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Review: The Dark Knight III: The Master Race #5

Dark Knight III The Master Race #5 coverBatman and Robin prepare for war with the Master Race, and an ally returns from an unlikely place… Things are looking grim for Batman, Gotham, and the people of Earth. But, like so many Batman stories before, Batman has a plan.

The Dark Knight III: The Master Race #5 is an interesting comic in that it has some cool moments, but there’s an emotional connection that just isn’t present. It goes through the motion as it builds towards its final page, but for me the reader, it’s just not enough to get me to say “fuck yeah.”

That lack of connection has plagued this third part of Frank Miller‘s Dark Knight trilogy. It’s an improvement over the second chapter, but so far there hasn’t quite been enough new or different to get me really jazzed. This is just an average comic.

The writing is interesting and how the issue progresses is nicely paced, but that special something is just missing for me. Even in that final panel, the reveal is just there. Miller and writer Brian Azzarello are going through the motions but missing that spark.

The art by Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson continues to be some of the best aspects of this series. The two evoke a style that’s reminiscent of what came before. What little cool factor there is exists due to these two’s art and what they present on the page.

Not sure what else there really is to say. The comic isn’t bad, it’s just not as good as it should be. It lacks that something special that existed in the first volume and was clearly missing in the second. It’s very readable and in some aspects entertaining, but modern classic, this one isn’t.

Story: Brian Azzarello, Frank Miller Art: Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert
Story: 6.95 Art: 7.8 Overall: 7.1 Recommendation: Read

Review: Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4

DKIII Master Race #4The Master Race will rise. Cities will fall. Bruce Wayne is dead. What will the heroes of the world do to save it?

DC Comics‘ big event, Dark Knight III: The Master Race has been interesting and this fourth issue continues what is a series that’s been big on ideas and themes and thin on some of their execution.

The latest issue dives into the battle between Superman and the Master Race of Kryptonians hellbent on taking over Earth. The issue feels a bit choppy right off the bat as if there was a slight skip between the last issue and this one. And for the most part the issue is a straight up fight between the zealot Kryptonians and Superman with Batman and the world at large watching on.

The issue has some very interesting ideas such as threats by terrorists, the impotence of not acting while an execution takes place, and surrendering your way of life to appease terrorists.

All of those things are interesting themes and topics worthy to explore and the one issue presents them all without much exploration. So, going by that, it all feels rather thin. The series written by Brian Azzarello and Frank Miller begin with a bit more of an exploration of some of these topics, but this issue and the previous one feel more like the setup before the giant climactic battle takes place. I hope we’ll see actual discussion, even for just a few panels, or hell one speech by Batman.

The art by Klaus Janson and Andy Kubert is as solid as it has been as I’d expect. Years later the comic feels right at home with its predecessors and the action feels brutal on the page. If you’re a fan of the art of the previous volumes, you’ll dig the continuation.

The series is about what I expected and continues its big on concepts, low on exploration of those concepts. But, that leaves a story that the readers can debate with each other and themselves. Honestly I expected a voice and perspective that hasn’t quite played out as I expected. A comic you can debate is a success in many ways, and I continue to look forward to see what’s to come.

Story: Brian Azzarello, Frank Miller Art: Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert
Story: 7 Art: 7.8 Overall: 7.1 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3

DK3 #3 CoverThe hardest thing for Batman is to admit his greatest strength: He’s just one man, and sometimes he needs help. With so much at stake, will he turn to help of the Super variety?

The Dark Knight III: The Master Race has been an interesting series for me so far. In the first two issues, and even a bit in this third one, we’ve seen flashes of classic Frank Miller, who is helped by Brian Azzarello on writing duties. While the first issue especially felt a lot like the original, this latest issue instead feels more like one particular work of Miller’s more recent years, Holy Terror. And it’s the similarities where I go back and forth on this issue and even writing this review, of mixed emotion.

For those not in the know, the last issue saw the freeing of Kryptonians trapped in the glass city of Kandor and it turns out those freed are religious zealots bent on taking over the world. That’s about what you need to know really, and you might guess where I’m going from here.

Holy Terror came out in 2011 and was filled with Islamaphobic dribble straight from Miller. The story was rumored to be originally a Batman tale that had the Caped Crusader going up against Al-Qaeda, and when rejected Miller reworked it. You can see the Batman influences as the main character is strikingly similar and “Catwoman” even makes an appearance. Knowing Miller’s views expressed in that graphic novel and elsewhere influences my reading of this latest issue.

