Dark Knights of Steel #9
Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 3, 2023
Cover date: March 2023
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Yasmin Putri
Cover: Dan Mora
Variant Covers: Gerardo Zaffino, Lucio Parillo
Reviewed by: Craig Boehmer
Cassandra, an undercover Robin among the Amazons, rescues Kal-El. She sends him to stop the war, even giving him the lasso of truth to do it. Armed with this new tool Kal speeds off to the battlefield. He runs into his mother, who unbeknownst to him, has just killed Queen Hippolyta. She punches him down to the earth in the midst of the Amazonian army. They misconstrue this as an attack and Diana strikes out at Kal. Seeing the new Queen of the Amazons attack their crown prince, the El army strikes back.
In the dungeons of the castle, the Queen of the Els is murdering the prisoners. Ollie and Black Canary are able to escape the Queen’s wrath and find themselves in the armory. The battle outside the castle is in full swing. The Green Man is fully unleashed on both armies. In the midst of the fray, Lois approaches Constantine and both agree that someone is manipulating the kingdoms to fight. It is at this moment that Batman arrives on a dragon and the true Queen Lara attacks the imposter. A flame arrow from Ollie reveals that the imposter is actually a White Martian, and Alfred shows himself to be a Green Martian.
Story – 3: Ok my quibbles out of the way first. A continuing gripe I have had in this series is the handling of Kal El, he has no impact on the storyline and is just used as a punching bag. At the beginning of this issue, I wondered if that would change, him receiving the lasso was a great moment, but thus far it has proved to be a red herring. He is immediately defeated by, first his mother, then Diana, and then later Bruce on a dragon. His great moment of heroism is stolen from him, and then given to Batman who, as I said, arrives on a dragon, because he’s Batman. My next quibble has to do with Ollie. He has one arm and can’t use a bow so Black Canary suggests he uses a crossbow, and he responds stating how elegant a solution that is. He may be able to shoot a crossbow with one hand, but how is he going to reload it? By the time he reloads it, he will be dead! The crossbow gives him one bolt and is an incredibly stupid attempt at cleverness. Do you know what would have worked? Throwing knives! It would have kept him in the fight, and it would have been practical. Giving a crossbow to a one-armed man is stupid. It is made worse by the line of dialogue Ollie spouts.
The negatives out of the way, I would like to address the positives, because I actually really enjoyed most of this issue. As I said before, the interaction between Kal and Cass gave me hope for this issue. The arrival of Queen Lara at the battle to confront her imposter was also great. And I really loved the reveal of the White Martians as the ultimate villain. Revealing them while reciting the original prophecy added a nice bit of gravitas to the situation. And the inclusion of Martian Manhunter was amazing! I can’t wait to see what happens as a result of these reveals.
Art – 5: Yasmine Putri continues to draw a beautiful book. I would read a hundred issues of Putri penciling this world.
Cover Art – 4: I love Dan Mora’s art. He routinely puts out beautiful pages and covers. This cover is no exception. The energy he captures in this image is exciting and incredible. My only quibble is the faces along the bottom look a little wonky.
Variant Cover – 5: Wow!This cover is incredible. I want this image as a poster in my office. The cover shows a battle-weary Batman, with arrows sticking out of his armor, bent on one knee on the field following a major conflict. It is tragic and beautiful all in one. Amazing.
Variant Cover – 4: This cover looks fine; the only major issue is that I looked at the previous cover first.
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