REVIEW: ‘Dark Knights of Steel,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dark Knights of Steel #4

Dark Knights of Steel #4 is written by Tom Taylor, illustrated by Bengal, colored by Arif Prianto, and lettered by Wes Abbott. It’s published by DC Comics. “Child of the Gods” begins immediately after the ending of Dark Knights of Steel #3, with Alfred telling Bruce Wayne the story of the early days of the House of El and their partnership with the House of Wayne — including Jor-El’s brief affair with Martha Wayne, which led to the birth of Batman.

This issue marks a stark departure from the first three issues in terms of story structure and art, both with how Taylor structures the entire story as a flashback and how Bengal takes over art duties from Yasmine Putri. In the case of the former, it allows Taylor to put an entirely new spin on the dynamic of the World’s Finest. Batman and Superman have often referred to each other as brothers, and Taylor takes that dynamic to its ultimate extreme by making them actual brothers. He also continues to revamp other DC characters, including a truly twisted take on Green Lantern that had my jaw on the floor.

In addition to his medieval revamp of the DC Universe, Taylor continues to pepper the series with some emotional moments. This includes the death of the Waynes. However, this event’s been retold far too many times to count. It takes on some extra resonance here, given who commits the murder and what it reveals about how Kryptonian physiology works in this universe. Alfred also tells Bruce that his parents aren’t perfect, but they did love him, which eases the conflicting emotions swirling in the Dark Knight’s mind. And while the conclusion of Alfred’s tale is foregone, it has genuine emotional weight considering he’s been a father figure to Batman.

Bengal does a great job as the fill-in artist; his art style feels like images from an animated series. This lends intensity to action sequences, including the Els stopping an erupting volcano with their bare hands, and gives weight to emotional sequences, including Martha and Jor-El meeting face to face for the first time. Prianto delivers different shades of colors depending on the setting; in the past, everything has a lighter shade to it —  except when the pages light up in a fiery red when the Els use their heat vision and bright green from Lantern’s power ring. The past takes place mostly at night, a crackling fire throwing shadows on Alfred and Bruce’s faces. Abbott tops off the issue with his lettering, which is slightly more slanted and thinner than lettering in other comic books. This has the effect of writing on parchment, which fits in perfectly with the series’ medieval theme.

Dark Knights of Steel #4 reveals the origin of its medieval universe’s Batman, which is laced with equal amounts of tragedy and triumph. It also makes for a great interlude in the ongoing story, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we get another issue like this down the line.

Dark Knights of Steel #4 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Dark Knights of Steel #4
5

TL;DR

Dark Knights of Steel #4 reveals the origin of its medieval universe’s Batman, which is laced with equal amounts of tragedy and triumph. It also makes for a great interlude in the ongoing story, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we get another issue like this down the line.