Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Dark Knights of Steel #4 Review


No More Lonely Knights

Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bengal
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 1, 2022

Dark Knights of Steel is one of my favorite books going at DC Comics Right now.  I am a sucker for fantasy stories so putting my favorite DC characters in a high fantasy tale is a win-win for me, and Tom Taylor writing it is icing on the cake!  So let's get on to the review...

Dark Knights of Steel #4 opens with Bruce still reeling from the effects of the Kryptonite meteor hour, and Alfred tracked down.  While Bruce somehow takes this as him being a hypocrite in his war against magic, Alfred uses it to springboard into a flashback-filled issue that tries to fill in some of the blanks of this story.

Readers wondering how the Els became King and Queen and what happened to the Waynes will get the answers they've been waiting on.  We find out that Jor-El and Lara took baby Kal and hid themselves, fearing what might happen if anyone found out about them and their unique powers.  I guess this could have gone on forever, except for the giant volcano about to erupt!  Yea, a lot of the story felt forced to mirror the destruction of Krypton, and that feeling continued throughout.

Of course, this might all seem like minor stuff compared to the elephant in the room... what was up with Martha Wayne and Jor-El knocking boots?!?  Tom Taylor goes so surface level here and has Alfred shrug and act like it was only a big deal for a second, but everyone got over it.  If you are reading Tom Taylor's Nightwing, it comes off a bit like the story of Dick Grayson's sister, Melinda.  Sure, it wasn't a great thing that Jor-El and Martha cheated, but everyone got over it, plus Thomas couldn't have kids anyway.  I guess that makes it all better!  I rolled my eyes a couple of times reading all this, but the notion that everyone in the kingdom knew Bruce was a bastard doesn't make sense and only forces the Game of Thrones feel of the story.

The issue continues and ends by showing us how the Els saved the kingdom and eventually became King and Queen.  It shouldn't shock anyone that the Green Man was involved, and we learn who he was and what he became.  I'm sure some will get a kick out of the reveal, but I think Taylor took it one step too far, taking something cool and making it silly in a try-hard way.

That's the problem with this issue.  Tom Taylor feels like he's trying too hard to be clever, and it comes off as the opposite.  The first three issues had set up a cool setting with awesome characters, but this one feels like a kid in a schoolyard argument who has to come up with something even more awesome.  Not only that, but the issue also stalls the series's momentum.  The art takes a hit as well, and while Bengal steps in and does a decent enough job, it wasn't as good as the Yasmine Putrie art we usually get.  Overall, I still like this series, but  I hope things get back to being great next issue.

Make sure to listen to our Weekly DC Comics Recap and Review Podcast to hear us talk more about this book.  Just look up "Weird Science DC Comics" anywhere you listen to podcasts, and make sure to rate, review, and subscribe!

Bits and Pieces:

Dark Knights of Steel #4 slows things down to fill us in on the past and what happened after the Els crash-landed on Earth.  Unfortunately, some explanations were a little too easy, while others were a bit over the top.  It all ended up feeling forced.  Hopefully, Taylor rights the ship next issue because this one was disappointing.


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