunately, the premier issue turned out to be much of an epic fail. So here at ENR, I reveal the 5 dull things about the launch issue itself.

 

1) The Hero of the Story is Nowhere in Sight

DK III 1 Flaw 1

The first part of a good multipart storyline or novel must always include the presence of its protagonist as the whole tale is to center around what the protagonist himself or herself is up to as he or she seeks to accomplish the goal in question.

Although DC Comics indicated that this miniseries is about a version of Bruce Wayne, the Bruce Wayne of this miniseries' universe of setting is nowhere to be shown on page, nor is there any explanation of where is or what he is up to. The premier issue only shows his batsuit, which gets taken out of a case by a sidekick of his, but I have to be honest when I tell you I was fooled to think at first it was the miniseries' Bruce Wayne taking the costume as I read the opening page's monologue (the whole "there's no such thing as a good death" thing).

Bottom line is without the hero first confirmed before miniseries launch being present in part 1, readers will feel lost over who the real star of the entire miniseries is.

 

2) No Explanation of Why The Super-Hero Attacked The Cops

DK III 1 Flaw 2

Usually, the first chapter of a Batman storyline brings in a crime for the Batman of story focus to solve as well as to determine who is the perpetrator.

However, while this shows whoever is in the batsuit is fighting the police officers in Gotham, nothing is mentioned of what they did to drive her (yes, it's a her) to go after them in addition to the crooks the police take on. Basically, it's all action and no explanation behind the root of the situation.

 

3) No Explanation Behind The Miniseries' Superman's Imprisonment

DK III 1 Flaw 3

One of the big mysteries the premier issue of DK III features is the imprisonment of this miniseries' Superman inside what appears to be an ice tomb inside the Fortress of Solitude. Kryptonians are

supposed to be stronger than humans, even strong enough to break ice. So why is he just sleeping inside ice? Did he lose his powers before being frozen or did just insist on having someone freeze him while having powers in attempt for him to answer for sins not mentioned on page? I don't what it is, but all I know is that his daughter Lara, apparently the Supergirl of this miniseries' universe of setting, finds him there with no explanation behind his current state, but it's possible I'm missing something since I have never read Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again.

 

4) The Citizens of This Miniseries' Gotham City Still Have Long Way to Trust Their Batman Again

DK III 1 Flaw 4

When I first read Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, it was clear at the very beginning that there was a situation that caused the American general public to turn against their dimension's Batman and the super-heroes on his side. Apparently in the premise issue of DK III, the Gotham citizen's of this miniseries' dimensional setting have learned nothing from past terrors enough to rebuild their trust in the super-hero who has always stood up for their well-being; they still label him as someone who is as morally corrupt as the super-villains.

Worst of all, the Batman impersonator jeopardizes her life for the ungreatful, which is sick.

 

5) The Main Situations Share No Common Link

DK III 1 Flaw 5

Normally, an entire issue of a comic book series intends to stick to a theme that is presented from start to finish. However, while this launch issue features three main situations (Gotham's antagonism towards its Batman, the imprisonment of Superman, and the beast hunt performed by Wonder Woman, neither of them all appears to connect to one scenario, nor provide detail on the upcoming event that will unite all the main super-heroes of this miniseries or pit them against each other. For instance, the scene of Lara finding her father makes no reference to how she's dealing with what's going on in Gotham or even on the island where her mother (that's Wonder Woman in the story) is doing her hunt.

If you ask me, it's like watching an episode of an American sitcom like Family Guy, except that much of the episodes in that show are each self-contained in regards to premises and let its situations maintain both a root and resolution.

 

Wrapping up

As much as I like Frank Miller's style of grim 'n gritty storytelling on film and in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, I am disappointed by the weak start that was given to The Dark Knight III: The Master Race. Basically, it presents situations with more plot holes than explanations behind the issues. It's like reading a book that is missing some pages. Hopefully, the plot holes will be resolved as there are seven issues left to go in the miniseries' run. Thanks for reading, and see you next time.

Christopher Arnold

Meet Montreal Island-born fanboy Christopher Arnold. He is a fan of a number of things: comic book action/adventure heroes (the superhero kind included), science-fiction, horror, Japanese Animation, action figure collecting, cosplay photography, and fan art. While his main column focus at ENR is action/adventure storytelling (regardless of if it includes sci-fi, horror, fantasy), when it comes to reviewing/analyzing material, whether it be comics/graphic novels, film, or even television, he is the kind of person to avoid judging a work of fiction by time of release and by nation of origin (and that's part of his moral code). Also, he's not afraid to admit if he finds comparison between two unrelated media properties. While he enjoys serving you, the readers, he's not the kind to show his true face on social media (so PLEASE, RESPECT HIS PRIVACY).

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