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Batman takes on police as comic depicts US racial tensions

November 29, 2015 22:16 IST

In the backdrop of incidents of police violence against black youths in the US, the latest Batman series issue sees the caped crusader battle police brutality rather than the likes of Joker or Two-Face.

The first issue of The Dark Knight III: Master Race was published on Wednesday, and continues a storyline started 29 years ago by the writer and artist Frank Miller, in his classic The Dark Knight Returns.

The issue came in the week a Chicago police officer was charged with the murder of a black teenager, and a year since riots engulfed Ferguson after officer Darren Wilson killed 18-year old Michael Brown.

The 1986 original saw an ageing Batman battle a Reaganite Superman in a dystopic Cold War Gotham. In the 2002 sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, the two heroes teamed up to defeat Lex Luthor.

In Master Race, Batman appears focused on reforming the criminal justice system - though so far he prefers to enact that reform with his fists.

Issue No 1 opens with a young, unarmed black man fleeing from Gotham cops, who draw their guns to shoot before Batman arrives and - kapow! - knocks them senseless. It ends with the hero being brutally beaten by a group of uniformed officers, the Independent reported.

Miller, 58, is one of the most celebrated comics creators of recent decades, and one of the most controversial. An avowed libertarian, he is also the author of SinCity and 300, which both spawned movie adaptations.

"The world is essentially a chaotic, dangerous place where authority cannot be trusted," he told fans as he unveiled Dark Knight III at New York Comic-Con last month.

"It needs a 'Zorro', a criminal who can fight for the innocent civilians. The status quo cannot be trusted," he had said.

Miller, who says he is already planning a fourth Dark Knight series, co-wrote Master Race with another eminent comics writer, Brian Azzarello.

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