Hot on the heels of the recent Batman v Superman trailer, DC Entertainment has announced the third and final installment of The Dark Knight Returns comic trilogy, The Dark Knight III: The Master Race. While a new installment of the saga of elderly Bruce Wayne was unexpected, it’s certainly no surprise that DC picked now as the time to reveal it, as the upcoming Zack Snyder film draws heavily from The Dark Knight Returns comic. Frank Miller will be joined on writing duties for the eight-issue comic book periodical by Brian Azzarello, who has written such comic book staples as 100 Bullets, Wonder Woman, and Batman. The Master Race will be published twice a month under the DC Comics imprint starting this fall.
“Batman remains my favorite comic book hero and a sequel to Dark Knight is going to be daunting,” said Miller, “but we’ll do our best.”
“We are thrilled to have Frank back home at DC writing Batman,” according to Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, Co-Publishers for DC Entertainment. “The story he and Brian have crafted is an astounding and triumphant conclusion to this seminal body of work which influenced and shaped generations of readers and creators alike.”
According to Azzarello, “It’s been an amazing experience collaborating with Frank these past six months. I think we have an epic story that these characters truly deserve.”
While an artist hasn’t been announced as of yet, Miller did pencil the last two installments, so it could go either way. The Dark Knight Returns was an amazing story created in 1986 that chronicled an aging Bruce Wayne, who decides to put on the mantle of the Bat once again to protect his city, fight the Joker, and eventually go toe to toe with Superman (now a flunkie for the U.S. government) in an armored battle suit that saw the two tearing apart a chunk of Gotham City. To this day it’s considered one of the highest watermarks when discussing all things Batman, and was certainly an influence on Christopher Nolan‘s own Dark Knight movie trilogy.
The sequel that dropped in 2001, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, was received with considerably less acclaim, continuing the adventure of Bruce Wayne as he develops an underground fighting force, fights a now superpowered and insane Dick Grayson (aka Robin), and teams up with many of the other DC heroes to combat the forces of Lex Luthor and Braniac. Retaining none of the original’s flair and character beats, the sequel was more of a mean spirited think piece than a thoughtful commentary on the character of Batman, so here’s hoping “Master Race” steers closer to the former rather than the latter.
Details about The Dark Knight III: The Master Race’s story are few and far between, but expect to learn more as we near closer to it’s release date of late Fall 2015.