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Saturday, April 25, 2015

There's A Dark Knight 3 Coming...And Kyle Continues To Ponder It

Yesterday afternoon, DC Comics announced the upcoming release of the third (and final) part of Frank Miller's Dark Knight series, The Dark Knight: The Master Race, would see release this fall. Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is considered one of those seminal comics, along with Watchmen, Maus, Sandman, etc, that changed the form towards a more mature type of storytelling. To this day, it's still placed on a pretty high pedestal and informs much of the Batman we see in present day, both in Scott Snyder's current run and the character's onscreen adventures in both the Nolan trilogy of films and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

I read it as a kid, and once again when I was in college, I like it well enough. I don't think it's quite Watchmen level good, but there's a certain earnestness there that's difficult to deny.

Miller's sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, was less well received...actually, let's be honest, it was outright reviled by most corners of the comic reading world. As discussed on our podcast episode that focused on this more challenging Miller work, I rather like it. If nothing else, I don't think there's such a massive gulf in quality between the two works, except for perhaps that last issue.

Maybe I just need to re-read The Dark Knight Returns again.

Here's what we know about The Dark Knight: The Master Race

It's being co-written by Miller and Brian Azzarello, it'll be 8 issues long and will come out twice monthly starting sometime this Fall. No artists have been announced thus far, but BleedingCool had a number of rumors on that front months ago. 

I'm not really sure what to think about this project. The title is certainly ill-considered, given the obvious connotations, and as Miller's political views continued to move more and more to the right in recent years, I can understand why fans would be really alarmed by that development.

Miller is definitely not the same writer that wrote The Dark Knight Returns, he's not even the same guy who wrote The Dark Knight Strikes Again really. One look at All Star Batman and Robin (which has its merits) and Holy Terror (which does not), basically underline the continued downhill slope his writing has taken. But, the great equalizer here is Azzarello, or at least he is in theory.

Azzarello, whose Wonder Woman run was easily the best comic of the New 52, has had some pretty decent success writing Batman. I greatly enjoyed his Flashpoint tie-in, Knight of Vengeance, which one could argue is easily one of the best Batman stories of the decade. And while I found collaboration with Lee Bermejo, Joker, very disturbing, there was certainly a sense of ambition there.

That ambition would, in theory, have me more interested in whatever this new Dark Knight ends up looking like. On the other hand, Azzarello has also been DC's go-to utility writer in recent years, and when he's used in that fashion, he's often less successful. The most obvious corollary is his work on the Before Watchmen project, as neither of his entries in that controversial series are ones that I'd call particularly notable and while I'm not sure how much of The New 52: Future's End has his stamp on it (I'd assume 1/4th), that book was pure drivel.

The question at hand, which Azzarello is going to show up? The inventive, wonderful writer that actually made me a Wonder Woman fan or the guy pumping out whatever DC's current big initiative is. Given the recent concerns over Miller's health, I think it's pretty clear that Miller is only plotting this, at the very most, with much of the heavy lifting being done by Azzarello. Like I said, this is both good and bad, as it could curtail Miller's worst instincts, but it might also drown out some of those moments that are unique only to Miller. The risk of homogenization is also high, but again, it all comes down to Azzarello. 

Either way, that title sucks. I'm also going to miss Miller's art. Though if DC wants to hire David Mazzucchelli or Klaus Janson to handle interiors, I wouldn't complain.
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