Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 – Scott Snyder, Writer; Greg Capullo, Penciller; Jonathan Glapion, Inker; FCO Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: How do you do a crisis to end all Crises? That’s the question for Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo as they tackle their second major DC event – one that seems to be set up as a “series finale” to everything that’s been set up in the DCU since Flashpoint in 2011 and maybe a lot longer. Coming on the heels of Dark Nights: Metal, Death Metal is the continuation of the end of Snyder and James Tynion’s Justice League run. But if you’re expecting a smooth transition, think again – the opening chapter of this spectacular event revels in throwing you into the action and letting you figure it out. Right from the opening page, this comic is disorienting and chaotic. The only thing we know is that the DCU we know is no more, and something very bad has happened.
Metal was essentially a Batman story, and this has been hyped as a Wonder Woman story. It lives up to this, but it’s surprising just how many characters from across time and space make their way into the story. Sgt. Rock, Jonah Hex, and Lobo all appear in what’s essentially an all-star parade of key DC legends from their more offbeat books. But as we’re thrown into the world now, Wonder Woman is a reluctant warden of a mysterious prison in the ruins of Themyscira, with the surface ruled over by an army of evil Batmen. From a burned, ruined Swamp Thing, to a Superman chained to the anti-life equation, to a mysterious broken prisoner that Wonder Woman is handed by the villains, it’s clear the world is in bad shape.
It shouldn’t surprise you that some of this book’s best moments come from its many new Batmen. The Batman Who Laughs took the world by storm when he debuted, and a few of the new characters here seem designed to duplicate that fandom. From the Cthulhu-esque Bathomet to the massive Castle Bat, they deliver great visuals from Capullo. But it’s the Batman who uploaded his mind into the giant robot dinosaur that’s likely to be the biggest fan favorite. There’s a good amount of humor here, but it barely breaks the tension. As we pingpong from one scene to another and learn just how bad the world has gotten, it raises the suspense to a thrilling level.
The reveal of the prisoner’s identity brings in ties to another major recent DC event, Doomsday Clock, which many people thought might be forgotten once concluded. Nope – Snyder seems to want to tie virtually every crisis together in one massive tapestry of chaos. But as many shocking moments there are over this issue, nothing tops the one near the end, as a major death throws the entire concept of the series for a loop and leaves one massive question – what next? This is one of the most unpredictable first issues I can remember, with callbacks to some of the greatest DC events of all time and excellent characterization for a Wonder Woman and a Batman pushed beyond their limits. It’s exactly what I’d want out of a first issue of Snyder and Capullo’s ultimate comic book event.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.