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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 6 comics last week: Black Panther#3, Avengers #11, Darth Vader #22, Spider-Man #5, Dark Knight: The Master Race #5 and Grayson Annual #3.
The best comic I read last week was Dark Knight: The Master Race #5.
This issue of The Dark Knight III: The Master Race does not play as though it takes place in the widely celebrated “Dark Knight Returns” universe and that is a good thing. It seems that writers Brian Azzarello and Frank Miller decided, with this issue, to tell a superhero story complete with vile villains and valiant returns, tamping down the social commentary that has come to mark Miller’s works and ramping up the heroics. Good choice.
The mess that was DK2 left a bit of a blemish on the masterful Dark Knight Returns. I was worried, as the first half of DKIII played out that the same was going to be true here. The series was much improved over its immediate predecessor, but it seemed to be having a hard time finding its bearings. With the fifth issue, that is no longer the case.
We have a Batman here who is seasoned and purposeful, a Superman who is heroic, a villain who is savage. Miller and Azzarello dish up a comic book here, without pretension, without irony but with massive helpings of heart stirring dramatics.
Thank you for this!
It’s been hard to remember in the intervening 30 years since its publication that The Dark Knight Returns was a great Batman comic before it was lauded as a great Batman deconstruction. Dark Knight III: The Master Race has figured that out and seems to want to serve up a great Batman/Superman story before it’s all over and done. I hope that’s the case.
Without question, the star of the series up until now had been Andy Kubert on pencils. His visuals recall Miller’s iconic work while making it Kubert’s own. In this issue, he really shines and I love that his Superman IS Superman. Kubert doesn’t shy away from making the character larger than life, he embraces the task and when Superman is ready to battle, the look on Batman’s face is the look that most comic fans, perhaps disappointed by this summer’s Batman v Superman film, shared. The look said: Bring it on.
I am glad that Miller and Azzarello seem to be bringing it on as this series rounds the turn for home.