World Comic Book Review

25th September 2023

The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade (REVIEW)

The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade
DC Comics, June 15, 2016
Writers: Brian Azzarello, Frank Miller

In February of 2016, American publisher DC Comics published “Dark Knight Returns III: The Master Race”, which is the third part of Frank Miller’s iconic The Dark Knight Returns franchise. This series of titles portray a future version of the character Batman, in his twilight, weakened by old age, aware of his own mortality, yet unable to turn a blind eye as his world descends into chaos.

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The Slow Boil Lacks Steam

Dark Knight Returns III: The Master Race
DC Comics, February 2016
Writers: Brian Azzarello and Frank Miller

Review by DG Stewart, 12 January 2016

One of the most striking pages of one of DC Comics’ epic titles, “The Dark Knight Returns” (1986) by Frank Miller, features the character Batman, an ordinary human, aged, silver-haired and driven by sheer force of will (albeit in mechanised body armour), punching to a pulp the near-omnipotent character Superman. Batman’s brutal victory relies upon wits, cunning and impeccable planning. Fierce and grim, steeped in observations about the nature of the facades of media and politics, and the fundamental inability of the title character, Bruce Wayne, to stand by and watch violence descend upon his neighbours, the series is properly celebrated as paramount in the field of superhero comic book writing. In 2001-2002 DC Comics published a second instalment of the story, “The Dark Knight Strikes Again”. Entangled in DC Comics’ continuity and failing to tap into the libertarian rage which propelled the original series, this continuation of the tale was not a critical and commercial success. Climbing upwards from the pinnacle of a mountain is, after all, a miraculous feat.

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