It’s been a long ride but we have finally reached the end of Tom Taylor and Yasmine Putri’s Dark Knights of Steel epic. The ride hasn’t been smooth but the previous issue set the stage for an epic finale as the Three Kingdoms face off against the White Martians. It appears that there is a major traitor in the Three Kingdoms ranks that they still do not know about in the form of Amanda Waller. Will Amanda Waller teaming up with the White Martians spell doom for the Three Kingdoms? Let’s find out with Dark Knights of Steel #12
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Yasmine Putri
Colorist: Arif Prianto
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Amanda Waller makes an alliance with the White Martians to let her rule the land of the House of El in exchange for revealing secrets to defeat the Three Kingdoms and take over the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, Lois Lane, Harley Quinn, and John Constantine present the leaders of the Three Kingdoms with a plan they came up with Detective Chimp. Queen Lara and the other leaders agree with the plan.
Later, Captain Cold and Deadshot put out the fire wall the Three Kingdoms created as a barrier against the White Martian. The White Martians take advantage of this to launch a full-on assault but they are blown back by Black Canary. This gives the Three Kingdoms armies a chance to fight on even ground with the White Martians.
As the war has been focused on one spot Bat-Prince, Prince Kal-El, Queen Diana, and Princess Zala Jor-El rush off to join the fight.
The battle turns out to be even until Jacob and Jennifer Pierce use their powers to cause a nearby volcano to erupt. With the lava breaking the White Martians Kryptonite weapons Bat-Prince, Kal-El, and Diana utilize the fire to power their attacks. After Diana kills White Martian Gra’z as revenge for him killing her mother Bat-Prince captures White Martian Protex.
Queen Lara then uses a device to send Protex and the remaining White Martians to the Realm of Phantoms.
Back at the House of El Castle Alfred (J’onn J’onzz) discovers Amanda Waller’s treachery. When he touches her he suddenly catches fire and burns to death just as Bat-Prince arrives. Amanda acts quickly by killing Deadshot, saying that he is the traitor.
Sometime later Bruce Wayne turns down Queen Lara’s offer to take over as King as he prefers to serve the throne. Bruce then mentions to Kal-El he is looking to find who he really is.
The leaders of the House of El, Kingdom of Storms, and Amazons sign a treaty to create The League made up of Queens Anissa Pierce, Diana, and Lara along with Anissa Pierce, Zala, Lois Lane, John Constantine, Bat-Prince, Kal-El, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy. End of series.
Dark Knights of Steel #12 is exactly the ending that this series has been building towards. There was a sense of larger-than-life with the House of El, Kingdom of Storms, and Amazons fighting as a united front against the White Martians. There were shifts in the fight that made you wonder who would survive as the fighting went on. It all led to a satisfying conclusion.
The biggest wild card in all of this was appropriately Amanda Waller. No matter the universe Amanda Waller is a character that is never to be trusted. She will always operate with her own motives in mind. Even if she masks it by trying to protect the nation she serves, she shows a willingness to sacrifice everyone but herself to accomplish her goal. Though unlike before, Amanda did show she wanted to become a ruler if her plotting with the White Martians succeeded rather than staying in the shadows.
This sets up an opening where we see the White Martians have the advantage. Once again, we see how because of how young the Dark Knights of Steel DC Universe is in the final battle back-and-forth happens because of the lack of familiarity with each side. Superpowers are almost all placed in the magic realm leading the Three Kingdoms and White Martians to each have surprises that work as planned.
This gets back to highlighting how overconfident the Protex and the White Martians have been throughout Dark Knights of Steel. Protex has been able to operate knowing he has been able to manipulate everything to his advantage from the shadows. The only thing stopping the White Martians was the magical fire wall the Three Kingdoms created. But once Amanda Waller provided him with the means to launch an attack on the Three Kingdoms that overconfidence was in full effect for Protex.
In the end that same overconfidence was a bigger weakness than fire to the White Martians. Because without that the multiple plans the Three Kingdoms had in place wouldn’t have worked as perfectly as they did. Lois Lane, Harley Quinn, John Constantine, and Detective Chimp being the ones that came up with this multi-stage plan was a great way to give these characters some shine. It goes to highlight how in the Dark Knights of Steel DCU there are all forms of strategist so it doesn’t fall on simply relying on the Justice League.
This led in well to the big moment where we have the Trinity moment for the first time happen in Dark Knights of Steel. Up to this point, Taylor has kept the Dark Knights of Steel versions of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all off on their own corners of the story. The way this was handled all made sense as to why they stayed doing their own thing even when they had screen time together. It made the moment where Bat-Prince, Prince Kal-El, and Queen Diana rise out of the fire created by the volcanic eruption an even more epic moment.
Queen Diana getting revenge on Gra’z for killing her mother was a satisfying way for her to conclude her character arc in the series. Given her taking on the role of the new Queen of the Amazons this allows her to assume the role without being clouded by revenge. Getting this closure allows her to move on both in her new leadership role and with her personal relationships.
Similarly, we see that Bruce is now in a spot where he can explore what to do next. Even though he witnessed the horrific death of Alfred he did not retreat into the darkness because of it. Having Kal-El there to talk about this showed that even after all this their brotherly bond is stronger than before. It all goes to show the growth in Bruce that he shows signs of being a leader without taking that role in the title as Queen Lara asked him to.
All of these things along with things that went on with Kal-El, Black Canary, and other characters does leave the door open for a second volume of Dark Knights of Steel in the future. The dangling plot thread of Amanda Waller as the secret traitor could easily be what a sequel series deals with. Especially with the formation of the Dark Knights of Steel version of the Justice League the set-up is there for Amanda Waller to create her own version of the Legion of Doom to balance things out. That all leaves you hoping this isn’t the last we see of the Dark Knights of Steel DCU.
Yasmine Putri saved the best for last with stellar artwork throughout Dark Knights of Steel #12. There is a big event scale to the battle. The big moments such as Black Canary unleashing her Canary Cry or the Trinity coming out of flames were epic moments. The final page with The League members did a good job of presenting them as a premiere team roster.
Dark Knights of Steel #12 delivers a strong conclusion to Tom Taylor and Yasmine Putri’s epic. The final battle against the White Martians had a big event feel. The end result leaves the door open for an even bigger story to take place down the line. All in all, Dark Knights of Steel is a series you should pick up the trade paperbacks to experience the story for yourself.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10