Batman The Dark Knight: Master Race by Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson and Brad Anderson (graphic novel review)

Now how much to say about the plot of this mammoth book without becoming spoiler. This is some time after Batman and Superman battled in the previous older ‘Dark Knight’ adventure. Bruce Wayne is thought to be dead and Carrie poses as him from time to time. Superman has gone into a meditative mood in his Fortress Of Solitude and literally frozen over as he left the door open.

The people of the shrunken city of Kandor need help getting back to full size and enlist the Atom to see if he an enlarge them. Ray Palmer explains that he and Superman had tried before but failed but gives it another shot. The only problem is that when it works he enlarges a thousand people from a religious sect who want to take over the Earth and have humans worship them.

The Atom is squashed before he can do anything None of this is helped when Laura, the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman, picks sides as well and it ain’t us. There. I said it would be difficult to write without too many spoilers and that’s about a third of this graphic novel.

The original issues were spread over several comicbook titles and I suspect this way is probably the most economic to acquire the whole story although some of the parts look like sub-plots.

The story itself is more dependent on emotionalism, Miller’s forte, than explaining what is going on. It’s also set in our current time with the presence of a certain president when I thought the earlier two parts were set in the future. Don’t expect to see massive amounts of dialogue or even thought balloons. You have to work out much of what is going on from the actions. If anything, some aspects are far too simplified and you could put much of this story in a couple issues.

As I understand it, Miller’s ill health somewhat slowed down the scripting process and certainly when he has draw some parts himself it pales in comparison to the other artists involved in this multi-part story.

I suspect people will buy this graphic novel because it is Frank Miller and it is the third part of his previous two graphic novels featuring the older Batman. The artwork not done by Miller is very good. Whether it leaves an opening for a fourth GN remains to be seen.

GF Willmetts

September 2017

(pub: Penguin/Random House. 160 page graphic novel softcover. Price: £25.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-40126-513-7)

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