Dark Nights: Metal #1 & #2
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Publisher: DC Comics
A few weeks ago, we featured the impending invasion of the scariest versions of Batman ever in the main DC universe. Well, that moment finally came in Dark Nights: Metal #2, which was released two weeks ago.
Written by Scott Snyder with art by his longtime Batman collaborator Greg Capullo, Dark Night: Metals is an event that could have major repercussions for the main DC continuity, which is already going through a major Rebirth of its own.
The first issue begins with the Justice League somehow captured by Mongul, subdued with specific power-negating armour, and forced to fight robotic monsters created by the also-enslaved Toyman. After turning the tables on Mongul (by combining into a giant robot, no less), they return to Earth to find that a giant mountain has emerged in the middle of Gotham.
So far, so Gotham. With all the crazy stuff that’s happened to the city in the past, from earthquakes to the frequent Joker attacks, I’m surprised the residents haven’t completely abandoned it already.
Dark side of the map
Anyway, after further investigations, they are approached by the Blackhawks, led by a certain Kendra Saunders (aka Hawkgirl in another life).
She tells them that the mountain came from the Dark Multiverse, and that it’s a sign of the coming of a Great Evil called Barbatos, who will come through a “human doorway”, someone who has been “treated” by five divine metals.
So who is this human doorway going to be? Well, to cut a long story short – it’s Batman, of course.
We won’t spoil things further for you, but let’s just say that a lot more happens within issue #1, which ends with a moment that actually caused this jaded comic reviewer to do a double take – the surprise introduction of Daniel Hall, aka Dream of the Endless!
Now, as fans of the Sandman would now, Daniel is actually the new personification of Dream, having replaced Morpheus, who died in the pages of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. His appearance in Metal raises an intriguing theory: will the Dark Multiverse bring in iconic Vertigo characters from series like Sandman, Lucifer, Preacher and others into the main DC universe? After all, the Watchmen series is already being incorporated into the main DC Rebirth storyline, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the other Vertigo stories being used as well.
But we digress. This is a review of Dark Nights: Metal, so we’ll get back to it.
The story takes a nasty and very exciting turn in issue #2. It opens with the rest of the Justice League chasing down Bruce, who has left decoys and red herrings all over the world to mislead them. This leads to a fast-paced, exciting chase through the jungle, where the Bat-family – Robin, Nightwing, Batwoman, Red Hood, etc – are helping Batman get away with ... well, something very, very dangerous.
Batman Vs Justice League
One of the best things about Metal so far is seeing Batman pitting his wits against the Justice League.
Assuming that Barbatos is a major threat that only he can stop, he decides to use every resource and every trick in the book to do so, even if it means betraying his friends.
In the end, however, it all comes to naught when the doorway is eventually opened (we won’t reveal how) and out steps the group of seven alternate Batmans, who truly put the “Dark” in “Dark Knight”.
What makes these nightmare versions of Batman even scarier is that they are mostly Batman-ised versions of the Justice League. They are The Red Death (Flash/Batman), The Devastator (a Doomsday version of Superman/Batman), The Dawnbreaker (Batman/Green Lantern), The Murder Machine (Cyborg/Batman), The Drowned (Aquaman/Batman), and The Merciless (Wonder Woman/Batman).
The odd one out, however, is The Batman Who Laughs – A Joker/Batman with four Robins on a leash, and he is arguably the scariest perversion of the Caped Crusader we’ve seen yet.
Starting with last week’s Batman: The Red Death, each of these nightmare Batmans will be getting his own one-shot comic, which will tell us more about the stories behind these alternate Bruce Waynes.
Snyder himself has said that he’s been planning Metal for as long as he’s been writing Batman, which is a long, long time.
“We want to create new material that feels really modern and different,” he says in a DC editorial. “And above all, it’s going to be fun. Even with terror and nightmares, it won’t be grim. Dark Nights: Metal will be celebratory, huge and crazy.”
Well, it’s only been two issues, but he and Capullo have definitely delivered some heavy metal material so far. Dark Nights: Metal has been a gripping, exciting event that can only get better as the seven Dark Knights run riot and we wait to learn the fate of the real Bruce Wayne. We can’t wait to see how the rest of the story pans out.