The Dark Knight isn’t done yet. Three years after The Dark Knight III: The Master Race continued Frank Miller’s epic Batman saga that began in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns, EW can exclusively announce that another installment is on the way. This December comes a new one-shot comic titled The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child, written by Miller and illustrated by artist Rafael Grampá.
The “golden child” in question is young Jonathan Kent, the son of Superman and Wonder Woman. His older sister, Lara, was a major player in The Master Race, where readers saw she had inherited her mother’s Amazonian discipline as well as her father’s Kryptonian superpowers and signature S-shield costume. Jonathan was only a baby then, though he was important enough to be the focal point of a battle between the Amazons and the Kryptonians from Kandor. The Golden Child takes place three years after the conclusion of The Master Race, and though Jonathan is still a child, he’s now grown into a powerful presence, as you can see in Grampá’s exclusive preview art below.
“The possibilities for what he could be just started coming to mind like crazy. I thought the contrast between him and Lara could be really exciting,” Miller tells EW. “Lara has so much power and passion, so for the little boy to embody all of the wisdom and intelligence of the Kryptonian race would be an exciting new dimension. He really sort of developed as a little floating Buddha, someone who when he wasn’t even a toddler yet was speaking in full sentences and had an understanding of events that surpassed anybody else’s. He’s the most magical member of the family.”
In case you need a refresher on where we left off with these characters at the end of The Master Race, Lara had decided to take her father’s advice and adopt her own Clark Kent-like disguise to learn more about humanity. Carrie Kelly, who first became Robin back in The Dark Knight Returns, had adopted the guise of Batwoman after maturing into a full-on superhero in her own right. As seen above, she now appears on the cover of The Golden Child in full Batwoman regalia.
Despite her central role in one of the most beloved Batman comics ever made, Carrie has interestingly never been adapted for another medium or brought into the mainstream DC continuity. Because of that, it’s been awesome to watch her develop and grow across Miller’s saga. Rest assured that she’ll be more than capable of holding her own alongside these Kryptonians.
“Carrie is, as always, the smartest kid on the block,” Miller says. “She was also trained by someone who is not cowed by power. Even knowing that she is not a ‘superhero’ in terms of powers, she will not accept anything that in any way smacks of subjugation. Look at her! She began her superhero career by running away from home. She was a rebel from the get-go.”
The Dark Knight Returns started as a Batman story, but as it has gone on, Superman and his family have come to play a bigger role. There are surely still countless comic fans out there, this EW writer included, who still have memorized Batman’s brutal monologue to Superman during their epic fight at the climax of The Dark Knight Returns (“I want you to remember the one man who beat you”), Miller’s been a little nicer to the Man of Steel in the years since.
“Even though in Dark Knight Returns I gave Superman a very hard time, in his own title I’ve wanted to really celebrate the character,” Miller says. Though he notes, “He doesn’t need my sympathy!”
The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child hits stores on Dec. 11. In the meantime, Miller also has an illustrated novel Cursed coming out Oct. 1 from Simon & Schuster. Written by Thomas Wheeler with illustrations by Miller, Cursed tells the secret story of how Nimue, the Lady of the Lake from Arthurian mythology, came to protect the sword Excalibur. It’s already due to become a 2020 Netflix series starring Katherine Langford.