Comic Book Review: Dark Knight III: The Master Race

Details: Started being released in 2015. Published by DC Comics. Written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello. Pencils by Andy Kubert. Nine issues in total.

After Frank Miller’s disastrous run on All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, I’d pretty much given up hope on Frank Miller and the Dark Knight series. Thankfully, Dark Knight III redeems Miller, or should I say that Miller does okay work when he’s supervised by a competent adult. Writing duties for this miniseries fall to Miller and Brian Azzarello. It’s likely Azzarello’s influence that made this series so readable. I’m sure Miller has plenty of good ideas, but like George Lucas and the Star Wars prequels, sometimes you need someone around who can say no to you and tell you when your ideas are stupid.

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Comic Book Review: Trinity (2016) #1

Official site: http://www.dccomics.com/comics/trinity-2016/trinity-1

It started with a miniseries. Turns out that Superman, his wife Lois Lane, and his son John survived the demise of the last incarnation of the DC Comics Universe and has been living in secret in the current incarnation (the New 52 universe) this whole time. While living on this new Earth with its own, new Superman, old Superman took off the uniform and has been secretly saving lives and stopping disasters while remaining hidden from the heroes of this new world.

That all changed when the New 52 Superman died and old Superman was forced to reveal himself to help save the world. Now the heroes of this Earth must work together with this stranger of a Superman and figure out how to coexist.

Trinity explores the relationship of the old Earth’s Superman with the new Earth’s Batman and Wonder Woman. When I initially found out that they were bringing back the old Superman, the one who married Lois Lane, I was not optimistic. I thought DC Comics was throwing another badly thought out gimmick to try and get whatever new readers they could get their hands on. I’ve since read each of the stories involving this new Superman and have to say that he has been written really well. The art in the comics associated with old Superman has also been really good. It’s almost as if the DC Comics made a conscious decision to put their best artists and writers on Superman.

Or maybe they didn’t. There is something very compelling about old Superman. DC Comics apparent strategy for the New 52 universe was a darker, more contemporary retelling of their existing properties. Old Superman’s presence in the New 52 universe is like watching someone from the 1990’s being moved into the new millennia. And really that’s what I find compelling about seeing old Superman interact with this new world; it’s a temporal clash of cultures and of ideas between what old Superman represents and what new Superman represented.

This first issue of Trinity somewhat explores this idea. Lois invites New 52 Batman and Wonder Woman over for dinner so they can talk and get to know each other. Wonder Woman quickly establishes a relationship with old Lois Lane, which is interesting considering Wonder Woman was romantically involved with new Superman before he died. Wonder Woman quickly shuts down any ideas of rekindling old romance and confirms she feels nothing romantic for this stranger of a Superman.

The more interesting relationship to me was the one between old Superman and New 52 Batman. See, New 52 Superman retconned the old story Superman mythos and made Superman an orphan who lost both his parents. Maybe not to crime, but they are both dead. Accordingly, the relationship between New 52 Superman and Batman was that of fellow orphans; two people who understand the pain of loss and fought to protect people because of it. After Batman and old Superman meet, they quickly establish that the core of their relationship is not that of fellow orphans, but as fellow fathers. Old Superman has a son and Batman raised his Robins. It’s a different, slightly more optimistic relationship which gives them a foundation to understand why both of them are obsessed with protecting others.

It’s a promising beginning to a story that will likely give insight into and develop the relationship between these three characters. The ending was also interesting in that they seem to want to give old Superman a glimpse into new Superman’s life,  maybe even giving him a chance to prevent new Superman from dying. We’ll see how it plays out.

In regards to the art, Manapaul does a great job. The style gives a classical feeling and keeps the eyes entertained withe the page layout and brief, but well drawn action.

Score: 6.8/10

Movie Review: Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice

Official site: http://batmanvsuperman.dccomics.com/

I really don’t like Zack Snyder movies. The only thing he’s ever done that I actually liked was 300 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0416449/) and I didn’t really like it all that much. Somehow, Hollywood has decided that Snyder is a comic book movie director. In my view, his name belongs in the same category as M. Night Shyamalan; Snyder is a director who regularly makes disappointing movies and I wish studios would stop funding him.

Superman v. Batman is his latest film and while it isn’t terrible, it certainly isn’t great. With the exception of some pretty good action scenes, the movie falls flat. Every time I watch a Snyder movie, I’m reminded that he does not know how to direct a decent plot. In fact, I’m not sure he knows what a plot is. He just needs an excuse for people to fight and film some pretty entertaining fight scenes. If anything, Snyder should just be a stunt of action director.

If I had to sum up the entirety of the movie, it’s prequel to the justice league. It’s entire purpose is to set up the justice league movies. It introduces the other characters and hints at the conflict to come.

Score: 5.4/10 Please stop letting Snyder direct these things. You will only achieve mediocrity with him.