Women are taking center stage in Dark Knight III: The Master Race according to Frank Miller, and the legendary writer/artist is so excited about the new Dark Knight stories he tells Newsarama that he's already working on Dark Knight IV.
Miller told Newsarama his story for Dark Knight IV will spin out of what writer Brian Azzarello and artists Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson are doing in the third series beginning November 25. The third chapter, which is being written by Azzarello with Miller's blessing and guidance will be an eight-part miniseries, with each issue featuring one 32-page main story and one 16-page mini-comic focusing on a different character from the Dark Knight continuity.
Dark Knight III: The Master has more deliberate focus on women than previous volumes according to Miller and inker Klaus Janson, spotlighting not only Wonder Woman and Robin (a.k.a. Carrie Kelley), but also Wonder Woman's child and Lara, Superman's daughter.
Following up on our discussion with Azzarello and Kubert last month, Newsarama talked to Janson and Miller about Dark Knight III: The Master Race.
Newsarama: Frank, I know you always wanted a third part to the story. Did you always know what this third part would be about?
Frank Miller: It is in Brian Azzarello's hands right now, and I thoroughly applaud what he's doing. But now that he's doing his, it's now a four-part series. I'm doing the fourth.
Nrama: So you're adding on a fourth chapter?
Miller: Yeah, a fourth book.
Nrama: So does this third chapter set up for the fourth?
Miller: It sure does. I'll read what Brian's doing, and I will respond to that. I know what he's doing and I applaud him completely, and I can't wait to get started on my next book.
Nrama: DC has revealed that Dark Knight III: The Master Race focuses more on the female characters from the previous Dark Knight volumes. Was this switch to a focus on female heroes something that you were interested in doing now?
Miller: Yeah, you look at my Dark Knight books and the women in them are very, very powerful and important, from the mother figure of Wonder Woman to the daughter figures of Lara and Carrie.
So the women have always been extremely important component in my work, ever since my very young, confused age in Daredevil with Elektra.
Klaus Janson: Yeah, Frank. I was just going to say that. You're absolutely right.
Nrama: Klaus, this new third volume will be illustrated by Andy Kubert and not Frank Miller, but I assume you're hoping to keep it anchored together visually. What did you want to bring to it this time around?
Janson: I wanted to have some sort of a consistent flavor between the three books. So I definitely started using the same tools I used back when I was doing Dark Knight Returns, using the same pen nibs and trying to — not with any great… that wasn't my priority, but certainly trying to capture some of the flavor that was in Dark Knight Returns.
Frank is not penciling DKIII, so it can't be the same. But there is definitely an identifiable world. You know, DKIII belongs to the Dark Knight universe. I think Andy is tailoring his work and thinking a lot about what Frank did in the first two books and is trying to be consistent, which I think is the right thing to do. I'm right on board with that. I think that it's not the same book, but it is very identifiably in the Dark Knight universe.
To my way of thinking, it looks like the Dark Knight universe. That's obviously a strong selling point for DKIII, that it does belong to the Dark Knight universe. It was created by Frank, so there is a certain consistency to all three of the Dark Knight projects.
Nrama: Frank, when I talked to Brian about DKIII, he said that although it takes place three years after the second The Dark Knight Strikes Again, it very much belongs in our current day. Did he talk to you about that? Was that something that was important to you? Because your first one spoke so much to the current era.
Miller: Yeah, at the time, I was living in Manhattan and it was overridden at the time. You know, Dirty Harry was my favorite character in the movies. I was extremely angry. And this all kind of burst forth on the page for me. And DC Comics broke all the rules and let me take one of their known heroes in directions that gave some of them an ulcer. It was really a blessed time.
Each one of these is very much of their time. Dark Knight Returns was very much of the 1980s. New York was crime-ridden. The second Dark Knight Strikes Again was much more global than the first one because it was almost a new Cold War. So the book became much more global. And I made the party a lot bigger with a lot more members of the DC Universe in it, so there were a lot more toys to play with.
Where it's going now is much more Brian's purview. But I've seen what he's up to, and I think it's wonderful.
Nrama: And your fourth chapter also will address the current day when you get around to it?
Miller: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I can't wait. It will be a lot of fun.
Nrama: Is there anything else you want to tell readers about this series?
Miller: Yeah! Get ready. Everything should be a surprise, and our job is to surprise you.
Janson: Every issue is a surprise. I would just say to the fans, relax, sit back and enjoy the ride. It's worth the effort.