Writer: Tom King
Art: Jorge Fornes and Dave Stewart
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: December 13th, 2022
A group of obscure characters who were featured way back in DC’s 1st Issue Special of the 1970’s (including Warlord, Metamorpho, The Creeper, Lady Cop, etc.) are given the spotlight in Danger Street #1. It’s a Watchmen-style story with modern twists and some seriously dark moments that’s ultimately disappointing and commits the cardinal sin of making two beloved DC characters into buffoons.
I was a rabid follower of DC’s Warlord comics back in the 70’s and 80’s. I loved its Edgar Rice Burroughs-style setting of Skartaris combined with Warlord’s swashbuckling and that amazing Mike Grell art. It was a series that gave Marvel’s Conan a run for its money.
Now we’re in 2022 and in Danger Street #1, Warlord ain’t what he used to be. None of the characters here are really, and that’s the biggest problem with this first issue, the characters are all either bland or completely opposite from who they’ve been in the past.
Warlord and Metamorpho come out of this the worst.
Warlord is portrayed as a pushy old man in a flannel shirt, bullying Metamorpho and Starman (the blue-skinned red-haired Mikaal Tomas version) and seeming one step away from being that crotchety old guy who sits on his porch shaking a cane at the neighborhood kids.
Metamorpho is portrayed as hopefully, almost stupidly, optimistic. And it seems he’s lost all his common sense here. Metamorpho was always a streetwise and sharp character who could hold his own with Batman in a battle of wits (check out those old issues of “Batman and the Outsiders”, they were fantastic). But now, writer Tom King totally changes his personality and brain to the equivalent of Chrissy from “Three’s Company”.
The main plot of the issue focuses on this trio and the dumbest idea any DC character has ever had. They’re going to take Doctor Fate’s helmet and summon Darkseid, then entrap Darkseid in a magic trap as proof that they deserve to be in the Justice League and will be accepted as members of the team.
I guess Tom King forgot that Metamorpho was a member of Justice League International for years. But what does a character’s past matter when it can be tossed out to fit the current story?
Another subplot involves Lady Cop and The Dingbats of Danger Street, neither of which I was familiar with, and their subplot is so insipid, I really didn’t want to know more about them. We don’t get any insights into any of them. Lady Cop is even called “Lady Cop” by everyone throughout the issue, just to make her appearance as subtle as a hammer.
The only good part of the book was the third subplot involving the Creeper and a new job opportunity for his alter-ego of Jack Ryder. This storyline really has a malevolent feel to it, it seems Jack is being maneuvered to do work for an organization that’s far more ominous than it appears, and we get a nice surprise at the climax of his story.
Jorge Fornes and Dave Stewart’s art on Danger Street #1 fits the edginess of the book well, with a sketchy style that’s reminiscent of Ron Frenz’s art. The art is short on details but the emotions are portrayed well, etched in each of their faces. Since it’s a relatively grounded series, the art complements the story rather than detracts from it.
When I finished reading Danger Street #1, I wondered what the point of this mini-series (and this issue) is. Is it just a way for DC to hold on to the copyright of these obscure characters? Is it an attempt to portray Z-grade characters in an edgy dark story and strike gold with a Watchmen-type story again? I really don’t understand why this mini-series even exists. I wish they would have just done a Creeper mini-series and tossed out all the other characters, but so be it.