Dark Knights Of Steel #4 Review – Truth Of Bruce Wayne’s Lineage

Dark Knights Of Steel #4 Review

Dark Knights of Steel has been slowly building up a War of Gods story as the different kingdoms in this version of the DC Universe are choosing sides for the coming war. King Jefferson Pierce learned a valuable lesson in killing King Jor-El as Princess Zala Jor-El took her revenge at the end of the last issue. That wasn’t the only major development in the previous issue as the origin of Bat-Prince, Bruce Wayne, can no longer run from his secret Kryptonian origin. What details with Alfred Pennyworth reveal about Bat-Prince’s origins? Let’s find out with Dark Knights of Steel #4.

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artist: Bengal

Colorist: Arif Prianto

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Somewhere in the Lands of Magnus, Alfred Pennyworth reveals to Bruce Wayne that during the early days of Jor-El and Lara being on Earth they tried to warn King Thomas and Queen Martha Wayne about an catastrophic volcanic eruption. The letter containing the warning was burnt by Alexander Luthor before it even got to King Wayne. Seeing that their warning wasn’t received Jor-El and Lara revealed themselves to the Waynes and saved their kingdom from the erupting volcano.

The Waynes then took Luthor’s name and title away from him. This led Luthor to a special rock in the erupting mountain.

Meanwhile Jor-El, Lara, and Kal-El were welcomed into the Waynes kingdom where the Kryptonians introduced various technology. During this time an attraction between Jor-El and Queen Martha would build up to the point where they spent a night together that led to Martha becoming pregnant.

Initially angry King Thomas with Jor-El and Martha he got over his anger when Bruce was born, fully accepting him as his son. The Waynes and Els would go on to raise Bruce, Kal-El, and Zala together.

Dark Knights Of Steel #4 Review
Romance blooms between Jor-El and Queen Martha leading to the birth of Bruce Wayne as shown in Dark Knights of Steel #4.

One day during a trip Luthor returned having transformed into the Joker with a Green Lantern power ring that he used to immediately strike the Waynes carriage. As Jor-El went after Luthor, Lara checked on the Waynes.

While Bruce survives the attack King Thomas dies immediately. Lara finds a dying Queen Martha, who reveals that while they have hidden Bruce’s lineage there are people that know he isn’t King Thomas’ son. Queen Martha tells Lara that while people won’t accept Bruce because of his bastard lineage Jor-El and Lara must become the new King and Queen as the kingdom already loves them. With her dying breathe Queen Martha request Lara protect and love Bruce in the Waynes absence.

In the present, as Alfred finishes his story he tells Bruce that the truth does not change the fact Bruce is Thomas and Martha’s son. Alfred goes on to tell Bruce to stop thinking he is not worthy and pick himself up as he will be with him.

Bruce wonders if Alfred has a plan. Alfred says he does not but he does have a King. Bruce and Alfred then ride off. End of issue.

The Good: It was only a matter of time before we got the backstory for the El’s and Wayne’s dynamic before the current day events. That is exactly what Tom Taylor and Bengal provided us with Dark Knights Of Steel #4. In the process we see how the family drama is both more complicated and simple at the same time.

It is honestly refreshing that Taylor did not go down the route of there having been a war between Jor-El and King Thomas Wayne after Queen Martha cheated. It adds so much to Thomas, Martha, Jor-El, and Lara-El’s characters that they were able to get passed the anger and resentment once Bruce Wayne was born. It shows that even if Bruce wasn’t his true blood Thomas had the high character to still see him as a son once born.

Going with this direction adds an interesting wrinkle into the present-day events as Bruce has more claim to the throne. Bruce is still not fully sure if he wants that title because that would mean going against his half-brother and -sister who he was raised alongside with. At the same time, Bruce’s complex lineage makes him the bastard prince of two families that, as Alfred previously explained, make him be viewed in a negative light by the nobility in the kingdom. So while Alfred does see Bruce as the rightful King of the kingdom it does not mean that Bruce wants that title.

Lara’s role in all of this also is elevated by being the one that heard Martha’s dying request to raise Bruce with love. We’ve seen over the previous issue that Lara has been very careful about how she acts as Queen without Jor-El around. Now with her husband gone Lara is in the middle of wanting her son, Kal-El, to step up and honoring Martha’s dying wish.  Bruce and Lara meeting one-on-one is hopefully something we see happen as it could add even more emotional weight to the coming War of Gods that is being built up.

Merging Lex Luthor, Joker, and Green Lantern into one character for the Dark Knights of Steel DCU was an unexpected choice. Combining these three characters into the Green Lantern Joker of this continuity truly makes Luthor the biggest wild card of the entire series. He is clearly not above manipulating all the various kingdoms, even before his transformation. Now with being powered by the Green Lantern ring there is really no telling how he will end up creating even more chaos.

Dark Knights Of Steel #4 Review
Lex Luthor transforms into the Green Lantern and Joker in Dark Knights of Steel #4.

Bengal did a good job filling in while replicating Yasmine Putri’s style so that there is a consistency between issues of Dark Knights of Steel. That isn’t always an easy thing to do but Bengal pulls it off. As a flashback story, Bengal is able to bring in how in awe most were with the presence of Jor-El and Lara-El when they first made themselves public. That along with the surprise that was Luthor’s Green Lantern Joker appearance all worked well to tell the backstory of this world.

The Bad: While it was likely due to time it would’ve added so much if we saw how Bruce, Kal-El, and Zala-El all were raised together. We only got one panel of these three interacting with each other. Given that they will be the major driving force for what is about to take place in Dark Knights of Steel showing them being raised together as friends/family would add a lot to future issues. Especially considering that at some point Zala was sent away by her parents to be trained by the Amazons. Seeing pre-Amazon training Zala would help humanize how we currently see her as a force of destruction.

Overall: Dark Knights of Steel #4 does its job of filling us into the backstory of this DC Universe. Getting into Bruce Wayne’s backstory and how it actually plays a big role in the current state of things opens various roads this series can take moving forward. The big villain reveal also creates a major wild card who could quickly shift things depending on how they decide to create even greater chaos than they have already. All of this leaves you with a feeling of wanting to find out what will happen next, which is exactly how one should feel at the end of a chapter for a story.