Comic Review: ‘Dark Days: The Forge’ #1

DC lift the veil on Rebirth’s next big mystery…

Spoiler-free review

Written by:  Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV / pencils by:  Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr

What’s it about?

Batman is suspected of hiding a dark secret that could spell disaster for all…

In review

Not long after Tom King and Joshua Williamson delved briefly into the mysteries of DC’s Rebirth in “The Button” readers are thrust into another enigma as Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV present us with Dark Days: The Forge #1, the first of two one-shot titles serving as a prelude to the forthcoming Dark Nights: Metal event which will see Snyder reunited with his Batman collaborator, artist Greg Capullo.

Dark Days: The Forge #1 may be billed as a prelude to Metal but this one-shot could very easily have been a ‘zero’ issue as it really does feel like the opening chapter of something grand, setting the stage with epic scope and hints of looming threats that are more than adequate in whetting the appetite.  Framed by the narration of Carter Hall – aka Hawkman – Snyder and Tynion IV weave an intriguing tale that draws connections between the earliest ages of the DC Universe, Snyder’s New 52 Batman run and beyond.

The script is rich with atmospheric mystery, crazy action and drama with reliably strong characterisation as the story moves between the pairings of Batman and Mister Terrific, Batman and Superman (teasing the return of a long absent DC hero) and Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Batman protégé Duke Thomas, the latter matchup providing some particularly fun moments with Thomas befuddled at Jordan’s ability to miraculously combat the colour yellow and Jordan’s retorts at Thomas’s current lack of a name for his ‘not Robin’ superhero persona.  Both Snyder and Tynion IV are veterans when it comes to the Dark Knight but in these moments demonstrate their ability to write characters in general, whether they are long-established DC heroes or more contemporary ones.

In the end it’s the apparent ties between Metal and Snyder’s Batman arcs that are the most satisfying elements of the story, the relationship between Thanagarian Nth Metal and the Court of Owls being the most tantalising…but the biggest punch of The Forge is rightfully reserved for its denouement as the truth behind Hal Jordan’s mission to the Batcave is revealed, setting up potentially hefty stakes for the second part of this prologue in next month’s Dark Days: The Casting.  Despite all these connections though, Dark Days: The Forge #1 is accessible enough that it can be enjoyed without the need to be overly knowledgeable of DC Comics lore and past storylines – it merely sweetens the deal for those readers who are.

Art duties are divided between Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr, with inks by Danny Miki, Klaus Janson and Scott Williams and colours by Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper.  It’s a little problematic as there’s no clear narrative break in the change between the three pencillers, leading to some slight visual inconsistency.  The transition isn’t quite as jarring as it could have been (mainly thanks to the cohesion between inks and colours) but it’s a shame that Jim Lee couldn’t have pencilled the entire issue on his own or at the very least with backup from Andy Kubert as John Romita Jr’s style doesn’t quite fit with theirs, his more cartoonish and blocky figure work at odds with the powerful characters and detailed environments Jim Lee excels at.

The bottom line:  A tantalising introduction to DC’s next big mystery, despite some slight issues with the art Dark Days: The Forge is a decent and enjoyable prologue to the larger event to come.

Dark Days: The Forge #1 is published by DC Comics and is available in print and digital formats now.

Dark Days the Forge

DC Comics teases forthcoming event “Metal” with ‘Dark Days: The Forge’ #1.

12 thoughts on “Comic Review: ‘Dark Days: The Forge’ #1

  1. I enjoyed Dar Days the Forge, it was a good introduction to what the Metal event has to offer. Certainly seem promising. I agree with you about the art, the differing styles did jar a little. My only real gripe with the issue was how Hal Jordan was written, it just didn’t seem quite right, other than that though I liked the issue. Great review as well BTW, you raised some good points.

  2. Great review man, wish I’d read it before writing mine. Hearing your opinion helped strengthen how I feel about the issue. Agree with you on the art, especially that Lee excels with this kind of story. I still love Romita Jr’s art for Batman, not too sure why

    • Indeed, looking forward to the next one-shot and of course the actual “Metal” series. Speaking of Geoff Johns, can’t wait for his return with Doomsday Clock. With Gary Frank providing the art it already has potential.

  3. I completely agree with you on this. Every single point. I was quite saddened by the artwork though. Romita Jr’s style was… really not appealing. The transitions were far from fluid and made me scratch my head at times when looking at some of these heroes faces… Besides that, the story-telling was excellent beyond reproach. I loved the amount of teasing going on, and especially with the big cliffhanger (I had a feeling who it was, but wow.. just the context makes his appearance so much more mysterious and intriguing). Green Lantern and Duke’s interaction was also quite fun. I’d let Scott Snyder do absolutely anything he wants at this point. He almost never disappoints. Really looking forward to The Casting and all those one-shot Batmen issues to come. Love that this DC event has Batman as the main protagonist. Can’t wait to see what this event is going to be all about. Fantastic spoiler-review as always, Chris!

    • Thank you good sir, very much appreciate hearing your thoughts and glad we’re on the same page with this. Unfortunately it seems there’s the same mix of artists on the casting but hopefully the writing is strong enough to make it all worthwhile.

      Have you heard about Doomsday Clock by the way? VERY excited by the prospect of that!

      • Yeh bro!!! I just recently finished reading all four issues of The Button storyarc (I should have a review up for it pretty soon too). That teaser ending for Doomsday Clock was insaneeeee. I’m super excited to see Geoff Johns is back to writing something, on top of orchestrating the DCEU and what not. Dude’s a living legend! I’m really curious to see what he plans on doing with that teaser though. A whole year later, we’ll soon finally be able to enjoy the whole Watchmen in DC-verse story unfold.

      • Plus Gary Frank providing the art it has so much potential for greatness! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on “the Button” good sir.

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