Writers: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Artists: Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr.
Colors: Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover: Lee, Kubert and Romita Jr.
Publisher: DC Comics
Scott Snyder is aiming to change the DC Universe forever, and he definitely is on his way here.
Dark Days: The Forge was a great deep dive into the DC Universe, and the framework of the infamous Multiverse, hinting at something sinister and dark hiding under the surface. The Casting continues that story, immediately after the reveal of the Joker imprisoned in the Batcave. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t quite live up to its first part. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but there are a few moments that are bordering on jump-the-shark type changes.
The same creative team returns to this story. Scott Synder and James Tynion still tell a great action story, and Batman’s drive to discover the secret of the Nth metal (with references to 8th and 9th metals in the text) propels the issue towards Dark Nights launching next month. Hawkman’s journal falls a bit more flat here (though the gathering of immortals is exciting), and the Green Lantern/Duke Thomas/Joker fight somewhat lacks stakes.
As far as the art, the entire story looks amazing. Editorial divided the pages amongst artists better, so the flow between John Romita Jr, to Jim Lee, to Andy Kubert feels much more organic. All three are the best veterans in the business, so it looks amazing throughout.
Despite some negatives, it’s a story well worth reading, and a must-read for anyone excited for Dark Nights Metal.
Overall: 7 /10
Call is a bit of a sophomore slump.
After the excitement generated from Dark Days: The Forge, DC has followed up with only a passable second act in Dark Days: The Casting. Pulling from top of DC’s writing and drawing talent pool, this installment in the Metal prequel series is somehow less than the sum of its parts.
The book features a who’s who of the DC universe – from Bats, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman to Hawkman, Talia al Ghul and Duke – and of course, the issue’s would-be villain, the Joker. “Would-be” is a key point here, as Metal’s true baddies are still to be revealed. And that’s part of the problem with this issue. As great as the artwork from Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr. is, the story isn’t up to par with the first entry in the series. That issue teased the reader, but quickly paid off some of its secrets, like the revelation that the Joker was trapped in the Batcave. With a couple of exceptions, there are no great reveals this time around, just more setup for the upcoming limited series.
Still, even a “B” story from writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV beats what most titles are producing. And any chance to see Lee drawing Batman and the Joker once again is more than worth the investment.
Expectations remain high for August’s first installment of Dark Nights: Metal. Hopefully the team can recapture the magic that made the first issue shine.
By Tom Smithyman