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Dark Knights of Steel #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 4, 2021
Cover date: March 2022

"The Gathering Storm"

Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Yasmine Putri
Cover: Yasmine Putri
Variant Covers: Joshua Middleton, Yasmine Putri

Reviewed by: Craig Boehmer
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Dark Knights of Steel #3 Master Olsen witnesses a green object plummet to earth, he urges his page to fetch a Robin to take the news to Batman. Bruce takes Alfred to go and find the object as part of the prophecy could pertain to it. In the Lands of Magnus the Metal Men are riding towards the crash site. They are confronted by Zala Jor-El dressed as a peasant in a green cloak. They ask her why she is in their lands, to which she replies they wont be their lands long before killing them.

On Themyscira Lois notifies Queen Hippolyta that King Jefferson is on his way to meet her about the murder of his son. After a tense moment on the dock, the King and Queen agree to meet on his ship. There's a really funny moment where King Jefferson questions why Queen Hippolyta wouldn't be safe with him, to which Lois remarks that he's killed one king already. The beginning of the meeting King Jefferson mourns the loss of his son. The queen asks him about murdering Jor-El, which he admits he did to protect the world. He then states that it was Zala Jor-El who murdered him. Diana, who is present at the meeting, explodes in wrath, denouncing the king's accusation. He calls on the Amazonians to honour the past alliances if war with the Els happens, a call that Queen Hippolyta accepts. This acceptance causes Diana to leave Themyscira to find Zala.

On the ship home, Constantine discovers that King Jefferson did this to remove Diana's pro El influence from Themyscira's court. As Constantine admires his king's real politik, Zala confronts the ship. Jefferson unleashes his full power against her, driving her deep into the ocean. Constantine immediately begins to cast his magic, but before he can protect the king, Zala erupts through the mid deck of the ship and thrusts a wooden beam through the king's chest. As she kills King Jefferson she utters the words, "No more kings." As he dies he beseeches Constantine to take care of the new Queen of Storms Anissa.

The issue ends with Bruce and Alfred discovering the dead Metal Men. Bruce laments that he knew these people, and recites a portion of the prophecy about men being torn like parchment. Then in the crater they discover a green rock fragment. Immediately Bruce collapses to the ground, while Alfred is unharmed. Bruce decides this is because of his El heritage and begins to confide in Alfred about it, Alfred says he knows and is ready to tell Bruce the whole truth.

5Story - 5: I have two quibbles in an otherwise amazing story. The first is that Bruce had no reason to suppose he got sick from the green rock because of his heritage. There is nothing in these three issues that would lead him to believe that the reason he got sick was because he was Kryptonian. As the reader, we know that's why, because we have seen Kryptonite and Kryptonians in many other stories, but Bruce doesn't have that luxury making it extremely unlikely that that would be the thing he thinks of. Other than both the Els, and the rock being from space, there is no connection. I kind of understand why Batman would make the connection, but the evidence he has is shaky.

The second quibble is how underutilized Kal has been so far. We are a quarter of the way through and he has barely done anything. I am nervous that Tom Taylor made Bruce an El only so he could write a Batman with the powers of Superman story. Kal needs to be given more to do, otherwise it feels like a wasted character.

I was surprised the Amazonians agreed to support King Jefferson. I liked that twist in the story, and look forward to the major conflict that will soon erupt. I also really enjoyed seeing Zala go on this rampage. She seems to want to destroy all kings as recompense for her lost father. Is that a result of her Amazonian training and the distrust/hatred for men that many Amazonians espouse? How will she react to Kal becoming king if she is intent on purging men from the thrones?

This story is rapidly world building, and I can't wait to see what other kingdoms exist in this series.

5Art - 5: The art is fantastic. It fits the style of story so well. The layouts are actively engaging, the choreography for action sequences look great, and the colours are beautiful.

5Cover Art - 5: I love Yasmin's work on these covers. They elicit of weird combination whimsy and direness when I look at them.

4Variant Cover Art #1 - 4: The Wonder Woman card. Her face was a little wonky, but I really like these character cards. They are a fun way to link this series to the tabletop role-playing games like D&D, and Pathfinder.

5Variant Cover Art #2 - 5: Fantastic image of King Kal with the El banner unfurled, the armour glittering in the sunlight, and the sword thrust into the ground. Beautiful!

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.
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