cover image The Dark Knight: Master Race

The Dark Knight: Master Race

Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, and Andy Kubert. DC, $29.99 (392p) ISBN 978-1-4012-6513-7

Miller’s 1986 graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns is one of the seminal postmodern American comics, its stylish, gritty take on Batman forever altering the way superhero stories are told. The widely panned 2001 sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, was slapdash and self-indulgent, but at least an original punk riff on the previous comic and its imitators. For the third installment, Miller teams with a squadron of more grounded creators, primarily writer Azzarello (100 Bullets) and artist Kubert (X-Men). The result is a reasonably coherent and attractively drawn story that continues Miller’s vision of Batman’s later days. In a still-crime-ridden future Gotham, former sidekick Carrie Kelley has taken over for the elderly Bruce Wayne when superpowered Kryptonian cultists invade the Earth, bringing the old Justice League out of retirement and forcing Lara, the rebellious daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman, to choose a side. It’s a competently executed comic book that lacks either the lightning-in-a-bottle brilliance of Returns or the neon-saturated looniness of Strikes Again. It’s the last thing anyone could have expected from a Miller Batman comic with a Nazi reference in the title: forgettable. (Oct.)