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The new role of each main character in the universe

Tom Taylor’s newest Elseworld, Black Knights of Steel, follows the bloody conflict between the Kryptonian-controlled House of El and the human-ruled Kingdom of Storms after a prophecy points to aliens as a threat to humanity. With art by Jasmine Putri, the series offers fans a medieval ensemble brimming with magic, knights, and references to the main DC Universe.

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Taylor explained that Black Knights of Steel is a comic book for fantasy fans, heavily inspired by game of thrones and The Lord of the Rings. He also described this story as his biggest Elseworld to date. Sure, it features everyone’s favorite DC characters, but their stories are full of medieval twists that bring them a fresh perspective.

ten Jor-El and Lara are the rulers of the House of El

jor el and lara hugging in the cover of the dark knights of steel

In Black Knights of Steel, Superman is not an orphan; Tom Taylor saved the entire Superman family from the destruction of Krypton. Jor-El and Lara didn’t die when their planet began to destroy itself like it happened on Prime Earth. Instead, they traveled to Earth together, where they became King Thomas and Queen Martha’s closest friends.

When the Waynes died, Jor-El and Lara became the new monarchs. His peaceful reign ended after King Jefferson sent Oliver Queen to kill Jor-El by putting a magic arrow through his head. Jor-El’s death is only the beginning of a war between the two kingdoms.

9 Jefferson Pierce is the King of the Storm Kingdom

King Jefferson with thunder in his eyes

King Jefferson Pierce is Black Lightning’s counterpart in Black Knights of Steel. Much like Tony Isabella’s creation, he possesses Electrokinesis. In fact, all of his family members do. This power is not explained by science, but by magic. King Jefferson is no villain, but he views the Els as a threat due to their powers.

After putting a beating on Jor-El, King Jefferson starts a war between the two kingdoms. This results in his own assassination. In Black Knights of Steel #3, Jor-El’s daughter, Zala Jor-El, stabs him, leaving Anissa Pierce, his daughter, as the next queen of the Storm Kingdom.

8 Harley Quinn Isn’t Psychotic…Yet

black knights of steel harley quinn next to bruce in armor

Since its beginnings in Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn was a force of chaos. Certainly, it has changed a lot, especially in the last years after its independence. However, it still wreaks havoc. Curiously, not in Black Knights of Steel.

Harley Quinn’s position at court and her aesthetic stay true to her nature, and she’s a playful jester to the House of El. However, she is not psychotic. In fact, she also serves as a counselor for the family. She is often the voice of reason in court. Who knows how long this will last, however. After all, the Joker is on his way.

seven Constantine is a seer and adviser to the king

Constantine speaks with King Jefferson

Very much in tune with his Prime Earth counterpart, Constantine is a seer in Black Knights of Steel. Able to use magic since childhood, he was also given powers of divination. As a boy, he fell into a trance and spoke a prophecy that pointed to the House of El as a threat to the Kingdom of Storms.

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After hearing this, King Jefferson took him into his service and Constantine became his adviser. Much like John Constantine in the main continuity, Constantine isn’t a villain, but his job constantly takes him down darker paths than expected. In fact, he doubted killing Jor-El was a good idea all along, expecting a war to break out, but King Jefferson was insensitive to his opinion.

6 Oliver Queen is basically a hitman

oliver queen aiming a magic arrow in dark knights of steel

While Green Arrow is a vigilante always in the fight against evil, Black Knights of Steel‘s Oliver Queen is a murderer. Since he is a master marksman, King Jefferson hires him to shoot the magic arrow that kills Jor-El. He’s not on Jefferson’s side; he’s just a hitman.

Enraged by Jor-El’s death, the Bat-Prince demands justice for his king. Once he finds Oliver, he cuts off his left arm. It’s a common punishment for archers in the DC Universe. In Batman: Return of the Dark Knight, Superman breaks Oliver’s arm in a fight, rendering it beyond repair, so he has it amputated. In Justice League: Cry for Justice #5, Speedy loses his arm to the villainous Prometheus just before taking over for Arsenal.

5 Zala Jor-El is a cold-blooded murderer

Kal-El’s sister and Lara and Jor-El’s daughter, Zala Jor-El has no counterpart in the main universe, but she is clearly based on Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl. Of course, she has the same solar abilities as the rest of her family. She is a warrior princess, raised on Amazon Island, where she learned to fight and met Princess Diana, her girlfriend.

Although Zala is inspired by the Daughter of Steel, this warrior princess is far from being a heroine. After learning of her father’s death, Zala flew to the Kingdom of Storms to assassinate King Jefferson’s son Jacob. After that, she ended up with a whole army of Metal Men, the Storm Realm’s guards. Finally, she murdered King Jefferson by stabbing him.

4 Diana is a Sapphic Warrior Princess

Diana and Zala kiss in Dark Knights Of Steel

Just like Wonder Woman, Diana is the daughter of Queen Hippolyta. She is the princess of the Amazons, a warrior with superhuman physiology and Amazonian training. Since the Amazon island isn’t part of either warring kingdom, Princess Diana thinks the Amazons should stay out of it, but only time will tell if that’s possible.

Probably the biggest difference between Princess Diana and Wonder Woman is her romance with Zala. However, Diana’s bisexuality doesn’t come as much of a surprise to DC fans. At one point, Diana dated Mala and Kaisa, two fellow Amazonians.

3 Kal-El isn’t a real hero yet, but he’s on his way

prince kal-el running at sunset in the black knights of steel

In Black Knight of Steel, Tom Taylor is rewriting Superman history from the very beginning. While the Man of Steel is Krypton’s sole survivor in the main continuity, this Elseworld begins with his mother, Lara, as a pregnant woman. As she is about to give birth, her husband, Jor-El, puts her in the pod and enters himself, saving her entire family.

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Since Jor-El and Lara became King and Queen, their son grows up to be Prince Kal-El. Since he is Kryptonian, he has the same powers as his Prime Earth counterpart. However, he is young and still far from being Superman. Regardless, Black Knights of Steel follows him as he matures and comes to terms with his new responsibilities after his father’s death.

2 Bruce is a half-Kryptonian witcher.

the bat prince and alfred riding their horses

Black Knights of Steel primarily focuses on Bruce Wayne, aka the Bat-Prince. While all of the characters are obviously changed to fit the medieval universe, Bruce’s origins stand in particular contrast to Prime Earth’s Batman. For example, he is not a vigilante, but a guardian of the House of El, whose main job is to take down anyone with magic.

On top of that, Bruce is officially Thomas and Martha Wayne’s son, but in reality, he’s Martha and Jor-El’s. That means he’s half Kryptonian. From Black Knights of Steel #4, readers have yet to see the full extent of Bruce’s powers, but given Tom Taylor’s talent for surprises, he’ll unfold them when fans least expect it.

1 The Green Man is a terrifying mix of Lex Luthor, the Joker and Green Lantern

Originally, the Green Man only appeared as the person who gave Oliver the magical (but obviously Kryptonite-inspired) arrow that killed Jor-El. However, Black Knights of Steel #4 finally introduced the main villain of this Elseworld correctly, and it’s worse than anyone could have imagined.

A few years after the El’s arrival on Earth, they used their powers and technological knowledge to predict a volcanic eruption. When they attempted to explain King Thomas and Queen Martha, they were stopped by their adviser, Alexander Luthor, who did not believe them. Once chaos ensued, the El managed to contain the disaster, but Luthor was banished from the kingdom. As he left the kingdom, he touched a mysterious green material and received a lantern ring. Thus, he became “the green man, the cruel Joker, the man once known as Luthor”.

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