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.
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 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.