Ricky Church reviews Dark Days: The Forge #1…
DARKNESS COMES TO THE DC UNIVERSE WITH THE MYSTERY OF THE FORGE! Aquaman, The Flash and more of DC’s pantheon of heroes suspect Batman of hiding a dark secret that could threaten the very existence of the multiverse! It’s an epic that will span generations—but how does it connect to the origins of one of DC’s most legendary heroes?
Batman fans hold Scott Snyder in very high regard for his run on the main Batman title during The New 52 with Greg Capullo. In fact, Snyder and Capullo were the only creative team to remain on a title for the duration of The New 52. It was bittersweet when the pair ended their run, but they teased a future collaboration for a DC event. Dark Days: The Forge #1 is the prelude to Metal, Snyder and Capullo’s event, and if this issue is anything to go by, it will be quite an interesting ride.
Snyder and Detective Comics writer James Tynion IV craft an intriguing mystery that seems to span the entirety of the DC universe. Heroes such as Green Lantern, Superman, Mr. Terrific and Hawkman play parts to varying degrees, with Hawkman’s role seeming to be a significant one, as Batman digs deeper into a huge mystery. For such a large cast within this issue, it still feels very focused as Snyder and Tynion primarily follow Batman, Hawkman and Green Lantern. Even among the three of them, each hero’s presence is well balanced.
The issue is paced very well. Though nothing major happens, or any big action pieces, Dark Days builds suspense through Batman’s actions with whatever he is investigating. The intrigue builds even further with the unlikely pairing of Green Lantern and Duke Thomas, a potential partnership fans should see more of. The story peels back the depths of just how far this goes as Snyder ties it back to the very beginning of his New 52 run. There are also a couple very unexpected developments, including a surprising cliffhanger, that make it hard to predict where exactly Dark Days and Metal will go from here.
The art is split between three of DC’s big heavyweights: Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr. Each artist does very well in the book, adding to the mysterious atmosphere throughout the story. Andy Kubert’s sections with Hawkman and his long, varied history are one of the highlights of the book and Jim Lee and JRJR create an eerie and moody feeling as Green Lantern and Duke discover more about the Batcave.
The only real negative in the art, though, is how it shifts artist a bit inconsistently. Lee begins drawing the Batcave, but is then taken over by JRJR and vice versa in the Fortress of Solitude. While both are very good, they also have different styles and feels. The shifts just make the visuals inconsistent, but still don’t distract very much from the overall story.
Dark Days: The Forge #1 introduces a compelling mystery to the DC Universe and Snyder does an excellent job at building up to it, peeling back layers from his own New 52 run. While the art could have been a bit more consistent in some places, Lee, Kubert and JRJR make a visual treat for fans. With this issue and Snyder at the helm, readers have a lot to look forward to with this event.