Dark Nights: Metal was a one-of-a-kind DC Comics opus, easily one of the most creative and...frankly, unhinged DC events in recent memory. Now the story continues in Dark Nights: Death Metal and it seems Metal was merely the appetizer to an even more inventive and action-packed adventure here. Writer Scott Snyder, artist Greg Capullo, inker Jonathan Glapion, colorist FCO Plascencia, and letterer Tom Napolitano combine to deliver a debut issue that cranks the dial on DC events all the way to 11. They are having an absolute ball in this crazy world they've created, and you're bound to have just as much fun getting lost in it.
Snyder is clearly enjoying himself with rock and roll premise, like when The Batman Who Laughs proposes a title for energy based on one iconic rock band. That said, it's the series' tone that really sticks out, from the gung-ho ramblings of Sgt. Rock to an absolutely sensational Batman sighting about midway through that had me gasping from sheer coolness.
Yes, I said coolness, and while it's far from the most eloquent sentence I've written, it perfectly describes the aura of this sprawling story.
The surprises delivered right at the start offer several burning questions. While we don't possess all of the answers by the end of the issue, Snyder does a stellar job of breaking everything into digestible chunks. This is especially important when you're explaining universe-creating entities and two different forms of all-powerful energy as the foundation of your story.
Capullo and Plascencia bring this larger-than-life story to life brilliantly throughout the issue, and it's a delight to see all the inventive character designs in this surreal world. We're not talking about just the titular Dark Nights either, though there are plenty of those around, including a Batman who has uploaded his conciseness into his robot Dinosaur (yes, it's as amazing as it sounds).
You actually don't see the main Batman too often in this issue, but when he shows up he makes an impact. His design is phenomenal, and it only gets better when he grabs a skeleton motorcycle after brandishing one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. If that sounds fantastic, it's even better seeing how it plays out. There are so many moments like that throughout the issue, too.
Wonder Woman is of critical importance, both to the overall story and this specific issue. Fans of the character may lose their minds at a bit in one particular sequence that brings the issue's narrative full circle while also delivering a spectacle to leave you absurdly giddy.
If you were expecting Snyder and Capullo to up the ante here, they assuredly meet those expectations. Yes, it does include quite a bit of multiverse-spanning exposition to make the story flow, and it is quite a dense read, but it's delivered effectively enough that readers don't need to have read Dark Nights: Metal or the recent Hell Arisen miniseries before diving in here. They do help, don't' get me wrong, but new fans can get on board without too many difficulties.
It might be a little intimidating to jump into such an epic story with so large a scope, but those who throw caution to the wind will be rewarded with a larger-than-life rollercoaster ride that exudes the joy and energy of its creators. That enthusiasm comes through on every page and, if this is just the beginning, I can't wait to see what the rest of the series holds.
Published by DC Comics
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
Colors by FCO Plascencia
Letters by Tom Napolitano
Cover by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO Plascencia