Dark Knights of Steel #6, “Drums of War” has arrived and maintains its captivating pacing as their world teeters on the brink of war. This issue doesn’t really have a singular focal character but still does much to continue building a new fantastical world of political intrigue.
The covers also continue to be absolutely amazing. Dan Mora gives us a nod to Composite Superman on the regular cover. Done in the “stained glass” style like most of the series, the cover splits Prince Kal-El and The Batman down the middle. Given the anything goes feel to this story, I wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see this world’s take on the Composite Superman character. Until then, this cover acts as a striking character study of the half brothers.
The Joshua Middleton variant cover is a great ground up view of Princess Zala brandishing a sword and shield that showcases her Amazonian training while hovering just above us. The look on her face implies whatever is about to happen is somewhat beneath her, which given the vantage point plays well with the double meaning. The use of colors with the darkening sky behind her and the brightness of her attire really make her stand out and begs the question if she’s arrived to help or harm.
Mahmud Asrar’s variant features Batman atop a rooftop looking down on the street below. This depiction clearly shows him as a dark knight standing vigilant in front of the kingdom behind him. It’s a little weird to see Batman in daylight, but the bats flying in the background are reminiscent enough of the Bat Signal to really make the image work. Day or night, Bruce still looks intimidating with his long sword in hand.
The interior art team of Yasmine Putri and Arif Prianto is a highlight of this issue, not to mention the series in general. The costume designs of the newly introduced characters are both period believable while still remaining true to their iconic looks. The motion during the action sequences truly feels alive and helps make the comic a fast paced read. The body language and facial expressions alone could tell most of this story.
I feel a bit like a broken record praising Tom Taylor’s impressively immersive storytelling, but he continues to deliver a captivating world of superheroic fantasy. Dark Knights of Steel #6 builds on the questions that arose last issue to the point that Harley literally says she feels like there are strings being pulled in specific directions.
Her point seems valid since Zala and Kal-El appear unaware of certain actions we’ve seen them take. As events continue to escalate, Prince Kal-El attempts one last ditch effort to stave off the impending conflict but is apparently too late. Could Kal-El’s first meeting with Lois Lane still change the tide of war or is Constantine’s plan the answer to ending it before it happens? Only Tom Taylor knows for sure and he’s doing an amazing job of keeping us on the edge of our seats.