Comics and Cosplay
Dark Knights, Darth Vaders, and New Marvels - Top 15 Comics of Nov. 2015

Marshall Lemon | 2 Dec 2015 12:50
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What were you thankful for during November's holiday season? If you're a comic book reader, probably the massive amount of quality work to come out in a single month. Marvel Comics has wrapped up its Secret Wars event, letting it introduce a changed universe. The Darth Vader Down event began, uniting most Star Wars titles in an epic battle with the Sith Lord. Saga returned to print while Brian K. Vaughn continued his impressive output across multiple titles. Meanwhile, Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello teamed up for a new Dark Knight sequel - and it doesn't suck.

Whether you love mainstream superheroes, or creator-owned indie books, there's something for everyone this week. Grey Carter, Marshall Lemon, and Stew Shearer have listed their favorites, but let's get started with the biggest elephant in the room:

dark knight iii 1

The Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1

It's hard to imagine a creator with a more tumultuous Batman history than Frank Miller. The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One were two of the most important Batman comics ever published, a one-two punch which catapulted Miller into mass media stardom. Then The Dark Knight Strikes Again fell on its face, All-Star Batman & Robin was critically reviled, and Holy Terror, Batman was considered so offensive that DC refused to publish it. So when Miller announced he was working on a new Batman book - a new Dark Knight sequel in fact - you can imagine the anxiety and horror that rippled across the comic book world.

The good news? The Dark Knight III: The Master Race is actually pretty good, reading far closer in spirit to Returns than any of Miller's sequels or spin-offs.

Set several years after DK2's revolution, Batman emerges from obscurity when Gotham's police officers start shooting down black youth. After images of the battle are shared online, a political media scandal puts pressure on Commissioner Yindel to stop Batman once and for all. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman commands the Amazons from their rainforest home, Superman has permanently withdrawn to his Fortress of Solitude, and Lara has begun a new quest - restore the people of Kandor to their regular size.

The Dark Knight III's first issue lays a basic groundwork for future issues to build on, but it's a promising start all the same. It even downplays most of DK2's cosmic strangeness while still keeping minor elements tucked into the background. (Like how the President must take DNA tests to prove he exists.) That allows DK3 to focus on the gritty, vigilante-inspired action which made Returns worth reading. Speaking of vigilantism, Batman fighting multiple corrupt police officers again really fits the character, and is more than a little relevant given recent tragedies. And when superpowered acts do occur - most notably when Wonder Woman fights a mythical creature - it's treated with just enough otherworldly reverence to intrigue the reader instead of overwhelming them.

It's still pretty early, but for the first time in years, I'm excited for a new Frank Miller Batman book. Here's hoping future issues live up to what started here.

Favorite Moment: Batman fighting the police.

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