Chaos has a way of becoming infectious. A state of being that overrides order, logic, and rational thought, chaos is often difficult to explain. After reading book three of Miller’s DK3, I find myself at a bit of a loss for effective words to describe what’s happened. After the heart-dropping cliffhanger that concluded book two, book three largely chronicles the aftermath and the chaos as it rips across the earth and its people.
The once-banished Kryptonians of Kandor see themselves as new gods, and demonstrate their power while issuing humanity an ultimatum – worship us or die. World leaders scramble for a countermeasure while the majority of first world inhabitants seem mostly unaffected by this tumultuous turn of events, buried in their virtual worlds, nonchalantly making plans for time killing activities as though the world intends to continue turning. It’s a very Miller commentary to make, that when faced with explosive apocalypse at the hands of deranged, all-powerful aliens, the average person would be more concerned with their newsfeed and a steady stream of entertaining clips than anything else.
At times, this commentary feels a bit louder than the story at hand, and there are moments where the sensory overload of the story’s chaos combined with the chaotic presentation of the plot and dialogue feel a bit difficult to glean a coherent story from, but maybe that’s the point. At the height of uncertain disaster, an ailing Bruce Wayne attempts to deflect his true reasons for taking a back seat up to this point, as his prodigious understudy Carrie Kelly attempts to connect to the vital spirit within her mentor’s damaged vessel. Bruce knows his greatest assets are no longer his right hook and ability to take punches, but his strategic mind and his ability to inspire others to action. Some truly vulnerable moments are shared between the two characters amidst the noisy backdrop of text messages and talking head clips of media pundits and political leaders, and while the noise feels like it detracts from the emotional weight of these scenes, I’m inclined to wonder if the dichotomy was deliberate.
While this issue feels like an in-between, still reeling from the heavy ending of book two, and likely setting up for what awaits in book four, we get a glimpse of what’s to come: Bruce and Carrie manage to wake a dormant Superman from his imposed slumber in the Fortress of Solitude, and the old Boy Scout is not happy with what he sees. Back to back, we see the return of Bruce donning the cowl in bitter defiance of these extraterrestrial invaders on media screens, while Kal-El makes a personal appearance at the front of the action, triumphantly indicating his return to heed the call of defending the people of earth.
As exciting as these panels are, we’re presented with a twist – Superman and Wonder Woman’s daughter Lara. Responsible for unleashing these horrors, we’ve only been able to guess at her interpretation of things, but as she confronts her dad in front of the rogue Kryptonians, we get the distinct impression there’s no second thought in her mind regarding the destruction and death these powerful beings have wrought.
The more The Master Race Develops, the more it seems Dark Knight III isn’t so much a Batman story as it is a Superman story told from Batman's perspective, or a Carrie Kelley story told from her aging mentor's point of view. As ever, I await the next installment, and look forward to seeing how things progress.