“Wait a second — Batman has a Black Ops team?”
This may have been the moment that sold us most on Dark Days: The Forge, one of two precursor one-shots to DC’s big event, Dark Nights: Metal, which begins in August. There was plenty to like before that line of text — a refocusing on Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s archaeological foundation and possible further exploration of Nth metal itself; reappearances by a Blackhawk and Immortal Man; a fun meeting of Hal Jordan and Batman’s new not-Robin, Duke Thomas. But that line of dialog, spoken by Thomas and accompanied by a team image of the classic Outsiders lineup (minus Looker, unfortunately) tickled our nostalgia bone mightily. Plus, you know, more Black Lightning and Metamorpho are always welcome (Halo and Geo-Force? Less so. And Katana’s gotten plenty of airtime in Suicide Squad).
Indeed, it seems Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV are pulling a lot of classic toys out of the chest for this one, though seeing Plastic Man in some kind of ball/blob stasis in the Batcave really makes me worry that the Dark Knight has gone loonier than his arch-nemesis. Observe his utter dismissal of Mister Miracle once the latter opened an impossible lock for the former. Because why would you want the living embodiment of freedom at your side when negotiating the Multiverse, via equipment left over from (of course) a Crisis? (Yes, capital “Crisis” — as in “On Infinite Earths”). All wrapped up in ominous journal dialog by Mr. Carter Hall, Hawkman himself.
This is all setup, but at least it’s setup that presents an intriguing mystery and puts many underused and well-loved characters on the playing field, more than we’ve mentioned above. A most excellent appetizer, with nice art from Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, and John Romita, Jr. We enjoyed the book, but caution that this is, again, but an appetizer — the soup course, Dark Days: The Casting, follows in a month, and the main event, as we teased above, comes in August. That’s where the quality, story, and answers will really matter. But for now? Definitely, recommend; should whet any DC fan’s whistle.
GEEK Grade: A-
Images: DC Comics