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Review: Dark Knight 3 #1 – The Master . . . Bait

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“Where is Bruce Wayne?”

It’s interesting, and perhaps a little self-aware, that the main characters of the first book are asking the question on every readers’ mind. Is it a sign of good things to come?

Needless to say — well, maybe not needless, but from here on, there will be spoilers. So be warned.

Dark Knight 3 opens three years after the last sighting of the Batman. This would make it three years since the events of The Dark Knight Strikes Again, which then makes it six years from the original series, for those keeping count at home.

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The Gotham City we’re back in is very much the one we know — the news reports and the commentators are a little more contemporary, and the particular brand of unrest this issue skirts around is very much relevant, but you can feel it.  Couple kids are texting (or Snapchatting, or whatever the hell damn kids are doing) about seeing the Batman in the narrows, and a couple of pics are taken of Batman beating down some cops making questionable decisions.

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Next, we find Commissioner Yindel still dealing with Gotham bureaucrats and still conflicted over our vigilante pal, especially now that he’s beating on cops again.

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We see that Wonder Woman and her super-brood have retreated to somewhere mythical, and the Man of Steel has been put in cold storage at the Fortress of Solitude. Interesting.

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Yindel is hanging out on the roof of the GCPD, wondering just how much she is to blame for the state of things, when she gets the call. The cops have sighted Batman.  A very ugly brawl ensues where we get a good pile of cops jacked up, til one makes the realization we’ve all been half-expected, prompting Yindel to ask that big question — and we see it’s Carrie, kicking ass in the bat-suit.  Although that looks to be past tense.

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And that’s what your $6 and change gets you (well, that and a mini-comic, but I think I’ll save for later): twenty-four pages of interesting questions and premise, but naturally, not a lot of payoff for the first issue. That’s to be expected for a first issue — this is bait, kids.

And it is some good-looking bait, at that.  Andy Kubert has been a stalwart bat-artist for some time now, but pairing him with Dark Knight alumni Klaus Janson is a very, very good thing.  The result is uniquely Frank Miller-esque, and it’s own beast at the same time. Definitely looking forward to what they can do.
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So, the big question is, is it worth getting into?  I’m gonna say yes.  The setup is just interesting enough, and the art is solid, so I think this impressive ensemble has maybe got something neat going on here.  It’s just a bummer that they went for an 8-issue, 24-page format. I could be a lot more confident if there had been the more standard 48-page layout. But yes, this is most impressive bait, and it’s drawing some attention.