Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Dark Knights of Steel: Tales From The Three Kingdoms #1 Review


A Squad, a Family and a Bane

Written by: Tom Taylor, C.S. Pacat & Jay Kristoff
Art by: Casper Wijingaard, Sean Izaakse &  Michele Bandini
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: September 6, 2022

Dark Knights of Steel: Tales From The Three Kingdoms #1 is a pleasant surprise since I have been enjoying Dark Knights of Steel a lot.  The main cover did have me fooled into thinking this might be a new young adult version of the title (which could be something DC might want to look into), but instead, it feels more like an Annual (wasn't Annuals Week last week?)  than anything else.  In it, we get three stories that flesh out some pretty cool things, and it's no surprise that Tom Taylor nails it again.  The problem, though, is he only does one of the stories.  So let's see how the whole package turned out...

Dark Knights of Steel: Tales From The Three Kingdoms #1 kicks off with Tom Taylor's story, and it's pretty damn good.  It opens at the Arkham Orphanage (that'll work out just fine) with Jimmy Olsen and his buddies Harvey Dent, Oswald Cobblepot, and more having a hard knock life.   The problem here, though, is the lyrics to the sing-a-long will have to change to, "Instead of kisses, we get experimented on and turned into horrific monsters!"  This version is edgier for the kids!

We continue with Jimmy being adopted, befriended by Superman, and living happily ever after.  But, of course, that can't happen here because there are more pages to fill. 
How Tom Taylor fills them is by giving us a story of Kal, Bruce, and Zala on the case of some missing children that feels so right in the fantasy setting of Dark Knights of Steel.  By that, I mean it all ties back to characters and situations that feel right for what we already know about the characters and nudges them slightly to fit well in this world.

By the end, there are some feels to be had, but it also sets up more of Amanda Waller's obvious plans, which I've been excited to see since she first showed up.

Casper Wijingaard's pencils and color work were equally good and fit the story well.

Next is "The Flock" by Jay Kristoff, with art by Sean Izaakse.  While I think Kristoff gets the voices of the characters, the story showing the beginnings of the Robins was a bit tedious.  The problem is, there wasn't much of a story at all.

We got some Harley Quinn, which was nice, but we also got some stale jokes about Bruce being grouchy, a wanted poster that served most of the setup, and the sad feeling of reading a missed opportunity.  Another character showed up, and while I loved her to death, it didn't feel right seeing her here.

The art by Izaakse was decent but felt more like a "house style" thing than anything unique.

C.S. Pacat and  Michele Bandini finish things up with another short story that cleverly introduces Bane into the world and ties a couple of things into it nicely.  I was a bit pissed off at first, but the end twist made things right, even if one of our main characters did come off as a prick!  It fits, though, and by the end, this might be setting up some more significant troubles down the road.

Bandini’s art fits everything nicely, and I would like to see what they would do with more space and varied set pieces.

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 or click here for podcast links and more: https://campsite.bio/weirdsciencecomics

Bits and Pieces:

Dark Knights of Steel: Tales From The Three Kingdoms #1 was a good anthology-style book filling in some blanks and setting up some cool stuff in the Dark Knights of Steel Universe.  I can easily recommend this to anyone who is reading the series.  New readers should start at the beginning (that's always a good place to start), but they will likely enjoy this when they get to it.


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