Review: DARK DAYS: THE CASTING #1 Author: Ryan Lower (Follow @LOWER_RYAN)
Date: July 12, 2017
SYNOPSIS: The Joker's surprise attack threatens to lay waste to all of Batman's carefully laid plans. Will The Dark Knight be able to regain the trust of his closest allies, Green Lantern and Duke, and prevent the forces of darkness from consuming the DC Universe?! Will Hawkman's warning stop our heroes from peering into the abyss?
Time is running out for The Dark Knight, and the world, in Dark Days: The Casting #1. Following up the discoveries of last month’s THE FORGE, Batman is obsessed with finding out about this new metal. He even takes on a Greek creature (a griffin named Amphitrion). Luckily, Wonder Woman steps in before things get too out of hand. Meanwhile, Duke and Green Lantern are uncovering more secrets after finding out last issue that The Joker has been caged in the Batcave all this time. Centering on all of these events, and pushing the narrative further along, is the journal of Carter Hall, aka Hawkman. As we could have predicted, events from the past are revealing what’s in store for the future.
I must admit, I’m not usually a fan of these big event books. It’s always an expensive story to stick with, including many chapters to get the “full impact” of what’s going on in the DC world. However, Dark Days is looking like it’ll be worth the money. We are about 60 pages in and there has been so much world building. But, we don’t have a clue what’s really going on here. Contribute that to whatever you’d like, but I’ll point to writers Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV, as well as the artists Andy Kubert, Jim Lee and John Romita Jr. Each page of The Casting looks wonderful, and the storytelling is exciting and dense.
The first storyline is a continuation of last issue, following the adventures of Carter Hall. What Snyder and Tynion do well here is lay out the character’s story easily enough for anyone to follow. By having Hall reflect on an event from long ago, we’re able to draw connections to the present, with no idea what’s coming for the future. Each of these pages are drawn by Andy Kubert, making it my favorite part of the book so far.
The second storyline we follow is of our hero, Batman. It’s no secret this is going to be a Dark Knight story, as he is the only one that has a clue about the incoming threat. He remains stubborn, only warning of the disaster without giving any information about it. While that may be frustrating for the reader (we just want to know!), it keeps us involved in the shroud of mystery. John Romita Jr. has stepped in for these pages, also doing a perfect job of recreating these settings all over the world.
Lastly, Duke and Green Lantern in the Batcave. Anyone is destined for trouble when they’re shut in a small space with The Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime wastes no time playing mind games with the two heroes, ultimately finding a way out of his “cage.” What’s cool here is we get some nods toward “Endgame” and Dionysium. It’s a fun throwback to the New 52 days. However, the major revelation is in what Duke Thomas really is (maybe): meta. It’ll be interesting to see where this heads. These pages are where Jim Lee steps in, and you can already assume how those look.
Overall, Dark Days The Casting #1 is a fun book that again plants the seeds for the (expectedly wild) event Metal. Each character introduced seems to play a major factor in the upcoming story, with revelations, Batman stubbornness, and (finally?) a use for Duke Thomas. The project is a full team effort, with excellent storytelling and fantastic art. If you missed out last month, don’t hesitate now. The Casting is a good jumping on point. - Ryan Lower
A lifelong Batman fan, Ryan Lower grew up in the midwest reading, watching, dreaming of The Dark Knight.
His favorite Batman stories are THE LONG HALLOWEEN, THE DARK KNIGHT and anything from BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.
He currently resides in his own Batcave in Chicago.
Follow him on Twitter @LOWER_RYAN.