Review: Dark Days: The Casting

Quick Summary

Pros: The story here is very interesting and captivating. Readers get to find out more about the secrets to the mystery while still leaving enough mystery to be excited for Dark Nights: Metal.

Cons: A “chosen one” narrative allows for some events to happen without much justification.

Overall: This comic is the perfect continuation of the global conspiracy this series is based upon. It brings back all of the mystery you would expect it too, while not completely burying readers in the unknown. Readers will leave this story more excited than ever, especially after finding out more about what is on the horizon. This comic is also very accessible (for those who have read The Forge), so new readers will be able to enjoy this just as much as longtime fans.

Story

This is how event comics should be done. Dark Days: The Casting is a fantastic continuation of Dark Days: The Forge, which not only builds upon its mystery, but also answers some questions. It comes in with the mission to get readers excited for Dark Nights: Metal and goes above and beyond in achieving this goal. Honestly, this is a wonderful comic that does more in one issue than some comics do over the course of an entire series.

(spoilers start here)

This comic sets Batman and the readers along onto the next step in what is turning out to be a very epic saga. The Dark Knight has scoured the globe in order to find the pieces of metal he needs to solve the mystery he has been chasing. Watching all of this unfold is tremendously fun and gives us a small peek at what is coming down the road. It is obvious that the stakes here are getting higher and higher as this small peek has pretty intense implications.

Alongside this adventure is a equally interesting faceoff between Green Lantern, Duke Thomas, and the Joker. In the Batcave, these two heroes confront the Clown Prince of Crime, who claims to know something about the mystery Batman is delving into. He goads them into attacking him, thus freeing him from his prison. However, despite Joker’s best efforts, the heroes are able to complete their goal and dig further into this mystery.

What is interesting here is that Joker actually seems to be trying to do something positive. He seems to know that digging deeper into this conspiracy will only lead to more trouble, something which the end of the book confirms. It is a different take on the Joker and one that will be interesting to see, assuming he returns for Dark Nights: Metal.

One of the best parts of Dark Days: The Forge was the mystery. It introduced a plethora of new and returning characters and story elements which were all working together to build up to something. While The Casting delivers some mystery of its own, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it also sought to answer some of the already present mystery. It starts to show exactly what Hawkman did in the past and even hints at what is coming up in the future. While events like “The Button” provided no indication of where their overall story was going, The Casting gives direction and detail to what may be DC’s most exciting new series.

If there is a problem with this issue it would be in how Batman happens across information at points throughout this story. Wonder Woman and Talia both show up out of the blue in order to give him something he needs to solve his mystery. While the story explains their unexpected appearance on Batman being some sort of “chosen one,” I personally found it to be a little forced. However, I would also argue that this small problem does not at all dampen the pleasure of what is otherwise a fantastic book.

(spoilers end here)

Art

A plethora of DC’s finest artists come together to provide the artwork in this issue. For a more in depth look at how great a job they did, check out the “Art” section in our review of Dark Days: The Forge (found here).

Continuity

This comic is the direct sequel to Dark Days: The Forge (Review). Together, these form a stand-alone event in the world of DC Comics. This means they do not directly flow out of any one comic, instead they flow out of the universe as a whole. Because of this, readers should read Dark Days: The Forge (Review) and be at least somewhat familiar with the major heroes in DC Comics before reading this.

This issue also references and continues the stories from many other comic books, all of which are detailed below.

  • Three members of “The Immortals” are identifiable.
    • One is “The Wizard” who has appeared most recently in Shazam! Vol. 1.
    • The other is Ra’s al Ghul, a long time Batman enemy who’s appearances are too numerous to list here.
    • The final one is Mary Seward, a vampire who’s current continuity appearances started in I Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love.
  • Joker makes a variety of references to Scott Snyder’s run on Batman.
  • The machine Joker destroys in the Batcave first appeared in Batman Vol. 9: Bloom.

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