Dark Knights of Steel #6 – Tom Taylor, Writer; Yasmin Putri, Artist; Arif Prianto, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: It’s been a while since we got an issue of Dark Knights of Steel, especially after the devastating cliffhanger that saw Kal-El attempt to murder his half-brother Bruce. We knew that the Els were morally questionable in this series—particularly the terrifying Supergirl analog Zara Jor-El—but most people including me assumed Kal would be immune to this. Not so much. With Bruce presumed dead, Kal turns his interests back to the kingdom, where word is spreading of Zara’s murderous actions. A tense prequel reveals Tim Drake as a double-agent, an apprentice of Constantine spying on the Kingdom of Storms for the Els. Unfortunately, he manages to be exposed while Constantine is grieving the loss of the King, and what ensues is one of the most dramatic scenes of the whole series. As he flees back to his kingdom—and finds his mentor missing—the drumbeats for war keep on building.
The dynamic of the El family reminds me a lot of the Fire Nation in Avatar: The Last Airbender if Zuko had his father’s favor. Kal is a young man raised in corruption, with some good instincts that he works very hard to repress. His faith in his murderous younger sister is genuine, as is his determination to protect the crown—no matter what it costs him. Between his proclamations and Amanda Waller’s influence, it seems like Lara may increasingly be losing control of the kingdom—and the push for war sends Kal into Amazon territory where he tries to interrogate Hippolyta to prove Zara’s innocence. Like many men, he underestimates the Amazons, and that leads him to a surprising interaction with Amazon attache Lois Lane. Add in a shocking reveal about the Demon Etrigan’s host in this world, as well as a possible resurrection, and this remains one of the most intriguing Elseworlds the DC universe has had in a very long time.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.