After a long prelude, the war for the three kingdoms finally begins! Hippolyta, Amanda Waller, and the newly crowned Queen Anissa meet face to face on the battlefield. Although, the growing tension between the armies shorten the discussion and edge them all closer to mutually assured oblivion.
Medieval politics have not been the same after HBO’s Game of Thrones and House of The Dragon. Knights of Steel borrows the look and feel of Tolkien and George R.R. Martin excellently. The book has an air of mystery and distrust made worse by near-Faustian alliances and scarily easy vengeance. The creative team renders every knight and sorcerer’s action sequences just as well the interpersonal dramas. Furthermore, the hidden truths behind the overall mystery leave readers still wondering exactly what’s going on. Whatever the scheme, it is obvious that Tom Taylor intends for them to fall into the trap without much resistance.
Issue #8 provides pay off for several plotlines brewing in the series till now. On the low end, the fool Harley’s partnership with Ivy has resulted in a powerful ally for the Els in their time of need. Harley safely bets on Ivy’s love for her to serve as due payment. At the high end, Constantine’s desperate resurrection of the Prince of Storms only serves as a selfish flashpoint to war. Constantine is all in after his bargain with The Demon. Hippolyta’s heads into battle believing she holds all the cards after abducting Prince Kal, but overestimates her understanding of the problem. Curiously, both sides aren’t listening to diplomacy, despite advisors Lois and Harley bringing up suspicions related to the overarching conspiracy. Even the infamous Green Man casually shows up to aid Constantine while no one seems to want any questions answered.
On another note, Dinah and Oliver’s courtship starts in an unlikely place. Readers may remember them as Batman’s metahuman prisoners as far back as Dark Knights of Steel #1. For as cute as their moment together may seem, Oliver is still Jor-El’s unrepentant killer. However, now we discover Oliver believes he “saved the world.” Yasmine Putri’s ability to make a jail scene look beautiful aside, this is yet another mysterious piece of the big picture. I have no idea whether to root for their romance or hang in suspense for its future implications. It is especially uneasy not knowing exactly which sides the banshee and the archer truly serve. At the very least, the book finds a way to make flicking a rock look dramatic.
I don’t ever want to miss any chance to compliment the book’s gorgeous artwork. The staging of the characters feels mostly natural in action and dress. Admittedly, I can still nitpick certain foreshortening choices such as the The Green Man’s flight gesture as one of the weaker elements in the artwork. Arif Prianto’s skin tones, hair, and metal in particular comes out satisfyingly rendered, but never hyper realistic. I still admire the way the layout narrows with the momentum of the action. My favorite panel is a violent marriage of line art and color. The piece could almost live as a separate piece of work dividing its horror from parts perfectly drained of color. Every element understood the assignment and ends the book in a shocking but worthy spread.
- Hoping for some exciting action in Dark Knights of Steel.
- You just finished House of The Dragon or Rings of Power and need more of the same.
- You love Dinah and Oliver flirting in any universe.
Dark Knights of Steel #8 feels like one of the better chapters in a sometimes hard to read series. Much of its conflict comes as a result of several clashing storylines. I can tell Taylor has a handle on the direction by how each moment weaves into the narrative. The layout, color, and tone of the artwork is also a positive standout. Overall, I’m glad that things seem to be picking up, and hope for further major reveals in the mystery.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a free copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.