Dark Nights: Metal #4 – Scott Snyder, Writer; Greg Capullo, Penciller; Jonathan Glapion, Inker; FCD Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Hope is…Crushed?
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Ray: Thus far, Metal has been a wild, action-packed cosmic horror story. I’ve found it to be a near-perfect exploration of the darker corners of the DC Multiverse, while Corrina has found it too unrelentingly dark. This issue, though, takes an interesting sideways turn into a more fantastical direction as Sandman finally takes center stage. The issue opens with pages of a storybook, as Sandman explains that the worlds of the Dark Multiverse are failed worlds in the Orrery, turning what we thought we knew on its head. Meanwhile, a frail, aged Batman is captive of some corrupted Supermen, including one based on the 90’s “Electric Superman”, a fun inside joke. Using a gadget right out of the silver age, Batman is able to grab an injured Superman and escape. Meanwhile, the other heroic duos continue their quests in their own unique environments.
Wonder Woman, Doctor Fate, and Kendra Saunders are in the Rock of Eternity, fighting the Seven Deadly Sins and chasing Nth Metal, while Aquaman and Deathstroke head to old Atlantis and find the tomb of Atlan – where they find ghosts, and a secret portal that leads to new depths. Green Lantern and Mr. Terrific make a well-reasoned plea for supplies to the current ruler of Thanagar, Onimar Synn – only to find out that he’s in league with another classic DC villain, which leads to their capture. Batman and Superman, meanwhile, find themselves rescued from their fates by Dream, which is where the issue really kicks into high gear. This is a fascinating, meta segment as we learn the true meaning of this whole event, and the larger threat posed by Barbatos. The issue ends with a pair of dramatic transformations, a major villain’s return, and a surprising return of an iconic DC hero. As we head into the final act of this event, it’s taken a turn that I think long-time DC fans will be very pleased with.
Corrina: To me, thus far, Dark Nights: Metal has been a dreary affair based on twisting Batman’s personality into a whole bunch of different but evil pretzels and destroying hugs chunks of Earth, all explained by meta-physical whatever stuff. I’ve long given up that I’m going to like this tale and this issue doesn’t change my mind.
However, I did find some moments I liked, more so than in previous issues. The primary one is Clark and Bruce’s bonding over having hope and thus, escaping. That’s a terrific encapsulation of what Bruce and Clark mean to each other. Clark sees the light in Bruce and Bruce adores him for it–though would never admit it. And because Bruce trusts Clark’s essential goodness, Clark can have hope again.
Sandman’s story was also interesting, making me wonder what Snyder could do with that mythology but, then again, Gaiman is the gold-standard there and I’m not sure a sequel by someone else would be the same. Still, Daniel is used effectively here.
Yet other moments made me roll my eyes. Wonder Woman seems overly violent and unwilling to listen and I’m not impressed at Kendra’s transformation. She’s had little to do in this series except bring messages from Hawkman and now she’s evil. Naturally, Hawkman will get a book spotlight later but, apparently, not Kendra. I don’t even know why we needed GL and Mr. Terrific and the Aquaman/Deathstroke team-ups. To pad out the crossover and keep all the characters involved, I guess, though I bow to the extensive knowledge of the DC universe displayed in showing their adventures. (Arion’s grave, for instance.)
Two issues left. That’s the best part, so far as this reader is concerned. I get that many DC readers are loving this. Partially, my distaste is fueled by this being so horror-influenced and so lacking in any kind of fun, despite the creator’s claims that this would be a fun ride. I find it to be a humorless descent into darkness that will put all DC heroes through awfulness, make them distrust Batman forever, since he always goes evil and takes over things, and then it will be all reset and no one will remember. Which is okay if I enjoyed this journey but, clearly, I want off the ride.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.