“It’s ALL in the moment of discovery…when you’re about to learn something you can never unlearn.”
The questions posed and caused by Dark Days: The Forge #1 far outweigh the answers given. Leading to this summer’s heavyweight main event by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, The Forge #1 serves as the prologue laced with tantalizing mysteries and questionable loyalties. It’s no surprise Batman is front and center of this tale, leading us with breadcrumbs that he has kept from virtually every hero in the DC universe. Though the scenes can feel disjointed and out of place, Snyder and co-writer James Tynion IV, craft an effectively slow-burning anthology issue that looks to build an epic tale on multiple fronts. With underutilized characters like Carter Hall, Mr. Terrific, and Mr. Miracle we get the impression that the old world will be made new much in the way that began with DC Universe: Rebirth #1 over a year ago. The art may have trouble sticking the landing, but the energy that lies therein is more than enough to demand attention.
Unlike most of Scott Snyder’s long run with Batman, the story is all but straightforward. Bookended by sequences featuring the long-forgotten Hawkman, Carter Hall, this issue quickly becomes an anthology meant to introduce this summer’s blockbuster event. Though we get insight into the part “Metal” will play in this series we’re left wondering about so many character motivations and literal closed doors that the story already feels like it’s over-reaching. Snyder is certainly a skilled writer, but having never written for a true team-book his storylines seems to be lacking the cohesion or relevance we should get from different points of view. He does make great use of a lot of the amazing DC characters that Rebirth has left behind. Mr. Miracle’s cameo alone serving as a funny and charming moment to break the overall tension of the story. It may be convoluted but Dark Days: The Forge #1 is still incredibly entertaining.
It’s fitting that one of the most successful creative teams reunite for Scott Snyder’s first event. Though Capullo’s entrance is saved for elsewhere Andy Kubert, Jim Lee, and company manage to create a relatively seamless interpretation of the script. Snyder and Batman artist Greg Capullo, were the only creative team to survive the entirety of the New 52 Era. They also served up a blockbuster series that has ensured Batman will always, always be in the top 3 selling titles in comics. As Dark Days unfurls we start to see a lot of the pieces these two have been crafting falling into place. Over their years together seeds were planted in moments easily forgotten that will clearly build into important story elements in Dark Nights: Metal. In fact, there are so many nods to their series that it could alienate some readers that are new to the team, but the genuine mystery and excitement that Snyder and his slew of artists generate is more than enough to draw anyone ready for a DC Event for the ages.
The art and the story are quite parallel. They both manage to excite and entice, but lack the true connectivity that makes team-books and events so great. For the story, the issue is the relevance or lack thereof that all the storylines have to eachother. For the art, the fault rests solely on John Romita Jr.; Andy Kubert and Jim Lee are two of DC’s best veterans, and it shows. Though Kubert’s style seems to be shifting towards his DKIII work, they both still manage to have an effective, creative, and in-house look to them. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the relatively new DC artist, John Romita Jr.. His work happens to be one of the most divisive points in comics; people either worship his work or laugh at it. While his run with Geoff Johns on Superman was effective, it was his prologue to The Dark Knight Returns that really gave him some credibility with DC’s finest characters. Sadly, the same cannot be said for his contribution to Dark Days: The Forge #1. He does little to try to match the styles of his colleagues, making the story jarring and not as effective as it could have been. Considering their current slew of artists, it’s a wonder why they didn’t ask someone whose style isn’t necessarily better, but better suited to the brilliant lines of Lee and Kubert.
DC have been kicking it into high gear for over a year now. Rebirth was and is an unanimous success both critically and commercially. It’s no surprise then that the first major event after this reinvention is crafted by two of the biggest names in comics. While there’s still some time before Snyder and Capullo’s masterwork is revealed, in Dark Days: The Forge #1 we’re given a glimpse of what’s to come. From bombastic action to underutilized characters, Scott Snyder has clearly written another classic that’s sure to please the fans. But as a prologue to that event this issue falls a little short. There are clearly common themes among the different points of view, but so many questions are left unanswered it can feel more akin to a free sample comic than a $4.99 rarity among DC’s affordable shelves. The ending is certainly an effective hook. Snyder knows his audience and uses his immense talents to excite and horrify at the same time. But the jarring shifts between artists can be a distracting reminder of the New 52’s numerous multiple-artist series. There’s room to improve but Dark Days: The Forge #1 is an entertaining invite to this Summer’s main event: Scott Snyder’s first chance to play with all of the figures in DC’s toybox.
- Great Use of Underutilized Heroes
- Enticing Mystery
- Easter Eggs from The New 52 Batman
- Multiple Artists with Different Styles
- Too Many Questions
- Not Enough Answers