Written by Tom Taylor. Art and Color by Yasmine Putri. Letters by Wes Abbot. Published by DC Comics.
My favorite comic book podcast refused to spoil this book. My local comic shop waited until I left so they wouldn’t spoil the comic. Everyone in my comic book circle was talking about this book, which means it went right to the top of my ‘to read’ pile and I’m glad that it did. It is also now going to be at the top of the pile every week a new issue comes out.
In this alternate take on the DC Universe, the infamous rocketship from Krypton happens with two small differences. One, the ship holds Kal-El’s living parents and an in utero soon to be one of the world’s finest heroes. The ship also lands much earlier than we’ve come to know. Centuries earlier. A medieval version of the DC lore and characters we’re familiar with. King and queens. Castles and knights. All of which are versions of classic heroes and villains.
As the story was not spoiled for me I’m not sure how much to tell readers. I went into the story knowing this is an Elseworlds version of DC taking place in the aforementioned time. Half of the fun is guessing who is being mentioned before they appear. I had multiple guesses for a banshee or a green man before their identities were revealed.
The easy elevator pitch is this is DC’s version of Game of Thrones. And sure, that’s there, but it’s so much more as well. These heroes are so iconic as long as certain characteristics hold true they can be played with and put into different situations like this easily. Superman wants to be a hero and protect. Batman operates in the shadows. Harley Quinn is a court jester who knows more than she lets on.
Thanks to that familiarity this story can do something that the regular DC series can’t. Tell a story first instead of a character first. The Superman comics are about Superman. The Batman comics are about Batman. But Dark Knights of Steel is about this story and characters will come and go based on when and where they are needed for the story. Characters are not forced in because they’re hot nor do they have to address what is happening in their own titles (nothing like reading a big event book with blue Superman randomly in there). Within the first issue there is already a sense of an unrestrained story. Assumptions are out the window. Risks and consequences are back. No one feels safe, and the end of the issue cements that point.
We can talk about spoilers next month, but the final page should get every reader to call their local comic store and add the next 11 issues to their pull lists.