Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 – Scott Snyder, Writer; Greg Capullo, Penciller; Jonathan Glapion, Inker; FCO Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: As we head into the home stretch of Dark Nights: Death Metal, is there any team that can combine earth-shattering action with heartbreaking character beats better than Snyder and Capullo? The opening scenes, as the Darkest Knight and Robin King taunt the heroes and Castle Bat roars to life as a last line of defense, are stunning visually. Castle Bat has been lurking in the background for most of this series, a fantastic idea that didn’t really live up to its potential—until now. There are some fascinating ideas in here about how powerful this being really is thanks to Gotham’s history. That makes its eventual defeat once Lex Luthor shows up all the more dramatic—and all the funnier, once you see its ultimate fate.
But with Luthor comes a much more serious tone to the story. In many ways, Snyder’s Justice League run and this story have been as much Luthor’s narrative as anyone else. He’s a broken man, one haunted by hangups he’s held since childhood. He’s a bit of a tool for exposition in this issue, giving us some hints at what’s to come for the DCU. But his take on why Wonder Woman is the only one who can save the world is compelling—and leads to a shocking reveal about Superman and Batman. This issue also features Lobo in a surprisingly big role, following up on his focused one-shot last week. And he’s not the only villain or antagonist who looks to be stepping into a starring role in this issue.
And then, it’s back to some of the biggest action of the run, as the heroes come up with a last desperate attempt to stop the Darkest Knight before he completes his consumption of Perpetua’s power. The visual near the end of the issue sort of makes this feel like this all has to be retconned in some way by the end—but does that really matter? In many ways, these are concepts that have been explored in this title from a meta perspective as the heroes face what could be the end of the universe. It’s a story that has a cast of hundreds but somehow manages to keep its perspective very firmly grounded in a few that Snyder has done amazing work with over the years. Dare I hope for a Wonder Woman series of some kind from him in the future? This is one of the best events from any company in years.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.