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Dark Knights of Steel #12 Review

4 min read
Great characters, engaging and fun stories that shake things up, and great artwork. Very recommended.

“Scorched Earth”

Creative Staff:
Story: Tom Taylor
Art: Yasmine Putri
Colorist: Arif Prianto
Letterer: Wes Abbott

What They Say:
The cataclysmic conclusion to the bestselling series is here. The Three Kingdoms are united for the first time in a generation against a common threat-but can even their combined might prevail? Will a traitor in their midst turn the tide of the final battle? The shocking finaleā€¦but is this truly the end?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Non-continuity DC books continue to be where I’m at and this one has been hitting the mark on just about all counts for me. It’s the kind of book I’m excited to re-read later because my enjoyment is tempered by the gaps in it, from a five-month one before to a couple of two-month gaps as well. Tom Taylor has long shown a really solid understanding of characters and how to place them in new situations, retain what makes them who they are, but really challenge them in how they react. Just being able to make a real impact on characters with events goes a long way toward hitting a sweet spot for me. With this being the final installment, it’s good once again to have Yasmine Putri on the book and the payoff is there with the look, design, and overall quality that they bring to it.

The series draws to a close in a way that’s easily expected in that while it’s the final chapter of this story, there’s a world of stories ahead. And I’m fine with that because it can provide closure as it should but leave the door open for more for those, like myself, who wand and would enjoy that. The final fight against the White Martians is nicely done as it’s a plan that has been devised by the advisors of all three kingdoms, which helps to reinforce to their rulers that they can do this and that they can complement each other in coming up with something crazy and unexpected. It’s something that lets Lois, Constantine, and Harley put their unique spin on it and while it’s all laid out clearly in that regard, it is again just a selling point to the leaders that they’re unified in it. And, well, Bobo likes it as well as something that he can’t calculate a failure with. And when dealing with powerful opponents like this army of White Martians, you definitely want to reduce the chance of failure.

The fight itself is creative and I do like that they kept it so that it was just the primary people of the Kryptonians and Amazon since that White Martians could kill the rest easily. And their deal with Waller makes a lot of this possible, though there are problems and losses along the way. Waller’s betrayal isn’t a surprise, or the fake-turn in order to save herself, and it sets up future stories easily enough while making sure we have unlikable characters around. The White Martians and their story, notably with Protex, never resonated deeply because they were just the villain du jour instead of a true threat with personality. They were motivators for everything else that happens. So it’s good to square them off quickly and spend a lot of time on epilogue material, moving the characters to where they’ll go next, and wrapping up certain plot points. I really like Bruce and Kal’s relationship by the end of this and want to see more of Kal and Lois as well. There are so many good small moments but this is exactly where Taylor excels and it makes this all the more engaging.

In Summary:
This was an absolute blast of a series from start to finish that only suffered from the delays it had. And those were worthwhile because the quality of the artwork and writing will mean that in the long run when more people see this through collections where they’ll have the best experience. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the finale wraps up things neat and tidy but with enough messes around the edges so that we’ll definitely come back for more whenever they decide to revisit it again. The concept is simple – just like the other non-continuity books that Taylor has worked on – but the execution is fantastic across the board. This is the kind of stuff that keeps me reading DC’s books when their sprawling continuity stuff just feels like it doesn’t work. Great characters, engaging and fun stories that shake things up, and great artwork. Very recommended.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics
Release Date: August 22nd, 2023
MSRP: $3.99