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Review: Dark Knight III: The Master Race #6

dktmr_cv6_ds-1We’re a few issues away from the end of this intense mini-series and Dark Knight III: The Master Race #6 doesn’t disappoint or slow down the story train one bit. When things left off we the team was giving it all they had, all hell was breaking loose and, there was sense of urgency and anything goes mayhem in the Batcave and beyond its walls. Members of the team were falling seemingly as soon as they showed up for their cameo.

The rise of Quar and the rest of the aliens hell bent on earth domination, is upon us and no matter what the heroes of Gotham and the adjoining cities throw at the onslaught of baddies, the war is far from over. But, this time around the humans are ready to join in the fight en masse and there is still hope. Superman is still rocking his Kryponite proof suit and Batgirl/Catwoman/Batman is ready to give it all she’s got, even if it costs her her life.

Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello give us one hell of a story. There’s war, behind the scenes plotting and, a humanity taking a stand of sorts. It’s a compelling read with a load of action, some sadness and , a whole lot of sacrifice and love. Miller and Azarello deal with the complexity of the characters by showing them in all possible emotions and states. They showcase the strength of the fallen, the loyalty of those who remain standing and, the fight of those affected by the fall out not yet ready to kneel.

Andy Kubert‘s art adds another layer to the story. His artwork matches the tone of the story and the pace of the fight. There is so much attention to detail and there is no line wasted.

Overall issue #6 was a perfect read, it propelled the fight and current story arc forward. As a stand alone issue it’s still solid and stands up but, as part of the whole it is a perfect piece as this storyline winds down. With a few more issues to go before the end of this series, this issue gives us something to look forward to and, a team to root for when everything comes to an end.

Story: Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello Art: Andy Kubert
Story: 8.7 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Dark Knight III: The Master Race # 6

dktmr_cv6_ds-1“Blame it on the Kryptonite rain”

So where to get started on this one? Well, admittedly to me Frank Miller‘s original The Dark Knight Returns is the greatest comic book ever created. However after reaching that pinnacle he has never seemed to quite get back there. With each and every project announced that ties into this world I get my hopes up, waiting for a flash of greatness. Then each time, well let’s just say it’s how Cleveland Browns must feel every season.

This time around the story had a great opening first issue and I thought finally we are getting back to the spirit of my favorite Batman tale. Well after the very cool cliffhanger with Carrie Kelly aka Robin, aka Catgirl, aka Batman, it shortly fizzled out. The mystery of whether Bruce was dead (after all he’s like a billion in this series now) and Carrie was truly carrying on in his stead was very intriguing.

Fast forward to this issue. What we have is a surreal scene with the Kandorians (formally a peaceful people, now all monstrous warlords, seriously not one good one) falling from the sky as a result of Batman’s acid Kryptonite rain attack. Yes you heard me, acid Kryptonite rain. Believe me, the explanation is beyond ridiculous. It does look cool though.

So now we have Batman and Superman (Shaped in armor that looks like himself) ready for a cosmic show down. At least Bruce seemed to have raided Ben Affleck’s closet and got his armor back. Don’t worry if the odds seemed good enough they are now joined by Bargirl, the latest neon alias of Carrie Kelly.

The issue from there is just one big throw down with the Kandorians versus the norms. Oh and to boot Superman’s daughter Lara is fighting to bring down Earth too. It’s pretty abundant that Frank Miller has horrible disdain for the character of Superman since he tortures him and bastardizes him every chance he gets. No one does cranky Ol’ Bruce better than Miller though.

The remainder of the issue is a smash up brawl ending in a very weird cliffhanger that is reminiscent of the original The Dark Knight Returns story. With a few more issues to go, will they have the guts to actually go through with that cliffhanger, or is it total view bait and switch? At this point it’s truly hard to care one way or another as the story has been all over the place. If the prior issues were written better it would have much more of the punch it needed but as it is, the twist just misses the mark.

With a few chapters left, I’m not quite sure this book can do the turnaround it needs. On the plus side Andy Kubert is putting out some tremendous eye porn and has the feel down perfect, just doesn’t get to shine like it should due to the hack writing. Of course, as a Batman completist,  I will see this one to the end. However, I’m sure this will be my last stop in Millerville for quite some time.

Story: Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello Art: Andy Kubert
Story: 5 Art: 8 Score: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Early Preview: Dark Knight III: The Master Race #6

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #6

Written by: Brian Azzarello, Frank Miller
Art by: Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert
Cover by: Andy Kubert
Variant cover by: Greg Tocchini, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Klaus Janson, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Klaus Janson, Frank Miller

Is Gotham City ready for a new Batgirl?!


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.

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