Friday, June 10, 2022

Review: Dark Knights Of Steel #7

Dark Knights of Steel #7 came out this week. We are heading into the back half of this story and we are still getting new plot threads and new ideas being introduced. I find the whole book very entertaining so bring it on. For all I know, sales are good enough to warrant a sequel. We already have learned of a one-shot 'Tales from ...' issue coming out later this year.

Writer Tom Taylor continues to ramp up the heat in this medieval take on the DCU with the world seemingly careening towards a world war. But there is a mystery here. One I think I have cracked. But that plot is only nudged forward in this issue which instead concentrates on introducing us to the Titans of this world and their interaction with Ra's/Etrigan. I suppose they could have a big part to play in the main plot. But I do wonder if this was a backdoor pilot for Dark Knights II. As always, Taylor's medieval concepts for the characters work very well, including a nice take on the Kents.

Yasmine Putri isn't on art. Instead Nathan Gooden steps in. I don't think I have seen Gooden's work before. His art is vaguely Putri-esque so it flows well with the book so far. And as this is almost a stand-alone side mission, I think it works well. And Dan Mora's cover certainly grabs the eye.

Another winning issue of this maxi-series. I think this time I'm right. On to the specifics.

The issue starts with the House of El flying in, compared to demons, working with the Lex/Joker amalgam, and slaughtering Diana and Bruce with heat vision and spears. It turns out this is only a fever dream. Bruce is recovering from last issue's attacks and awakens in a cold sweat.

The opening pages are sufficiently brutal, showing us what it would be like to have three Kryptonians just mow through people.

But I very much liked that Taylor repeated part of the prophecy which is driving so much of the plot.

When Bruce awakens, he says everything is green. It turns out he has some K-poisoning which might explain the 'green' idea. He awakens to see Beast Boy in dog-form in front of him. That also could explain the green.

But for me, it adds some oomph to my guess that the Els who are slaughtering people in the real world are Martians trying to stir the pot so they can invade. It even fits the prophecy which people assume is about the Kryptonians. Martians come from the stars, can look like us, but are not us.

This time I'm right.

Meanwhile, in the Kingdom of Lightning, Ra's has successfully resurrected Jacob. But everyone saw him die. So Constantine says that Jacob has to stay in hiding. No doubt we will see Jacob in action at the end, hopefully in some costume and mask, calling himself Black Lightning.

But the more intriguing panel is the first where Constantine talks of a prior resurrected person who became King but went mad. This is some world building. But who could it be? Hal Jordan/Parallax? It is a brief interaction but it seems heavy with foreshadowing.

Constantine had made a deal though. If Ra's brought back Jacob, John would tell Ra's where the Titans are hiding.

Ra's seems to know of something besides the war of the Houses coming up. He needs the Titans. Perhaps he is talking about the eventual real war with the Martians/'whoever is imitating the Els'. But I wonder, given how Ra's is fused with Etrigan on this world, if he is talking about some sort of Trigon incursion. Why the need for the Titans otherwise?

Okay, it's a reach. But I do find that line mysterious.

Back at the farm, we see this world's version of the classic Wolfman/Perez Titans. And they have a bit of a chip on their collective shoulders. They are in hiding because the Els are imprisoning people with power. They know Bruce was Kal's enforcer so some of them wanted to see him die. 

And the team becomes complete when Dick shows up, having trailed Bruce their. 

But Bruce is in a different place now. He is a bit more sympathetic. 

The farm the Titans are hiding on is run by Martha and Jonathan. That's right, we meet this world's Kent family. I love how even on this world they are bringing people in and caring for them. That is a cool little wrinkle. And it seems they are a sort of sanctuary for people with powers.

When Ra's and Talia come to collect the Titans, the Kents show they aren't just farmers. They were warriors. Another nice wrinkle.

Initially Bruce tells the Titans to stay back for their own protection. But Ra's has brought an undead army. Pretty soon Bruce is overwhelmed.

The Titans decide to join in the fray, including Gar in dragon mode. It's about time we saw a dragon in this book. Great action here by Gooden. I don't know if Cyborg is a cyborg or not. But he has his classic gun hand. 

Kind of reminded me of when Gar turned into Lockheed in X-Men/Teen Titans.

Ra's get battered forcing the Al Ghul's to retreat. But Talia has a warning. Bruce can't help in the upcoming war between the Amazons/Lightning House and the House of El as well as protect these kids.

They'll be back.

I sort of like the League of Shades as another power player on this world. And Talia looks great.

Initially Bruce thinks that he will hide out here instead. It is interesting how his life has really sort of flipped. From best friend to suddenly learning he is a half-brother to now rebel on the outs.

The Kents know Bruce is a hero and won't sit out a war. Bruce reminds them of their other adopted son ... Aquaman! WHAT! I love these little wrinkles that Taylor keeps throwing into this world. Will Atlantis join the fray?

While it seems that Bruce is being set up as the big hero in this series, I hope Kal remains above the fray as well. We need as many heroes as we can get.

Anyways, we didn't see the Els or the Amazons or the ruling queen of the House of Lightning at all this issue. This was a side issue which helped with world building. But I feel even more confident. Martians are here.

Overall grade: A


Anonymous said...

Nathan Gooden's art here does resemble Yasmin Putri's. Gooden has drawn a number of comics for Vault, and this may be his first for one of the Big Two.

There's no issue scheduled for July or August, and I hope Putri comes back and can continue to draw at least some of the remaining issues. She's known for covers, not interiors, and I think she's only drawn a couple of short stories before this (including one from DC's Nuclear Winter Special, reviewed by you), all with breakdowns by Tom Derenick. So technically this is her very first interior art, at least in the US market.

It probably is Martians. Makes sense to me!

There will probably be some more shocking tragedies before the truth emerges, though.


Anonymous said...

Yeah agreed, Martians, if white martians an indeed ape kryptonian level super powers that is...meanwhile, its getting to be “TMB” ergo “Too Much Batman”, I am throughly sick of every elsewhere variant coming to down to what Batman is gonna do to defeat whatever variant of his rogue’s is in play. I knew we were gonna come up against this as soon as I saw Harley O. Quinn in the jester’s motley, the O stands for “Overexposed”.
I wonder what would happen if Supergirl got one tenth of Harley’s “push”?
Just wondering...


Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

I was sure, the "magical" people imprisoned in the dudgeon would escape to fight against the enemy. So, it's the titans with Bruce who will free them.

I'm still waiting to see Barabara Gordon/Batgirl, where is she? we saw all the robins, lois lane and jimmy oslen.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments and agreeing that martians might make sense.

A medieval Babs would be awesome!

I also agree that this is becoming a Batman book. Perhaps the title Dark Knights should have been a hint?