Written by: Tom Taylor
Art and Colour by: Yasmine Putri
Letters by: Wes Abbot
Main and Character Sheet Variant by: Yasmine Putri
Open Order Variant cover by: Joshua Middleton
Team Variant by: Wayne Reynolds
Edited by: Ben Abernathy
When I first learned that there was going to be a DC comic series that took a cast of mainline DC Superheroes and put them into a medieval fantasy setting, I knew it was going to be something right up my street, but then to hear that it was being written by Tom Taylor, who has produced some of the best stories in DC Comics in recent years including the likes of Injustice and DCeased, then I knew it was going to be something special.
Before grabbing my own copy, I saw a few panels of it from other reviews on Twitter and I couldn’t wait to see this exciting story come to life, but I had no idea the brilliance that I was heading into.
Jor-El and his wife Lara have escaped the destruction of their own planet of Krypton. Landing on Earth, the heavily pregnant Lara is in labour and their crashed ship is met by hostile knights who attempt to attack the mysterious invaders. A young boy, John Constantine is given visions of their arrival, claiming that these beings are demons, that must be destroyed, or they will take over and destroy the human race. King Jefferson (Black Lightning) seeks to learn more about these demons as he attempts to end their lives.
Meanwhile, some years after their landing, Jor-El and Lara are now king and queen, with a son, Prince Kal-El and a highly skilled knight known as Bruce (Batman) who faces off against a banshee (Black Canary) and after miraculously surviving, discovers a hidden secret about his birth and who he truly is.
During a private meeting with Bruce, Jor-El is struck down and killed by a single green arrow imbued with magic, which will no doubt lead Bruce and Kal-El, along with Bruce’s squadron of skilled young warriors, Duke, Jason, Richard and Stephanie, not forgetting his right hand man Alfred of course, onto a path of vengeance to find the one responsible for the King’s assassination.
Okay so this story at first seemed like it was going to give us the same Superman origin that we know and have seen a thousand times over, but when you see that this time around, Jor-El and Lara are in the ship, instead of a kryptonian child abandoned, you get the sense that this will give us a whole new version of Superman, one who didn’t lose his biological parents, and whom instead is now a prince and the son of other beings considered to be Gods.
This story does seem like it will take a rather typical lead within DC comics by focusing more on Batman and Superman instead of giving many other characters the spotlight, but I don’t see that as a problem when the story is this good. There are twists and turns that I did not expect, and the characters being adapted into this medieval style is simply brilliant.
The new designs for the characters are simply fantastic. Bruce’s knightly armour encorporates everything the Batman suit would and makes it somewhat believable as a medieval armour, sure it would be cool to see the origins of his armour being made for him, but if you’re like me, sometimes you can overlook these little details as simply “it’s so that you can identify who is who visually”.
There is a mixture of immersive designs and artistic designs, as some of the characters still wear costumes that you’d see in their more modernised adaptations that don’t quite fit in a medieval setting, but that being said, you have to remember that this is high-fantasy and fictional, so anything goes. If you’re one of those people who is picky about costume designs and immersion, you may find some things wrong with the designs in this but don’t let that take you away from an already cracking to start to what will no doubt be a thrilling and exciting story.
Beyond the characters, the settings take you into the medieval fantasy world with small towns and big castles. There will no doubt more beautifully designed settings that this 12 issue series will take us to.
Let’s talk about the covers to this issue. The original cover screams DC meets D&D, as it shows us the new character designs for the main cast. Alfred looks regal as a knight, Bruce looks brutally determined, Harley looks like Harley and her adaptation into this story as a harlequin simply makes sense, and for a time, I assumed that the two in the back were Kal-El and another bride (not Lois, but perhaps a surviving Kryptonian in this altered timeline, and I assumed the boy next to Bruce was Jonathan (again perhaps a different name in this alternate universe) but I was surprised to discover that they are in fact Jor-El, Lara and their son Kal-El, which makes this cover even better as it can divert first impressions of what to expect (if like me you don’t read up on it too much before reading it yourself)
When I said this story is DC meets D&D, I wasn’t joking, and neither was Yasmine Putri when she created the first cover, but more importantly, Putri also created 3 ‘Character Sheet’ covers for the issues, which see Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman don the covers with their stats printed around them in these brilliantly beautiful cover art designs. These Character Sheet designs will be the covers for the first 3 issues, and I hope there is a Green Arrow version because I would love to have this design with Oliver at the front, especially after that first impossible shot in this first issue.
The character sheets include stats for Strength, Speed, Agility, Intelligence, Charisma and Stamina.
The price of these particular variants online however, are already pretty high, so if you’re looking to buy one, I suggest getting your wallet at the ready as they are not cheap for a single issue comic.
The cover I bought is the open order variant cover by Joshua Middleton, and it gives us that classic intidating appearance of Batman atop a rearing horse. Donned in heavy armour that we don’t see in this issue, the design is incredibly intimidating and awesome to look at. If there is a poster of this design I would love to hang it on my wall because this is a perfect mix of DC and high medieval fantasy.
The ‘Team’ variant cover by Wayne Reynolds brings us DC’s holy trinity in one beautifully design. As with the character sheet variant for this issue, we get to see more of Kal-El’s regal appearance as he dons his blue, gold trimmed garment with his red cap swaying in the wind. It also shows us the yet unseen Wonder Woman, who looks as intimidating, if not more intimidating than Bat-Prince, on this cover with her torn, rugged outfit, and sword unsheathed ready to fight. All of these covers are spectacular so if you have the money, I would recommend collecting them all, as I know I would if I could.
This is a series that is right up my street, and I hope that Tom Taylor doesn’t do anything to my poor Green Arrow, who often seems to wind up dead in his stories. However, no matter what happens, this is a series I will hopefully be able to follow closely as I will do my best to keep up with each issue release, so that I can read the story and avoid the spoilers. This is definitely on my recommend list to anyone who is a fan of fantasy style stories. It contains the characters we know and love, in a story unlike any other. I for one am super excited to see what happens, and to see how other characters are introduced into this wild world of Knights and Kryptonians.