The Kryptonian religious zealots can be read as stand ins for Islamic Jihadists down to their subjugation of the world under their religious dogma, use of suicide bombers, and some of the general wording. While Batman vs Al-Qaeda was rejected, Miller may have gotten his wish to have Batman fight Islam, only with a slightly more allegorical and veiled spin on it. For a series that began with a statement on police brutality, the shift in tone is noticeable and a bit fascinating. While I thought the series was going on way, it has shifted instead to be focused more on the rise of ISIS (a genie let out of a bottle), their rise to rule a geographic space, their fanatical devotion, and death cult world view that includes self sacrifice to achieve their murderous ways. The parallels are obvious and clear.

And when it comes to that, I’m not sure how I feel or what I think. Is it bad? Is it good? Is it somewhere in between? With one issue, it’s hard to say, but the issue is blunt with little nuance, and that’s where I think it fails the most. The bad guy’s motivation isn’t clear other than religious extremism. It doesn’t give us the reader anything new to think about other than a cartoonish simplified take of what Miller thinks ISIS is.

The art is the style we’ve come to expect where Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson, and Geof Darrow mimic a classic style that I personally enjoy. To me, it’s a style I’d have expected out of the British pulp adventures of the 80s and one that it’s much rarer to see today.

It’s hard to say if I had no idea of Miller’s ideological leanings how my views of this issue might have changed, but even without that knowledge it’s clear Miller’s focused on the rise of Al-Qaeda’s more insane offshoot ISIS now. I can’t judge the whole tale since there’s much to go, but this issue is a huge shift from the first two in its tone and what it’s trying to say. It’s one I expected considering how the last issue ended, but I clearly still wasn’t prepared for.

Story: Brian Azzarello, Frank Miller Art: Geof Darrow, Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert
Story: 7 Art: 8.2 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

DC Comics Shows off Dark Knight III #3 Variants

The third issue of the upcoming Dark Knight III introduces Quar, the renegade fanatic priest of Kandor. Unwittingly freed and restored to normal size by Ray Palmer, Quar and his acolytes stake their claim to the planet Earth and demand nothing less than absolute obedience from the human race!

All that stands in the way is a (seriously) hobbled Bruce Wayne and Carrie Kelley, and they’ll need serious help, so they’re heading to a certain Fortress of Solitude to get it…

In addition to Andy Kubert’s awesome cover, several fan-favorite artists have lined up to contribute their talents for several unique variant covers for Book 3 (see your local comics retailer for details):

1 in 10 variant cover by Scott McDaniel
1 in 25 variant cover by Klaus Janson
1 in 50 variant cover by John Romita Jr.
1 in 100 variant cover by Frank Miller
1 in 500 variant cover by Jim Lee

This third chapter is co-written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello, with pencils by Andy Kubert and inks by Klaus Janson. In addition to the Book 3 periodical on sale in February, the Collector’s Edition hardcover which publishes both the main story and the mini-comic (Dark Knight Universe Presents: Green Lantern) in a same-size “prestige” format goes on sale March 9.

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

Dark Knight III #2The unexpected finale to the Dark Knight saga continues as Carrie Kelly gets caught…that is, she finds herself…she gets into—well, you’re just going to have to read it yourself.

I loved the first issue of The Dark Knight III: The Master Race. It completely blew away my expectations for the series reminding me more of the first volume instead of the inferior second. This second issue stumbles a bit retreading scenes we’ve seen before in various forms and what feels like an issue that is going through the motions to get us to what comes next.

Carrie Kelly is caught, but where’s Bruce Wayne? Will the Atom succeed in his work with Kandor? But really to discuss what I have issues, I have to dive in to spoilers…. sorry!


The good of the issue is the build up of what Atom is doing growing the citizens of Kandor and what happens instead. There’s a twist I didn’t see coming, which is good, and you really get a feeling of dread as Ray Palmer realizes how much he’s messed up. I really got that sense off of the page, so that’s a good thing.

The other good is Carrie’s tale of what happened to Bruce and the twist at the end. That I enjoyed and I couldn’t tale if she was full of shit or not.

What I didn’t like is the extended breakout of Carrie and subsequent chase. The scene felt like something we’ve seen before, and for some reason reminded me of the pursuit of the Tumbler Batmobile in Batman Begins. I had the music from that scene playing in my head as I read the pages. And, it just feels weird to have her captured and then breakout so easily. Especially since it feels rather un-Batman like.

The issue as part of the greater story I’m sure is good, but on its own it stumbles a bit. Still, it’s enjoyable and I’m enjoying seeing what the team does.

Story: Brian Azzarello, Frank Miller Art: Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert
Story: 7.1 Art: 8.3 Overall: 7.1 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

DKIII Signing with the Dream Team at Midtown Comics

Only in New York City can you win a raffle to a Dream Team comic book signing that includes Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Brian Azzarello, and Andy Kubert; and meet an ex-con and an ex-cop on the same day. You just can’t make this stuff up.

