Things picked up in a big way in the last issue of Dark Knights Of Steel. The revelation that the White Martians have been manipulating everything that has gone on in this series is a game-changer. That is along with the revelation made at the end of Dark Knights Of Steel #9 that this DCU’s Alfred Pennyworth is actually J’onn J’onzz. With so many revelations made in quick succession, how will the story change in the final three issues of Dark Knights Of Steel? Let’s find out with Dark Knights Of Steel #10.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Yasmine Putri
Colorist: Arif Prianto
Letterer: Wes Abbott
By utilizing the Lasso Of Truth Wonder Woman gets J’onn J’onzz to admit he means no harm to any of the Kingdoms of Earth.
In a meeting with Queens Lara, Diana Prince, Anissa Pierce, and Ivy, J’onn J’onzz goes over the war between the White and Green Martians that decimated Mars. The leader of the White Martians, named Protex, war campaign led to J’onn being the last of the Martians.
J’onn then says that when he came to Earth Thomas and Martha Wayne convinced him to hide his identity due to so many like Constantine worried about the prophecy of aliens taking over Earth.
Hearing all this the Queens of the Kingdoms agree to be united to bring down Protex and the White Martians.
Elsewhere Protex steals Lex Luthor’s Green Lantern ring for himself and drops Luthor from high above to die. End of issue.
With how game-changing reveals in the previous issue Dark Knights Of Steel #10 was a much-needed reset. Tension was too high for everyone to continue fighting or going after the White Martians. By settling things down for this issue we get to spend more time with the new status quo set after nine issues of Dark Knights Of Steel.
A major complaint with Dark Knights Of Steel is that there has been a lot of set-up without much payoff. It wasn’t until Dark Knights Of Steel #9 that it felt like we got all the set-up out of the way and got into the conflict. That’s where getting back into the mode of even more set-up did raise an eyebrow for the direction Dark Knights Of Steel #10 took.
But unlike before this was a very much-needed set-up with what just happened with the White Martian reveal. Taylor and Putri adapted J’onn J’onzz’s origin story and fit it into everything we’ve seen built over the course of Dark Knights Of Steel. Most importantly, it positioned the White Martians as heartless villains who only seek destruction.
With everything they already accomplished up to this point seeing what they did to Mars showed that they will go to every length imaginable to win. An opponent fighting without restraint makes their danger level high even when fighting the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, and a half-Kryptonian Batman.
It is all elevated by how J’onn relays his origin story to the Queens of the Dark Knights Of Steel Universe. With Wonder Woman using the Lasso of Truth on him we knew everything he said from talking about how much he cared about Bruce to the painful memories of Mars being truthful. Putri’s artwork is what drove home J’onn’s honesty. The facial reactions as J’onn spoke worked extremely well to complement what was being said.
Putri also delivered on how each of the Queens has their own presentation. With Lara Lor-Van we see a Queen of dignity and experience who is the senior in this. Anissa Pierce is still a rookie and learning on the job to be Queen. Then with Diana as the new Queen of the Amazons, she has to do her best to control her anger and sorrow after her mother’s death. Finally, we have Ivy who just comes across as a Queen that owns the place. It was all a different presentation style that works well thanks to how Putri draws ad Taylor writes each Queen.
Other than J’onn, Diana is undoubtedly the character that gets the best character work. You completely understand how angry she feels after the White Martians killed her mother. With no outlet to release her anger, she could only direct it at J’onn because he is the only Martian around. This led to how important it was for Bruce, Kal-El, and Zala to be there to keep her under control.
The scene with Zala in particular showed how the role of Queen isn’t something Diana feels she is ready for. Both emotionally and through the Amazon customs being given this title because her mother died was not the way Diana thought she would become Queen. Diana asking Zala to call her by her name rather than “Your Majesty” was a poignant moment that got you to care even more about Diana.
The only part of Dark Knights Of Steel #10 where Taylor falters with is the ending bringing the Lex Luthor and Joker hybrid character back into play. Throughout this series, Luthor is a character that has just been awkwardly forced into the story. Anytime he appears it is presented in a way that it feels like Taylor just remembered the character was introduced rather than being a big wild card. This failed character presentation is highlighted by the fact Luthor is quickly discarded when Protex steals the Green Lantern ring.
While Protex will definitely need the Green Lantern ring to combat the united Kingdoms coming after him this is an element that just feels unnecessary. The involvement of the Green Lantern comes across as Taylor wanting to include as many elements of the core DC Universe as possible. It would’ve been better if the White Martians ended up using magic instead and the Green Lanterns were used in a sequel series instead.
After the game-changing events of the previous chapter Dark Knights Of Steel #10 is a much-needed issue for this series. We finally get fully clued into the big bad of this series. In the process, the heroes of every Kingdom are given a strong reason to fight as a united front. With this setup out of the way, the final two issues are well-positioned to deliver epic fights to wrap up this series in an exciting way.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10