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Dark Knight III: The Master Race & Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 1


By Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello (Authors), Andy Kubert (Illustrator) DC Comics (Publisher)

In 1986, readers were introduced to The Dark Knight Returns, a darker take on Batman, written and drawn by Frank Miller, that is considered a classic. Miller’s 2001 sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, was widely criticized for its sloppy artwork and wacky plot. This past week, the first issue of Dark Knight III: The Master Race was released, the third installment in Miller’s Dark Knight series. And if The Dark Knight Returns is considered a classic and The Dark Knight Strikes Again was considered a flop, then it’s a safe bet that this new series will fall somewhere in between those two extremes. It’s clear that DC Comics is playing it safe this time around. This time, the story is only co-written by Miller, with Brian Azzarello sharing story credit, with Andy Kubert handling the art instead of Miller—although Miller did draw the mini-comic insert. While this first issue is, of course, only setting up many things to come in the mini-series, it does do a good job of reintroducing us into this world and is much more reminiscent of the first book—although the scenes with Wonder Woman and Superman show that this story is going to be about a lot more than Gotham. Part of what makes this feel so reminiscent of the original story is Kubert, whose artwork emulates a lot of what made the original so great. Everything from the use of small panels to build tension to the look of Gotham itself reminds you of the best of Miller’s artwork without looking like a copycat. It’s too soon to tell where this series is going to take us, but it’s definitely is an intriguing reintroduction to Miller’s Batman. It certainly has a lot to live up to — as well as a lot to live down.

Jessica Jones: Alias Vol.1

By Brian Michael Bendis (Author), Michael Gaydos (Illustrator) Marvel Comics (Publisher)

Meet Jessica Jones. One part hard boiled private detective, one part street level super hero, Alias is one of the quintessential comic books for adults of the last twenty years. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, at the time more well-known for his Mamet-esque dialogue driven independent crime comics, and drawn by Michael Gaydos, an artist whose heavy shadow work and subtle character acting are immediately apparent, it tells the story of a former Avenger who decided the super hero life wasn’t for her and traded in her tights for a private investigators license. This collection tells the first two stories of the series, which takes the reader on a trip through the underbelly of the iconic Marvel super hero universe as Jessica deals with political black mail over Captain America and then finding the most important sidekick ever. The story telling leans heavily into the team’s independent roots, being more of a talking heads book than an action book, but the craft of the naturalistic dialogue and the subtlety of the art make it a treat to read. It is violent, brutal, angry, and profane but at the end same time it never forgets that it exists in the world of aspirational heroes like Spider-Man and Iron Man. There are cameos from many of the super heroes now gracing the big screen these days, just as Jessica herself prepares to join Daredevil as a Netflix Original. So whether you want to get to know Jessica before you binge on the show, or if you’re hungry for more afterwards, Jessica Jones: Alias Vol.1 is the perfect comic for you.

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