Batman: Dark Knight 3: The Master Race Review Part 2 by Deffinition
The second chapter of DK3 centres around the imprisonment of Carrie Kelley and her eventual escape. During interrogation, at the hands of Commissioner Yindel, we learn about Bruce Wayne’s demise after the beating he received from Lex Luthor in The Dark Knight Strikes Again.
On first read this interrogation is an enthralling moment, however, it loses all sentimentality upon the appearance of a living and breathing Bruce later in the Issue. Having never been actually dead, the lie told by Carrie was only implemented as a distraction. Retrospectively it strips away a lot of the legitimacy that this Issue has and had it not been for the subplot, the majority of book two would simply be filler.
Having a Baal of a time
Mirroring Carrie’s imprisonment and release we see the Atom free the citizens of The Bottled City Of Kandor. Upon liberation, the religious zealots, lead by Quar, murder the Atom and initiate their plan to rule the world.
The Bottled City Of Kandor was made up of shrunken Kryptonians, stripped of their power they must have felt persecuted for years and now upon their release they seek revenge. Metaphorically this works as a synonym of the Middle East, terrorised by The West for decades they have, as of late, fought back and suffered at the hands of our counter-attack.
They are villains in the same way that the Kryptonians are and act as the perfect modern-day foe. Working as both a comic book enemy whilst also providing satire to the Wars we fight today they feel like a formidable antagonist.
It’s difficult to draw from this which side that Miller is on. It would be wrong to label him as a racist as one could argue that he provides pros and cons to both aspects. I.e. Batman parades around carelessly destroying property, enforcing his rule over the world and disobeying the law. He is labelled a hero. However, when the freed Kandorians do it, it is seen as villainous. Similarly, America and the UK candidly invaded the Middle East but presented it as liberation. We were labelled as the good guys because of media coverage and fear.
Perhaps this is Miller’s view of the contradictory nature of outlets like Fox News who praise our attacks on Iraq and Iran. They are famous for demonising them yet many could argue that they merely counterattacked, using the same means that we did to provoke them. Whether intentional or not it certainly adds an interesting subtext to the plot and it’s great to see Miller provide balance to both sides of the argument instead of clearly choosing one as he has been guilty of in the past.
Phoning it in
One of the hilarious aspects about the Kandorian attack is that throughout we see humans not even looking up from their phone to witness the devastation around them. It adds volumes to the work and cements the need for Batman. As a race, we have become apathetic to most things due to our constant fixation on our technology.
Please don’t leave this review and turn off your phone!
News anchors comment on the destruction but they merely report. People pass the decay but don’t get involved. We are truly lost and Miller wants to enforce that without action, nothing can ever be accomplished.
It’s only upon the destruction of the mobile satellites that people finally look up and take action. We are slaves, zombies that require a constant hit of dopamine to feel happiness. It’s clear the creative team want us to come off our phones and take notice of the world around us.
I absolutely loved this aesthetic and paradoxically it shows Miller still has a keen eye for the media and mentality of the people that he bases his books on.
“Go To Hell”
Holding the World to ransom, The Kandorians demand that Earth surrender and become their slaves, in a triumphant moment that rivals the Batman V Superman fight in The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Bruce Returns in the cape and cowl and tells them to ‘Go To Hell.’
It really packs a punch and lets you know there’s some life in the old guy yet.
Superman returns and we really feel like we have our A-Team back as we join them as they head into Battle.
Issues 2 and 3 certainly pick up the pace after a slow start. Introducing the book’s villains they perfectly demonstrate the mind-state that many people have towards certain sects of society. These chapters definitely get better the more times they are read and as a collection act brilliantly at setting up the showdown between the World’s finest and the Kandorians.