Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is nothing if not iconic. The artwork of Batman on the wire or of him leaping through the night's sky as lightning cracks in the background have become essential images for the character.
The Dark Knight Returns also includes one of the most iconic fights in superhero history, in which an armored Batman battles it out with Superman. It's so iconic, in fact, that the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice looks to borrow heavily from The Dark Knight Returns' imagery.
Perhaps it's not surprising then that some of the variant covers for DC's upcoming Dark Knight III: The Master Race are also looking to take inspiration from Batman and Superman's iconic duel.
Batman artist Greg Capullo does just that with his variant cover for the first issue, in which he depicts Batman kicking Superman in the jaw with his spiked boot. Instead of the large, disproportionate Batman and Superman drawn by Miller, Capullo's depiction of the battle features the two heroes looking much closer to their normal selves. In the case of Batman, he is much older, with graying hair like in The Dark Knight Returns. Capullo's knack for detail shines through in the cover, and the result is an image that is even bloodier than the original.
Below is the original image from The Dark Knight Returns:
And here is the full variant cover:
Capullo's variant is just one of many variants for the first issue that is a throwback to Miller's earlier work. Scott Williams delivers his own take on the image of Batman and Carrie Kelley as Robin leaping off a rooftop, while Aaron Lopresti depicts Batman on horseback.
Dark Knight III: The Master Race is expected to go on sale Nov. 25, and is a collaboration between writers Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello and artists Andy Kupert and Klaus Janson.