Writers: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Pencils: Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, & John Romita Jr.
Inks: Scott Williams, Klaus Janson, & Danny Miki
Colors: Alex Sinclair with Jeremiah Skipper
Letters: Steve Wands
In some ways Dark Days: the Forge feels out of place with the current DC Rebirth Universe and the slow build toward the Doomsday Clock. Dark Days: the Forge feels more connected to the pre Rebirth or the New 52 DCU, especially as the principal architect of Dark Days: the Forge and its follow up event, Metal, is Scott Snyder whose Batman was the breakout success of the New 52. So I had a hint of unease when I first heard of Dark Days: The Forge but after reading the issue that was completely unfounded as Dark Days the Forge is an all around great read and a wonderful kickoff to what will hopefully be an excellent event.
There are three stories in this issue. We have the overarching Batman story as he is investigating a Crisis level threat to the entire DC Universe, and anyone who knows DC history I do not use the word Crisis lightly. This is very much Snyder’s Batman, and you feel the frustration Batman has as he tries to piece together the mysterious threat to the world and the villainous Batman Dictator premonitions he is having, which is front and center on the cover. This dicator Batman seems a cross between Miller’s Dark Knight Returns and Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come version of the character, which is very much not in line with where Batman is today. Batman crisscrosses the DCU in pursuit of knowledge, but he’s not the only detective on the case as Sector 2814’s original Earth born GL Hal Jordan is sent to Wayne Manor to seek a universal threat. I love when Green Lanterns are used as police officers and the GL portions of this issue were really well done, once Batman’s current protégé, Duke Thomas, joins the fray. The final storyline is Hawkman’s. Recently lost to the DCU in the Death of Hawkman mini-series but his contact with the Nth Metal in Ancient Egypt has some close tie to the threat to the world today and over the course of the story we will no doubt learn more about this alien metal and the impact it has had and will have on the DC Universe going forward.
Scott Snyder has a wonderful sense of who Batman is and what makes him click but joining Snyder is James Tynion IV, current scribe of Detective Comics, who has done and continues to humanize Batman and make him more of a team player. The Batman in Dark Days: The Forge is very much a team player who is willing to ask from help, whether that be Aquaman or Superman. Even Mister Miracle and Mr. Terrific are willing to lend a hand once asked by the Dark Knight Detective. I like this Batman, much more then the Anti-Hero who only exists to challenge his teammates. The superstar art doesn’t hurt either as Andy Kubert, John Romita Jr., and Jim Lee all contribute to the issue. The art shift isn’t to jarring even though all three have very distinct styles but the issue felt like it had three chapters and each artist handled a chapter. I’m glad Metal will have just a single artist, Greg Capullo, but the three artists on this issue worked for me.
Verdict: If you like a classic Batman detective story with a Crisis level threat then this is a must Buy. Dark Days: The Forge is a wonderful beginning to what should be an excellent event. I look forward to Metal if this is any indication of what it is going to be.