This week DC launches a major event that promises to be the biggest story of the Rebirth era to date. What are the mysteries of Dark Knights: Metal, and is its first chapter Dark Days – The Forge at all accessible to readers not well-versed in DC’s history?
Dark Days – The Forge #1 (digital)
Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV. Line art by Andy Kubert with Danny Miki, John Romita Jr. with Klaus Janson, and Jim Lee with Scott Williams. Color art by Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper. Letters by Steve Wands
DC Comics has always delivered better mysteries than Marvel.
Maybe it’s down to their “Detective Comics” namesake, or maybe it’s because none of Marvel’s major characters are as dedicated to unravelling secrets as Batman, but DC Events always seem more mysterious to me than their Marvel counterparts.
The Forge is no exception. I went into this quite suspicious that the story would work for me as a minor DC fan. I enjoyed it, despite there being a few elements that went over my head.
I think an even newer reader might actually fare better than me, because a lot of my confusion came from knowing just tidbits of some of the stories and being confused about what relied on history and what was introduced. To fresh eyes, this will all have the ring of a story that’s been in motion for years.
The central thrust of this issue is that Batman has been exploring a worldwide mystery, possibly spurred on by a revelation Court of Owls. It’s not about a villain or an imminent threat to the Earth, but it’s the sort of ball of yarn he cannot help but unravel. Per his usual M.O., Batman has been keeping other heroes in the dark, bringing them in only as-needed while using his vast resources both as Bruce Wayne and Batman to pursue an answer.
He isn’t the only one in the middle of an investigation. Hawkman recounts an unending life of reincarnation as he ponders the mysteries of the Nth Metal. And, Hal Jordan is assigned by one of the Guardians of the Universe to investigate an Earthbound mystery – and it’s no coincidence that the mystery is deep below Gotham City. [Read more…] about Comic Book Review: Dark Days – The Forge #1 by Snyder, Tynion, Kubert, Romita, & Lee
The Detective Comics comic books definitive issue-by-issue collecting guide and trade reading order for omnibus, hardcover, and trade paperback collections. Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics and The Definitive Guide to Collecting Batman Comics. Last updated January 2017 with titles scheduled for release through July 2017.
Post-Crisis Detective Comics: #568 (Nov 1986) – Present
Many of DC’s heroes saw their comics relaunched in the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths to delineate where their new continuity began. That was not the case with Batman, whose Detective Comics and Batman continued their runs uninterrupted.
Detective Comics #568 is chosen as the demarcation of Batman’s changeover from pre- to post-Crisis for three reasons.
First, it was a chapter in the Legends event, which was DC’s first linewide event after the conclusion of Crisis – necessitating all characters appearing therein were in their post-Crisis iterations.
Second, the creative team mentions the changes in the letters column of this issue!
And, finally, it’s the end of a run by and outgoing writer, Joey Cavalieri, so it makes a natural change-over point.
[Read more…] about Collecting Detective Comics comic books (#568 – Present, post Crisis on Infinite Earths)
In Marvel comics it has become an ongoing, in-universe joke that Wolverine appears in more titles each month than would seem to fit into the life of any person, super or not. You’d almost think he shares the super-power of duplication with Madrox, or at least occasionally borrows Hermoine’s time turner.
Batman shares a similar status (eight and counting this month), but his multitude of appearances typically occur in and around Gotham. It’s not much of a stretch to picture him swinging through Batwoman on his way from Detective Comics to Batman & Robin.
Super-scheduling aside, the challenge facing any over-saturated hero is differentiation – how are the appearances different, and appealing to different audiences? Wolverine has it in spades – some books with X-Men, others solo, more with Avengers. Spider-Man gave up on it, and now he’s down to one main title that comes out constantly. There’s a new issue, like, every other day.
Batman is presently supporting three solo titles (four, if you count Robin), and I honestly don’t see much point in that beyond Bat-saturation. Batsuration? I’m definitely Batsurated, and it’s only week three. Why not move to the Spider-Man model?
Written by Scott Snyder, art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
Rating: 3.5 of 5 – Great
In a Line: “Are you asking me if you were convincing as a homicidal maniac?”
#140char Review: Batman #1 treads lightly between gory DC#1 & goofy B&R#1 w/a solid mystery & fuller cast. Capullo’s art is perfect. Expect more good things
CK Says: Buy it.
Batman #1 packs a fun meaningless brawl, a portentous business move, and a grim mystery into one tidy debut issue that wisely cedes the “thrill-a-minute” crown to other Batbook debuts in order to sketch a fuller picture of Bruce Wayne and his cast of characters. Scott Snyder hits all the right beats and keeps Bruce in costume for just enough pages.
I love the device Snyder uses to set the tone, with Batman distractingly narrating a relatively rote mission with an editorial about the Gotham Gazette. If it’s a little glib it can be excused for being such an effective device for setting the stage of Gotham, as well as Bruce Wayne’s intentions for it as both a philanthropist and a superhero.
Greg Capullo is absolutely perfect for Snyder’s grim Gotham with a sliver of hope. His textured work never gets too dark thanks to inker Jonathan Glapion and a subdued set of desaturated colors from FCO Plascencia. I might even prefer his monstrous, deranged Joker to the lithe asexual one in Detective.
While villains get tons of line-work and toothy grins, Batman is portrayed simply – black cowl, lantern jaw with a slash of a mouth and a tiny furrow for a chin. The rest of Capullo’s Bat family is all dashingly, boyishly handsome. His version of the cave is expansive, but still claustrophobically hemmed in by columns of rock. His brightly lit ballroom scenes aren’t as striking, but they shouldn’t be – and I got a visceral thrill from the first scene of Bruce back in costume.
It’s hard to make an always grim Batman anything but flat and predicable – the issue becomes about gadgets, villains, and violence. Snyder’s Batman has dimension and a sense of gallows humor. In Detective it was all gallows and no laughs, and in Batman & Robin the latter was all maniacal giggles all the time. Only here does the millionaire playboy turned city defender really come through in the personality of our hero. While he’s not a wise-cracking Spider-Man, that doesn’t mean he has to be a humorless soggy cape, either.
Should you buy Batman #1? I say yes. Detective Comics was more of a classic and Finch might be more of a scorcher on art this week, but Snyder and Capullo find a comforting middle ground that pays homage to all of the versions of Batman we’ve grown up with. Perhaps devout Morrison fanatics will find this too plain-jane in anticipation of the return of Batman Inc, but otherwise it’s sure to please.