I took my usual ride into Grand Central Station, NYC, via Metro North, and then headed to the subway. After jumping onto the #4 train, a pan-handler addressed us riders.  Correction (and in my over thirty years of riding the subway, this is the first time I have been asked for money in exchange for a book), a writer, who happened to be an ex-con, began marketing his book. The title of the book was ‘Changin Your Game Plan: How I used Incarceration as a Stepping-Stone for SUCCESS.’ For a mere ten bucks I was offered a freshly new minted autographed copy. It was the holidays and I was in a good mood–plus I can be superstitious about what I think are odd coincidences, given that I was on my way to a different kind of book signing–so I said fuck it, and the exchange was made. After all, the “game is the game.”

I haven’t read the book in it’s entirety (I read some of it on my train ride home), but I have to say, there are some really good anecdotes in there. Replace the prison institution and slang, with a corporate setting and vocabulary, and they are eerily similar. I highly recommend the chapters: ‘Playing the So-Called Game’,  ‘Staying Sucker Free’, ‘Reversing the Hustle’, and ‘Ballin a Budget’.  You can check the author out here: Randy Kearse.

Soon thereafter, the train railed into the Fulton Street Station, where I hopped off, and walked my way down to the Midtown Comics store. There I followed the standard instructions to wait in the around the corner alleyway for my ticket, and turn, to meet the Dream Team. I got there an hour early, which was great because I  had a good spot on line, but sucked because I had to wait a good hour outside in the cold. 20151219_150402To make the time fly faster, I struck a conversation with the guy behind me.  We hit it off. We talked about comic books, action figures, life, sports, the weather, the cold, and food. I then told him if he wanted to, we could meet at Sophie’s (a nearby popular Cuban franchise in NYC) after the signing to eat before we headed back home. I even showed him my newly purchased book, ‘Changin Your Game Plan’, and he got a laugh out of that.


Awkward Faraway Selfie

Not soon thereafter, we were called into the warmth of the comic book store, and we slowly made our way towards the signing table. I was sadly disappointed to find out that they were indeed strictly enforcing the ‘only two books’ rule, and no picture taking was allowed; but I did sneak in an awkward far away selfie (with permission).

I went with getting Frank Miller and Klaus Janson to sign my now no longer shrink wrapped leather bound copy of ‘The Complete Frank Miller Batman‘, and the Dream Team my hard cover copy of DKIII #1–both to be forever treasured.

I was then quickly and efficiently ushered out; and with my signed copies safely nestled in my backpack, I then went to get something to eat at Sophie’s.

I ordered my plate, and a few minutes later, my signing buddy arrived and sat with me for dinner. He then takes off his jacket, and I notice that his sweatshirt is embroidered with an American Flag, and underneath are the abbreviated initials ‘PBA‘.  Being an ex-New Yorker, and familiar with matters of the law (both sides of the fence by the way), I know that only two kinds of people wear clothing with those initials in NYC: Cops and those who donate money to Cops (via the Police Benevolent Association). So I asked him if he was a cop.  Turns out he is a retired cop, which got a silent chuckle out of me, since no less than 45 minutes ago, I was showing him a signed book I bought off an ex-con on the subway.  Only in NYC can such a thing happen.

Anyway, that fact didn’t really change anything, he was really a cool guy to talk to, and it made the signing that much more a pleasant experience (for the record we exchanged names, but I didn’t get permission from him to blog about this, so I’m not posting it and keeping it anonymous; I did give him my card with my email address, and if he ever does contact me, I may ask permission and update this post). After our delicious Cuban meal, we both headed to the subway, and went home for the night to watch the Jets game– with the score as of this writing 9 -10, Dallas’ favor. Go Jets! And thank you Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, and Midtown Comics for another awesome signing!

Miller, Azzarello, Kubert, and Janson to sign Dark Knight III: The Master Race at Midtown Comics Downtown

MIDTOWN-COMICS_logoMidtown Comics in New York City will be hosting an all-star signing event for Dark Knight III: The Master Race, with creative team Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, and Klaus Janson. This historic DC Comics event will take place from 4:00pm-6:00pm at Midtown Comics Downtown on Saturday, December 19th.

How to attend: Midtown Comics is currently running a contest for line tickets through Rafflecopter. Winners will be randomly selected, and fans can simply enter their e-mail address for a chance to win a ticket to this event. The contest will run from 12/04-12/11, and fans can find more information on how to enter here!

