At long last! The final chapter of Dark Knights Of Steel comes to a striking end. For twelve harrowing issues, the three kingdoms of the realm have gone to war because of a long standing lie. With Protex’s evil influence out in the open, the kingdoms have finally turned their war in the right direction. In any case, the challenge of overcoming the White Martians will take careful planning. Although, Protex and his allies have devastating plans of their own.
It Began With A Blizzard
As a result of the penultimate issue, both sides take time to plan their next moves. For one, Waller petitions for an unlikely alliance with Protex. Waller reasons that if her team manages to disrupt the defensive moat of fire, the White Martians will overpower the castle. Of course, there are implications that even this version of Waller will eventually turn on the Martians for survival. Alternatively, Harley Quinn, Constantine, and Lois Lane present the alliance with a plan of their own. Narratively, their united collaboration represents the mending of the initial conflict between the three kingdoms. In fact, the Martian’s original intent was to always keep the kingdoms apart and weakened.
The battle initiates with a surprise attack by Captain Cold and Waller’s defectors. The blizzard puts out the fires and allows a Martian smokescreen to cross enemy lines. Luckily, Black Canary is there to let off a massive canary cry in response. Consequently, the massive shockwave sends ripples throughout the panels that shakes ink from the frame itself! Nevertheless, it isn’t long before Protex and the White Martians overwhelm the entire front line. Despite the metahuman opposition, Protex proves to be an absolute menace with his alien powers and lantern constructs. Yasmin Putri’s depiction of his speed, momentum, and brutality gives the pages exciting spectacle.
It Ends With Scorched Earth
After agreeing to the alliance’s big plan, Bruce, Kal El, Zala, and Diana suit up to confront Protex. Admittedly, I really like the uniqueness of Kal El’s gold cuirass in comparison to Superman’s traditional appearance. The first phase of their plan involves convincing the White Martians to move away from the castle. Weirdly enough, the heroes choose Mount Kristoff as their venue. Ironically, it is the exact site where the Kryptonians reveal themselves to the three kingdoms. However, the choice turns out to be more strategic than nostalgic as the Kingdom of Storms reignite the long dormant volcano! Subsequently, in the second phase of the plan, the invulnerable heroes also immolate themselves in what Harley refers to as a show of “sheer bastardry.”
With fire as an advantage, the four superhumans demolish Protex and his forces. In particular, the rare opportunity for Diana to exact her revenge on the Martian who kills her mother. To be honest, that welcome sequence of panels depicting that moment are as cheer worthy as they are brutal. Conversely, the El family discovers a way to choose mercy while still eliminating their enemies. Sadly, the eponymous Dark Knight of Steel never sees his final foe coming. The traitorous General Waller attempts to hide her involvement by any means necessary. Unfortunately, this includes killing or implicating anyone who gets in her way. Regrettably, Batman is a knight in this universe and not a detective, therefore Waller cunningly evades capture.
In the end, the three kingdoms predictably form a “league of their own” and tease potential sequels. Though mostly a “happy” ending, the story still retains a somber and reflective tone. Chiefly, the resolution of the relationship between Kal El and Bruce is my favorite moment. Specifically, the handshake they share is somewhat emblematic of their Prince Of Egypt-like conflict coming to an end. I can even imagine a triumphant orchestral score blaring at the restoration of their fractured brotherhood. Still, it somehow feels like only the beginning of this Batman’s story potential.
- You love Game of Thrones or Dungeons & Dragons.
- A fan of Dark Knights of Steel eager to see how it all ends.
- You’re ready for a new DC Comics Elseworld adventure.
The fantastic world of Knights of Steel is fun, interesting, and action packed. Though most characters have familiar traits and reputation, a new reader can have a blast flipping through the story with little to no experience reading DC Comics at all. Even still, there are few issues and nitpicks that Tom Taylor still can’t justify. Aside from all of the cool moments, the story takes small convivences to get from point A to point Z. In just this issue, I have no idea why the Kryptonite wielding White Martians would leave the battlefield to chase the heroes. Furthermore, it is a Batman/Superman story at its core, but Kal El doesn’t actually get to do anything. Yet, overall I’d never say any of those things will keep this book from being an often gorgeous adventure for curious readers.
DISCLAMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.