DC Comics’ Dark Knights of Steel #1 looks simply like it’s taking DC characters and putting them in a medieval setting. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Writer Tom Taylor, artist Yasmine Putri, and letterer Wes Abbott make huge changes to these DC characters, showing us that anything is possible.
Taylor has fantastic knack for shaking things up. From his work on Injustice to Suicide Squad, Taylor has shown he likes to see familiar characters working through uncomfortable new dynamics and circumstances, with real stakes. It’s refreshing. The safety of it being a “superhero comic” is stripped away by Taylor’s audacious scripts. And in the very first scene of Dark Knights of Steel, Taylor proves that this series is no different. He takes the most familiar origin story in DC Comics and changes it, drastically. As the issue progresses, we see that his changes ripple out into the world he’s practically building from the ground up. We’re no longer sure who is a hero and who’s a villain. Better yet, we have no clue what’s going to happen next.
Art & Coloring
Putri bounces back and forth between deeply emotional beats and light, funny ones. She seems just as comfortable drawing Constantine, convulsing on the floor from prophetic visions, as she is drawing Harley Quinn’s cartoonish expressions as she taunts the Bat Prince. At one point, Putri gives us reason to question whether these versions of Superman and Batman – here, he’s called the Bat Prince – are quite like the characters we’re familiar with. We see Superman pictured in cool blue. He’s holding his hand over a woman’s mouth, looking at her with curiosity. The next panel shows the woman in red, then we see the Bat Prince in the same cool blue tone, holding the hilt of his sword up where the woman’s head had been.
Putri makes the movement of these panels seem almost like a standoff. It reads innocently enough, but the coloring of the scene sows the seeds for tension and strain in this pivotal relationship. Putri also gives each scene a real sense of timing with her coloring. The lighting of each scene changes, making it feel like we experience a full day with the characters. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference, putting readers right into the story.
From the get-go, we’re introduced to a world of chaos. The large “RRRRRMMBBBLLLLLLE” of a planet breaking apart finds its way into each panel. But once the characters have gotten clear of the destruction, the chaos doesn’t subside. Dialogue and sound effects zigzag randomly across the page, making your eyes dart around to take it all in. Abbott makes the scene feel overwhelming. It puts readers right into the minds of the characters. Readers feel the chaos and tension, all from the balloon placement and spacing, just as the characters experiencing it all do.
DC Comics’ Dark Knights of Steel #1 not only introduces us to a new world but to what feels like a whole new set of characters. This creative team is boldly changing up classic stories to cast them in a new light. Pick up Dark Knights of Steel #1, out from DC Comics November 2nd, at a comic shop near you!