DKIII: THE MASTER RACE by Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, and Klaus Janson
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Overall, DKIII was more of a repetitive mess that tried to capture the essence of the original DARK KNIGHT book but missed hard. The third installment has finally ended and we're hoping that Miller will bring us backsoon.
58 %
Predictable? Or just setting the stage?
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The Last Stand

Finally, DKIII #9, the last issue in the dragged and drawn-out DK series is here. The creative team of Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, and Klaus Janson deliver the conclusion of DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE. The series is drawn out to nine issues and began back in November 2015. So far, DKIII seems to be more of a marketing ploy for exclusive variant covers and collector editions. The dull and unsatisfying story didn’t help the delayed manner of the release of each issue.

The miniseries included inside each issue were by far the most interesting points of the series. Brian Azzarello was the primary writer of this third installment of the DK series. Frank only took part in writing the miniseries and has said that the fourth story of the series will be helmed by himself. Heads up, there are spoilers below. You have been warned.

DKIII #9 — Lack of Progress

DKIII #9 begins with Quar ranting about how he’s the new God of Earth and how its people have left him disappointed. Quar and some of his followers have primed themselves as nuculer bombs to go off and destroy the world. Batman and Carrie Kelly are listening in on his broadcast on their way to him. Lara, hovering above, is confronted by three other Kryptonians for betraying her kind. A floating Green Lantern hand is shown and Hal Jordon comes to her aid. This new version of Hal is my personal favorite of the series so far. We saw him recover his missing hand and ring a few issues back in the vignette of DKIII #7.

Bruce is still shocked over being dipped in the Lazarus Pit and having his youth restored. It’s also quite refreshing seeing a younger Bruce in action again. On Quar and his Kryptonian followers’ approach, Batman pulls out an old trick that we all know from BATMAN: YEAR ONE. Sonic waves sent out from the Batplane summon a swarm of bats, surrounding the Kryptonians. Catching them by surprise at first but, in retaliation, they use their heat vision to kill the bats but also end up killing each other. Angered by the constant defeats, the remaining Kryptonians speak against Quar. Unknowingly their final words before trying to leave Earth, the other Kryptonians are burned to death by Quar and his four nuked out followers.

DKIII #9 Page 3

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #9 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Superman cuts off Batman and Carrie as they’re about to make their move. Clark steps forward to handle the last Kryptonians on his own. Batman realizes that Clark has been holding back his skill and strength this entire time, seeing that he’s making moves and blocking attacks before the other Kryptonians can even react. As the end draws close, Ray Palmer, the Atom, shrinks down Quar’s remaining followers until they’re too small to do any harm. Quar, being the only survivor, runs off to detonate himself and nuke Earth. Suddenly, Lara swoops up Quar and sends him into the sun before he blows.

Cut to some political jabs as we get the famous news reporting panels from every DK book. Flashing back to Batman in front of the Batcomputer, he’s curious why Superman has been missing for two months now. The young Bruce Wayne is fully suited up as Carrie Kelly approaches in a new suit, all black with a gray symbol, gauntlets, and boots. She tells Bruce to call her Batwoman now. The final page is the legendary splash of a lightning strike and Batman soaring through, but now alongside Batwoman.

READ: Need to catch up on the series? Start with our review of DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #1!

Good Things Come In Little Sizes

The final miniseries of the series is focused on the now young Batman and him fighting alongside Batwoman. Speaking his thoughts on them as heroes, as Gods, and what they aspire to be. An inspiring speech as each page shows members of the Justice League. As the narration goes on, we see the one-handed Green Lantern, Aquaman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and The Atom. Finally, we get to Superman, with Lara, preparing her to blend into the world, as Clark once did to learn more about us.

DKIII #9 - Variant Cover

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #9 . Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Creator Talk

First things first, the art of DKIII #9. Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson did a spectacular job of bringing this new chapter of the DARK KNIGHT to life. Kubert brought his own style but still managed to keep Miller’s influence. Miller did the pencils for the mini-books, which was great to see that he was still contributing to the series. Janson has been working with Miller quite often over the years, so his contribution brings back the classic feel of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

Lastly, the art, as amazing as it is, didn’t quite make up for the lack of story in the series. The repetitiveness of the Kryptonians just trying to destroy the world wasn’t the only issue. There were problems in moving the story along to get to a conclusion. The story played out over nine issues, but it’s a story that could have taken maybe half of that. The vignettes have all been interesting and give readers an in-depth look into the characters of the DK universe. The main story, even to the end, just didn’t deliver on its legacy.

WATCH: Want more on the creators of DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE? Take a look at our interview!

Overall

In conclusion, DKIII #9 was interesting, and probably the best out of the nine chapters. Hopefully, with Miller taking over the book for the fourth series, we can have a story that lives up the DARK KNIGHT legacy. Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson are really what kept the book’s success going. Along with Miller doing the miniseries, the art itself was completely worth it. As a result, even just collecting the variant covers, every book had some great and unique homages to the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

Overall, regarding the story, having a younger Bruce along with Carrie Kelly as his partner sounds exciting for a fourth volume. Lara learning more about Earth and human society, and maybe even a new Justice League forming, offers a lot of future storytelling potential. There’s still plenty of hope for the future of Miller’s DARK KNIGHT mythos.

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