DARK KNIGHTS OF STEEL #1/ Story by TOM TAYLOR/ Art by YASMINE PUTRI/ Colors by ARIF PRIANTO/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Published by DC COMICS
I eagerly anticipated Dark Knights Of Steel as soon as it was announced. A medieval take on the Justice League written by Tom Taylor? Even all the popular comics news outlets rushing to declare this a mixture of DC Comics and Game of Thrones couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm and the first issue more than met my expectations.
Our story opens with the novel twist that, in this reality, Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van traveled to Earth from Krypton and arrived in the middle of the Dark Ages. They came to rule a kingdom, which did not please Jefferson of the neighboring Kingdom of Storms, due to the House of El’s intolerance of magic – the one thing that could hurt them. This ban is largely enforced by a bastard son of the former king, the so-called Bat Prince, and his flock of Robins, but the Crown Prince Kal dislikes the protection his father demands and wonders at the justness of hunting down those with powers like his own.
Fantasy fans will be pleased by Taylor’s conceit and DC Comics fans will delight in picking out their favorite characters in familiar but new roles. Not all is revealed in this first chapter but there are many nods to Arthurian myth suggesting a far larger epic to come. The action, largely centered around the effort to catch a certain blonde banshee, is also quite thrilling. The final pages promise intrigue and skullduggery as well as high adventure.
The artwork is of equal quality to the script. I have not seen Yasmine Putri’s work before, apart from a single Nightwing cover, but her style is crisp and the designs, paired with the muted colors of Arif Prianto, evoke memories of classical woodcuts. The character designs are also notable, with a Dark Knight that is an actual knight and the soon-to-be Superman looking like a redesigned Prince Valiant sans page-boy haircut.
Dark Knights of Steel #1 will appeal to both fans of DC Comics and fantasy alike. I think it safe to say that Tom Taylor and Yasmine Putri have a hit on their hands. This will be the next great Elseworlds to dominate the imaginations of fans everywhere.