In 1986, Frank Miller helped push the comicbook landscape towards darker territory with The Dark Knight Returns, a work so influential that it’s been the basis for countless iterations of the character since, including the costumes for next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice* which are currently on display at Comic Con. He returned for a sequel 2002, the inferior but perhaps equally bat-shit insane The Dark Knight Strikes Again, and DC is all set to welcome him back with open arms for The Dark Knight III: The Master Race later this year, where he’ll be joined by some friends (though it’s hard to imagine Frank Miller as someone with friends) for the main story, as well as some additional tales on the side.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, every 32-page issue will come with an additional 16 pages of stories focusing on other characters in the Dark Knight universe, each helmed by a different team of writers and artists to be announced at a later date. DC head honchos Jim Lee and Dan Didio were also quoted as having said they’d be “pulling out all the stops” when it came to the concluding installment of Miller’s militarized Batman. If it’s indeed his last time writing the Caped Crusader (hallelujah!), then one can expect the good folks at DC editorial to make it a spectacular farewell, even if that just means loosening their grip on creative for a few minutes.
The comic will be co-written by Brian Azzarrello who worked on the Comedian and Rorschach installments of Before Watchmen, DC’s other tribute to their influence in the mid-80s, with Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson and occasionally Miller himself doing the art. This also marks Janson’s return to the series, since he worked on the original almost 30 years ago, and I suppose it helps that Kubert worked on Before Watchmen: Nite Owl in addition to a half a dozen or so Batman issues during the previous decade. While I’m weary of more Frank Miller Batman (more Frank Miller in general, really), the rest of the team definitely inspires confidence.
Plot details are under wraps at the moment, but after his graphic novel Holy Terror, originally intended as a story about Batman going to Middle East to beat up Muslims, I have to wonder what good could come of a Frank Miller story called The Master Race, though I suppose it’s a good thing that DC is at least aware of the fact that it’s going to raise a few eyebrows (unlike Marvel who somehow thought Captain America: White was a good idea), and if we’re being honest, it wouldn’t be good old unhinged Frank Miller without some controversy. Don’t forget, this is the same guy who called Occupy Wall Street “nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists” a few years ago, so if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if Donald Trump wrote a Batman comic, this eight-issue series is for you.
*Devin’s travelling, so I’m on joke duty.