Dark Knights of Steel sets the recognizable DC heroes into a Medieval setting, one where Jor-El and a very pregnant Lara took the rocket away from Krypton and landed on Earth, becoming the king and queen of a nearby kingdom where their son is the crown prince while a bastard prince, Bruce Wayne the Bat-Prince, is their chief enforcer, a man working with his sidekicks to bring in anyone with “magic” powers, AKA metahumans, that might be a threat to the king and queen.
Oh, and that’s the brief summary.
Issue: Dark Knights of Steel #2, December 2021
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Yasmine Putri
The Plot: King Jefferson Pierce’s efforts to assassinate Jor-El, being successful, has to deal with the repercussions that might push the two kingdoms into war.
Commentary: I’ll say this for Tom Taylor: he sure does know how to throw out a curveball. The reader might expect Bruce Wayne to be a normal human, but no. As revealed in the first issue, he’s actually another Kryptonian. Jor-El was his actual, biological father, and Bruce witnessed the man he only just learned was his father die from an arrow to the eye, one shot by a certain green-clad archer working with the “green man” (Green Lantern).
Naturally, it doesn’t take much effort for Bruce to capture Oliver Queen. Alfred rides along, mostly to make sure Bruce doesn’t murder the man. Alfred need not worry too much. Maim him? Sure. But a dead man can’t answer questions.
If anything, this second issue goes a long way towards expanding more about this world. The first issue showed Harley Quinn as the Els’ court jester, but she’s also an advisor, and she has some thoughts on how the Els have been just locking any superhuman they find in the dungeon without so much as a trial, and at least one of the prisoners down there in the form of Detective Chimp chimes into agree.
The other visible prisoners? The Flash, Hawkman, Blue Devil, King Shark, and Beast Boy. Counting Green Arrow and Black Canary, and those are just the ones I’ve seen so far, that’s a lot of wrongfully arrested folks. It’s the sort of thing that suggests that just because Kal-El’s family is running things around here doesn’t mean they are completely benevolent. Besides, Amanda Waller is the general of their armed forces. It’s why Alfred is so valuable to Bruce as he has some experience with war, and he, along with Harley, wants to keep things from getting worse.
Bruce seems inclined to agree. I like the way this is going. It’s not a black-and-white situation, and it does seem as if the Els just took over a place because they could even if they aren’t actively malicious. Bruce is more of the main character that Kal so far as Kal seems to be a bit spoiled and feckless.
Meanwhile, Jefferson’s family appears, two kids I recognized (Annissa and Jennifer) but also a son named Jacob. He can control rain. That seems…rather harmless.
And then there’s the nation of Themyscira. Yes, it’s there where Princess Diana is training Jor-El and Lara’s daughter.
She seems to be the wild card here, and her actions prove it. As just about anyone with any sense that isn’t sitting on a throne seems to realize, this is all going to get worse before it gets any better.
You know, except for the reader. This is a series with a good story and good artwork. I’d be surprised, but that pretty much fits my experience with Tom Taylor’s writing at the very least.