Winners will be notified on the afternoon of 12/11, and will be able to pick up their line tickets from a will-call list on the day of the event. Please be advised to dress appropriately for cold weather.

Comic book legend Frank Miller once again teams up with Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, and Klaus Janson for the latest addition to the seminal Dark Knight series from DC Comics. After the wild success of The Dark Knight Returns and its sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Batman is back yet again for the third installment in the new eight-issue series, The Dark Knight III: The Master Race

Fans can find more information on the signing event at the official Facebook Event Page.

Review: Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1

DKIII promo image SDCCThe epic ending you never saw coming is here because you demanded it! The Dark Knight rises again to face the dawn of the master race!

The hype has been building for quite a while, and we now are able to make our own decisions as the Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 has hit shelves. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was nervous and apprehensive going in to this first issue. Writer Frank Miller‘s recent output has been overshadowed by some of his comments, and none of it left a good impression. The question, would this first comic be more akin to his earlier work, or his scattered later work?

Co-written by Brian Azzarello (and it’s unclear how much each did), the first issue actually defied my expectations, reminding more of the Miller of old. Kicking off right away with a scene that not just sets the tone, but also creates a social relevance (and political gray area) that I wasn’t expecting at all. The comic immediately dives in to police brutality, media spin, and that sets us upon the path and discussion of whether “the Bat” is back.

Layered in is Wonder Woman, Superman’s daughter, and the Atom in a mini comic included which adds a lot to the comic. That all gets us to an ending with one hell of a spin that got me to immediately want me to read the second issue.

The art is top notch returning Klaus Janson to the fold and adding Andy Kubert in. The combination of the two makes the comic feel like the original and classic The Dark Knight Returns. There’s a couple of panels where it’s difficult to tell what’s going on, but overall, the two continue a cohesive look between the three volumes.

I’ll straight up say, I was floored by this first issue which completely surpassed my expectations and reminded me much more of the classic Miller comics I grew up reading. There’s been lots of hype building to this, and when I got through it all and to that last page, that hype felt warranted.

Story: Brian Azzarello, Frank Miller Art: Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

NYCC 2015: Dark Knight III: The Master Race Comes to the Con

The Javits Center’s Main Stage was the hottest spot in town Friday morning as fans finally got to hear the latest on Frank Miller’s final chapter of his game-changing Dark Knight Trilogy, Dark Knight III: The Master Race. DCE’s John Cunningham moderated a panel of comics’ cream of the crop: DCE Co-Publisher and artist extraordinaire Jim Lee, DKIII writer Brian Azzarello, DKIII artist Andy Kubert and inker Klaus Janson. Each of them discussed with fans how Frank’s work, both leading up to and including Dark Knight was such an influence on them.  Fans were also treated to some of the groundbreaking art from both The Dark Knight Returns and the sequel, Dark Knight Strikes Again.

With so much praise, his ears must have been burning, because Frank Miller himself made a cameo appearance as one of the panelists, to a fan-crazy chorus of cheers from those in attendance. He spoke at length about how this story was years in the making and how he plans to bring about a truly satisfying conclusion to this final chapter of the Dark Knight Trilogy.

Fans were then treated to early pages from Book One of DKIII, in addition to learning more about the mini comic that Frank Miller and Klaus Janson will be delivering as part of this 8 issue magnum opus. The first installment, Dark Knight Universe Presents The Atom, is included when the first issue of DKIII goes on sale November 25th and represents the first time Frank and Klaus have collaborated on a project together in nearly 30 years.

If you couldn’t make it to the panel, never fear, the gallery below includes interior art from all three titles, and the Atom mini comic!


NYCC Program Cover Reveal– DC’s Dark Knight III: The Master Race

ReedPOP has revealed the exclusive cover for this year’s program guide, created by DC and designed by Andy Kubert. The cover is a sneak peek at Issue #1 of Dark Knight III: The Master Race that comes out later this year.

In conjunction with the cover reveal, DC will also be doing the following panel at this year’s NYCC to celebrate The Dark Knight’s 30th Anniversary:

Friday October 9, 11:00am-12:00pm

DC Comics – The Dark Knight 30th Anniversary

Moderator: John Cunningham

Talent:  Jim Lee, Brian Azzarello, Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert

Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is one of the most important and recognized works in comic book history. In recognition of its 30th Anniversary, DC Entertainment returns to New York to celebrate the book that defined a generation. Joining in the festivities will be the amazing cast of top-notch talent, including Brian Azzarello, Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert, Jim Lee and maybe even a surprise guest or two, who are working on the final chapter of the saga 30 years in the making. Be here for reveals, revelations and exclusive artwork!  This is the once-in-a-lifetime panel you CANNOT miss!

NYCC 2015

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