Dark Days: The Forge

If you follow us on twitter (if you don’t, you really should… we’re delightful), then it should come as no surprise that my favorite issue last week was Dark Days: The Forge. This has been a title I have been looking forward to since I heard it was going to be a thing. I was able to get my hands on an advance copy on Monday (Thank you so much Scott Snyder), and as soon as I was able to read it, I secluded myself in my room and read it… twice! It definitely lived up to and exceeded my expectations; which were already pretty high. I had a lot of reactions while reading it, so here we go.

First off, the art. Holy crap the art. The cover itself stands out from the rest of the issues on the shelf of new releases.

An apocalyptic view of what I assume is Gotham. Flying drones (reminded me of the Squidies from The Matrix) overhead spotlighting the city with small Bat-signals. tattered Bat-banners hang from knocked over light poles and Batman stands on a rock, holding a flare, and staring at the giant Bat-statue. the Bat is a tyrant?!

It draws you in and makes you want to read this over and over and over and… you get it. Once you crack the book open, it only gets better. From the Carter Hall and the Thanegarian war ship, to the final panel, the art work tells the story all by itself. When you look at the artist that an apart of this issue, it’s no surprise. Jim Lee, Andy Klaus, and John Romita Jr. absolutely kill it with this issue and I am so excited to see what they have in store for us as we go along.

The story itself sucks you in from the first panel. Scott Snyder knows Batman. There is no way around it, the man knows Batman. Batman was one of the best lines in the entire New 52 (if you don’t agree, read Zero Year and then reevaluate your argument) and then he followed it up with the incredible All-Star Batman. He knows Batman very well. Throw in James Tynion IV and you can’t lose. Tynion IV (who also wrote for Batman New 52) has continued to put out one of my favorite current lines, Detective Comics, showing he also knows the Bat (and the whole Bat Family) very well. These two make an incredible team (again… read Zero Year).

Starting the story from Carter Hall’s perspective (via journal entries) made me want to go back and finally read Death of Hawkman. I haven’t always been super interested Carter, at least not as interested as I was Shiera (mainly because of the Justice League cartoon), but this made me want to know more of his story. The visual of the Thanagarian ship crashing along with the journal entries got me so excited, but couldn’t prepare me for what came next. A scientist is escalating Carter’s doom and gloom journal entry with his own journal entry. He is recording his findings at a lab in the Bermuda Triangle that is crumbling. He says that there is something wrong with the metal in the Earth’s core, and that’s when we get…

LAVA BATMAN!!! Batman has the coolest toys.

Batman’s suit can’t stand the intense pressure, and eventually he breaks his toy. Aquaman (in all his bearded glory) comes to the rescue, but Arthur is more interested as to why Wayne Industry has a drilling site in his waters, which, who could blame him? Hal Jordan is sent to Earth from Mogo (Read Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns… and read Green Lanterns) by the Guardians to find something that even they fear. One problem, it’s in the Bat Cave… because of course Bats has it.

The back and forth between Hal and Duke (who is adorable for trying to stop Hal) is so much fun. Duke, a boy trying so hard to find his place in the Bat Family, up against Hal and all his wonderful sarcasm; it made for a very fun break from the darker mystery of “Bats… what the hell are you up to?!” while still adding to it.

Did I mention that EVERYONE is in this book? Mister Terrific?! The Immortal Men?! Mister Miracle?! And, I may be very wrong, but was that the Elongated Man that Bats had locked up?! When Hal and Duke find a hidden cave (because of course Batman has a cave in a cave) I yelled “What the hell?!” in pure excitement. My wife was concerned for me. I got lost in the artwork of these panels for a bit. Looking at all the stuff Bats hid in this cave made me nerd pretty hard. The masks of the Court of Owls, The Trident of Atlantis, Doctor Fate’s helmet?! I loved it. The voice the led Hal and Duke further into the cave seemed familiar. I knew who it would ultimately be, but how and why is still a mystery I’m excited for them to unfold.

The final panel, revealing the Joker as the prisoner, makes me so excited to see where this story will go and had me reading it several more times before writing this.

I can’t wait for this to play out and I think everyone needs to read this title right now. More and more news has come out about the rest of the titles in this event and if you look at these covers and don’t get excited… I’m not saying you’re wrong… I’m just judging you a little bit.

Make sure to check back in tomorrow for my thoughts on the rest of my pull list, and Wednesday for the next episode of Read a (Comic) Book!