Darwyn Cooke’s impact on the medium of comics will never be forgotten as he brought the heroes of Golden Age and Silver Age to the children of the Internet Age, and my thoughts and those of the rest of the Pop Optiq comics team are with his family and friends. The best way to remember him is to support, marvel at, enjoy, and, most of all, smile at the comics and films he made, and much of his work from his DC stories to his Parker graphic novels is easily available on Comixology.
Once again, the backup story outshines the main story in The Dark Knight III #4 as Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson provide some iconic imagery, especially in the scenes featuring the Atom and Superman’s execution, but Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello’s storyline jumps around and portray the characters not named Bruce Wayne, Carrie Kelly, or Ellen Yindel in an arbitrary way. Plus there is that always problematic Islamophobia, which is starting to set in as the Kryptonians call Batman an “infidel”. Last time I checked, this wasn’t Holy Terror.
When it’s not awkwardly taking shots at texting young people, making non-statements about the media, various world leaders, striking up a Strange Fruit-esque conversation about race involving only white people , or turning Bruce Wayne into a Randian hero with Carrie Kelly as his mouthpiece and Superman as his attack dog, The Dark Knight III #3 is an intergenerational superhero epic that boasts Andy Kubert’s best artwork of his career and flaming post-apocalyptic palette from Brad Anderson.
Batman Europa #3 is stunning and fun. When I reviewed the last issue, I stated that the art was the reason to pick up the book. This issue really turned around my view of what writers Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello were trying to accomplish with the arc. They’ve really found their footing, and I am anxiously waiting for next issue’s conclusion if it finishes anywhere near as strongly as this issue.
The Dark Knight III #2 has some wooden dialogue and a chase scene that is a little too similar to last issue’s magnificent one, but it does a great job establishing the characters of Carrie Kelly’s Batman and Lara while setting up the conflict between humanity and the Master Race. The Wonder Woman backup story is a real treat and positions Diana as a wild card in the issues to come in her roles as both warrior and mother. (Risso nails this part of her as she swings a sword with a baby slung on her back.)
The art of Batman Europa is visually stunning. The artwork of Giuseppe Camuncoli takes center stage for the majority of the book. Camuncoli has a bold, artistic style that really carries the story. The story leaves a little something to be desired. Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello take a simple premise and take it global with major cities in Europe. While the first 2 issues make the arc a slow burn, the art alone makes the book worthy of picking up.
The heroes seem to stack up well against the villains of their counterparts. There is a nice scene in which Shredder threatens Gotham, and the Turtles dispatch of Killer Croc and his goons rather quickly. Splinter also makes a brief appearance right before Donatello geeks out over the Batmobile. All in all, the book is fun. Williams’ art is amazing, and every page pops. The characters all look like they’ve been hand painted, and the style is so unique that you can’t quite place the story in either world. The plot is simple enough, but the character interactions and interesting art is why this book is a must read. There is enough in the book to sate both the Batman and TMNT fan in everyone.
The Dark Knight III #1 is bombastic in its themes and scale and type of art drawn by Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson, and Brad Anderson. There are ideological differences between gods and mortals, the law and citizens hinted at or show vividly on the page with blood flowing like red wine on the Gotham rooftops leading to the kind of conflict that spawns one of the biggest, final page cliffhangers in recent memory.
Snyder and Capullo are charging ahead with this Gordon as Batman plot, but Batman #46 is an issue that shows how many narrative balls they can juggle in the air without really taking the time to get to dive deep into any of those stories. With a lot of characters, Snyder and Capullo spend a little time with character A and then with character B and C before heading back to the beginning again. The snippet of character moments creates the sense of a lot happening, but none of the stories are developed in a completely satisfying way. Luckily, Mr. Bloom carries the weight of the issue, creating a threat for Batmen new and old.