DKIII: Yes Frank’s too old for this
So, it’s been – I don’t know – a couple of years since DC Comics decided to milk the hell out of their Dark Knight Returns franchise with a measly 9 issues (I say “measly” in relation to the length of time it had to finish) that were published whenever the hell Frank Miller and co. felt like it. But hey, it’s Frank Miller: DC can’t say no the guy who has in part kept their company afloat ever since the 80s. Seriously, though, I think I understand why it took so long to wrap this miniseries up and, if I’m not mistaken, even give it an extra issue to conclude it. Now, whether I think these reasons are acceptable is a whole different story.
For the delays, I find it to be reasonable when you consider a couple of things with how DC Comics decided to publish this second sequel to The Dark Knight Returns. First, there’s the usual slew of variant covers that the publisher opted for in order for gullible drooling dumbasses with cash in their pockets to have something they can feel special about. However, DC cranked their idiot nerd magnet right up to 111 (yes, one hundred and eleven!) for DKIII: The Master Race by going all 90s on their asses. Now, that wouldn’t be an issue under normal circumstances, but the miniseries stands out by having one of those variants illustrated by Frank Miller himself. I’ll tell you more about it as we go on.
Secondly, there are the back-up stories that came along with each issue of DKIII: The Master Race, which were also done by Miller. As you may already know, the main story is illustrated by Andy Kubert in a rare case of licensed and acceptable style-swiping (the whole series is done in Miller’s style). On the other hand, each and every back-up tale was done by Frank, and I honestly found them to be more interesting than the main storyline.
So, what does this all have to do with the delays that plagued DKIII? Well, it’s because Frank Miller has gotten slow over the years; it’s just impossible for him to keep up the pace like he did back during the 1980s. That’s it, there’s nothing more to it in spite of what a lot of people are saying, which mostly is along the lines of the man’s work having a significant dip in quality. To that, I say “bullshit!” Frank’s work on DKIII, from the variants right down to the back-ups, is as good as anything he’s published before illustration-wise. What dragged down its quality weren’t the man’s lines; it’s the horrid coloring style they chose for it. Just take a look at the way his work’s been colored by, say, Lynn Varley and compare it to the four-color queef found in his DKIII work and you’ll know what I mean.
All in all, I found DKIII to be moderately enjoyable, if only for the beautiful back-up tales. As for the main story, I can take it or leave it.