The DC Universe, most of the time, revolves around Batman. I’ve never had a problem with it, but seeing this universe expand to greater and bigger things by taking some of the focus off of the Dark Knight and putting the spotlight on other characters like Hal Jordan and Duke is one of the boldest moves you could make in comics right now.
On top of that, just like Dark Days: The Forge, the first issue of The Casting is packed with Easter eggs and references that will widen eyes and drop jaws. You can tell right away the team behind this story has taken it very seriously. There’s so much story build-up and character development that you are instantly reeled in. The amount of characters involved in this story alone is amazing.
There’s no telling how some people can react to Batman not being the star in the story; giving it to Hal Jordan and Duke could push people away. Thankfully, this issue is so wonderfully written with such strong plot details and suspenseful moments that it’ll pull you in immediately even if you’re not a fan of the characters seen on the page. The writing is well crafted and gets into great detail about the mysterious metal and the role it plays in the DC Universe and keeps you anxiously awaiting what’s to come next.
The Joker is another unlikely character to take charge in this issue, but he manages to steal the show by spitting out some of the best dialogue in any comic book this year. Joker has been held captive in a secret cave within the Batcave and somehow knows as much about the changes made to the DC Universe as Batman does. The Joker has always been an interesting and beloved character, but something about his role in Dark Days feels much bigger than we’re used to, as if maybe robbing banks or bringing death to the family isn’t on the table anymore.
Duke plays a major role in Dark Days which is a very good change because Duke’s involvement with the Dark Knight has been somewhat of a mystery. Is he a Robin? The next Batman? All we know is that he wears the Bat on his chest and Batman says he’s “working on something new” with Duke. Carter Hall’s (Hawkman) narrative paints a beautiful picture of what’s to come. Hawkman is a historically undervalued character and it’s great to see him again; I hope someday he makes his return to comics because Dark Days has truly brought back some forgotten love for the character.
The difference in the art team’s work is noticeable, but doesn’t come off as muddy nor does it feel like you’re looking at several different issues slapped together. It’s a visual masterpiece and just as with the Dark Days: The Forge, it teases the readers with many more possibilities of what’s yet to come.
The dream team behind this story really brings their best yet again. The writing team really shows how to create such an intriguing story without getting cluttered with too many overlapping plot lines. This issue really sells the sheer magnitude of the ordeal that the DC Universe is about to face.