Dark Days: The Casting #1 Review
By John Saavedra
While Dark Days: The Forge #1 felt like an easily accessible prelude to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s big event series, Dark Nights: Metal, The Casting #1 is a bit more challenging. That doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of this second issue per se, although it’s worth pointing out that this is a more conventional event issue than the first one. The Forge felt succinct, like little stories being woven together by one big mystery, but The Casting is sprawling as it opens the doors to some big hints about what’s next for the DC Universe without giving us any real answers.
At the center of it all is Hawkman’s journal, which tells the story of Carter Hall’s search for Nth metal, a mysterious element that holds a terrible secret about the multiverse — one you might already know the answer to if you’ve been reading Snyder interviews for the past few months. I won’t spoil that stuff in this review, although I will say that the final page of this issue will certainly raise some eyebrows.
Dark Days tells its story through some pretty interesting team-ups, including Green Lantern and Duke Thomas, who come face to face with the Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime has been locked up in a secret cell deep within the Batcave for some time and he wants out. Snyder plots the Joker as well as he ever has, more an enigma than a true villain. Very few writers can write the Joker in a way where it seems like the villain actually really cares about Batman, and James Tynion IV follows in his mentor’s footsteps gloriously. Whatever the Joker is up to in this issue (it sort of remains a mystery), it feels like it’s for the Bats’ own good.
The Casting explores elements of Snyder and Capullo’s legendary run on Batman much more thoroughly than The Forge, which is actually surprising since the Dark Knight is barely in this issue. Instead, it’s up to Duke to do some of the detective work. Snyder has been grooming Duke for years for some sort of bigger role, first as a street smart kid and then a pseudo-Robin; and in The Casting, we finally get some of the answers behind Bruce’s interest in the young hero. It’s safe to say that Duke is going to be a big part of Dark Nights…
As I said before, The Casting isn’t quite as clear cut or easy to read as its predecessor, but that’s not the issue’s main problem. That falls on the art, which continues to be uneven. The collaboration between Jim Lee, John Romita Jr., and Andy Kubert — all Batman veterans — sounds great on paper, but their art styles don’t really gel from page to page. In fact, some of the art looks downright uneven. It’s a real shame, because individually these artists do great work on their designated pages. It’s just difficult to switch back and forth between them. Ultimately, The Forge did a better job of breaking the story into sections for the artists, so that that the switches didn’t seem so harsh. The Casting is less successful.
None of this should deter you from delving deeper into the mystery of the Nth metal, though. Snyder is creating quite the saga for Batman and the rest of the Justice League, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us in next month’s Dark Nights. That means this prelude did its job.
Dark Days: The Casting
Writer: Scott Snyder & James T. Tynion IV
Pencils: Jim Lee, Andy Kubert & John Romita JR
Inks: Scott Williams, Klaus Janson, Danny Miki
Colors: Alex Sinclair & Jeremiah Skipper
Letters: Steve Wands
Cover: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Andy Kubert & Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics