By revealing who has truly been pulling the strings in the battle for the Three Kingdoms, Dark Knights of Steel just improved a Snyder Cut reveal
Warning: SPOILERS for Dark Knights of Steel #9In an epic twist befitting the large-scale fantasy world its created, Dark Knights of Steel just revealed nothing about this war between DC kingdoms has been as it seems. At the same time, DC managed to stick the landing by perfectly executing a reveal where The Snyder Cut faltered.
The war for the Three Kingdoms has erupted in Dark Knights of Steel, and Tom Taylor and Yasmine Putri’s Dark Knights of Steel #9 shows who’s truly to blame. The Kingdom of Storms enlisted the Amazons to join their cause after the Kingdom of El seemingly committed a number of murders against them, a supposed retaliation for the death of King Jor-El. Dark Knights of Steel #9, however, shows there has been more to these deaths than meets the eye, as Queen Lara arrives on the battlefield to reveal a doppelganger of herself to be a White Martian in disguise, implying the aliens perpetrated much of the war. At the issue’s conclusion, Alfred similarly reveals himself to be Martian Manhunter, telling Bruce he is the last survivor of a war on Mars rather than one on Earth.
The Alfred twist bears resemblance to a similar reveal in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Prior to Superman’s resurrection, Martha Kent visits Lois Lane to discuss their shared mourning of Clark. Martha urges Lois, who hasn’t been to work at The Daily Planet since Clark’s death, to return to her life and move past her grief. In the hallway after she leaves, Martha shapeshifts into Martian Manhunter, who had taken on a disguise of Clark’s mother, saying, “The world needs you too, Lois.” The scene feels somewhat out of place in the context of the film, with Martian Manhunter’s introduction being potentially confusing to viewers unfamiliar with the character and J’onn J’onzz not factoring into the story much as a whole.
Alfred being Martian Manhunter Is a Perfect Twist
In both Dark Knights of Steel and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Martian Manhunter introduces himself as a core DC family member: Alfred Pennyworth and Martha Kent respectively. Dark Knights of Steel, however, redeems the Snyder Cut’s twist primarily by making it a more fully integrated aspect of the story. While the Martha reveal feels random and misplaced, Dark Knights of Steel hinted at J’onn’s inclusion in the story from the very beginning. Not only does Alfred’s line about being a lone survivor gain new meaning under the reveal, but the White Martian’s inclusion also completely recontextualizes John Constantine’s prophecy: “They will look like us. They will sound like us. But they are not like us. They are demons.” This explains the strange behavior of the Els while catapulting Dark Knights of Steel into an epic final act.
Where Zack Snyder’s Justice League struggles to integrate Martian Manhunter’s appearance into the story, Dark Knights of Steel‘s twist feels inextricable from the rest of the comic, a perfectly executed reveal earned after months of hints. After nailing this major reveal, one can only wonder what DC Comics, Tom Taylor, and Yasmine Putri have left in store for the world of Dark Knights of Steel.
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Dark Knights of Steel #9 is available from DC Comics now.
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