Dark Days: The Forge #1 review

A long time ago, an Egyptian prince discovers the secrets of Nth metal. 

Today, Batman rescues a scientist from a volcanic eruption in the Bermuda Triangle. 
And Green Lantern Hal Jordan is dispatched to the Batcave by the Guardian Ganthet, to stop a secret coming to light. Before he can discover what that is, Hal meets one of Batman’s associates. 
Once he knows he’s facing an opponent in yellow, Hal can concentrate and overcome his power ring’s weakness to the colour – Duke won’t get the drop on him again. This gives Hal the chance to focus on his mission. 
That has to be the spot where the mysterious smiley face badge – excuse me, button – was found by Batman awhile back, in the DC Universe Rebirth special. It’s just one intriguing moment In a single-issue special full of attention grabbers. From the return of Mr Terrific after a couple of years in comics limbo (he manages seven whole panels before mentioning his high IQ) to the involvement of Duke’s mother with a shadowy organisation to the frankly disturbing imprisonment by Batman of a DC fan favourite, writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV keep the surprises coming.
One moment that really got my attention was this…
… and not just for the horrendous costume and hair on Halo. The original Outsiders as an off-the-books team investigating the secrets of Nth Metal? So far as I can recall, Nth Metal was originally simply what allowed Hawkman and Hawkwoman to fly; over the years it was revealed to have other properties, for example, granting – or maybe, cursing – the Hawks with a reincarnation reflex, and protecting people from mortal harm. 
Now, though, it’s being set up as the backbone of the big DC event, Metal, that kicks off here.  Snyder and Tynion deftly seed new story strands alongside the existing Hawkman mythology, rewarding veteran readers – one item Batman’s hiding comes right out of Crisis on Infinite Earths. I can imagine newer fans also lapping this comic up, with its centuries-spanning mysteries and promise of epic set-pieces. 
I did have reservations that once again we were seeing a Batman so egocentric and paranoid that he wouldn’t share information with his Justice League colleagues, but the writers seem to have anticipated that one
Fair enough. That leaves just the inclusion of a villain of whom I’m heartily sick; still, he’s a popular guy. 
As are all three pencillers on this 30pp story – Andy Kubert, Jim Lee and John Romita Jr. I like the Lee pages, inked by Scott Williams, a lot, and the Kubert sequences, with Klaus Janson, are great. I’m less keen on the Romita/Danny Miki pages, Romita’s style is so stiff these days that it really lessens the urgency of the narrative. Plus, his figures are jarringly blocky compared to the other artists, as on his variant cover with Miki and colourist Alex Sinclair (of course, it’s all just opinion – my other half loves the Romita,  saying ‘it looks like they’re bullets being fired at us’). The other variant, by Kubert and colourist Brad Anderson, is a nice pin-up, which leaves the main cover, by Lee, Williams and Sinclair, as the right choice – I really want to know the story that goes with that image. 
Dark Days: The Forge is an entertaining, good-looking foundation stone for what looks set to be a great event. Don’t miss it. 

7 thoughts on “Dark Days: The Forge #1 review

  1. Batman can keep that “fan favourite” character locked up as long as he wants. I'll take Ralph any day of the week!
    My only concern with this issue is that it's lots and lots of set-up with no indication of when we're going to see the next chapter in the story. I haven't been following all the pr pieces about Metal, and what few I have seen don't really give me an indication of where this story is going next. There's lots coming down the pike, but I've got no clue what's coming next or when. It's one thing to set up mysteries and secrets (like in the Rebirth special) but you definitely lose momentum if those mysteries aren't explored ie. Imra Ardeen, Ray Palmer, Johnny Thunder.
    Having said all that, I enjoyed what I read (except for bearded Aquaman) and really want to see more.


  2. It's early days but isn't the inherent negativity they’re advertising for this Event antithetical to the mission statement of Rebirth? No big to me since I generally dislike and avoid DC Events. I also have never warmed to Snyder's writing…

    Oh and whomever decide this was a good tweak on Halo's look should be barred from costume design. It looks bad enough to be a Romita Junior design!


  3. I just kept noticing old ideas from other places being recycled and appropriated. The “egg” was from “The Dark Knight Strikes Again”, the “fan favorite character” being locked up in the Batcave may've come from an idea Paul Dini threw into his “Dark Night” GN as an unused idea he had for “Batman Beyond”. And the Hawkman stuff just seemed to lack empathy to really think much of Carter/Kator..

    Connect the dots…and it sounds like the “There are 3” mystery from Rebirth is going to explored a little. The only other spoiler-free observation is that it was very “You don't say..you don't say..” “What'd he say?” “He didn't say.”


  4. kinda bummed as well at the “Surprise Ending” but everything else was awesome but the narration could've alternated between Carter an Shayera

    Also The Hawks secret base looked incredibly awesome, here;s hoping Snyder writes a Hawk series


  5. I get your confusion, I think what's next is a special calls Dark Days: The Casting on July 12, followed by lots of Batman specials in August. But I'm not terribly sure.


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