In the opening pages of Dark Nights: Death Metal #3, released earlier this month from the blockbuster creative team of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia, and Tom Napolitano, fans got a look at the newest wave of Batman-infused villains. Last time around, The Batman Who Laughs brought the Justice League with him; this time around, it's mostly villains who are getting the treatment, and the third issue introduces Dark Multiverse counterparts of Bruce Wayne that have merged with Darkseid, Brainiac, Atrocitus, and more. Among the new faces: Night Glider, likely conceived as a riff on the Black Racer but clealry paying some homage to Silver Surfer as well, with his color scheme and mode of transportation.
The latter, called Darkfather, is a major antagonist in the issue, keeping Superman hostage and attempting to persuade him to take on the powers of Darkseid and bring humanity into line by ruling Earth with an iron first, using the Anti-Life Equation to make it work. He, along with his "Para-Robins," gets a pretty decent fight scene in, while the promising versions divined from Surfer, Brainiac, and others are essentially one- or two-page-and-done baddies who may or may not even survive the series for the potential third installment.
There's also an appearance -- minor spoilers here, because while the others appear in the first few pages, this guy is later on -- of a Dark Multiverse Batman who merged with the Black Flash, a truly creepy image that merges the ghostly, jagged affect of the Black Flash with Batman's own brand of putting fear into the hearts of villains and all that.
Dark Nights: Death Metal is DC's follow-up to their 2017-18 series Dark Nights: Metal, which brought widespread changes to the DC universe and introduced fans to the Dark Multiverse and a popular villain, the Batman Who Laughs, who has been a featured character in almost every major story Snyder has written since. The series will also include several "Metalverse" one-shots throughout the summer months, expanding the vast world created by the Death Metal storyline (presumably similar to the one-shots that gave backstories for the Dark Knights in Metal).
"I've been waiting to do this story since we finished Dark Nights: Metal," Snyder said in a statement when the project was announced. "As much as it was a complete event, we left some threads hanging there for sure. I'd hoped that if people liked the first series enough, we'd have a chance to set up something bigger, and that's our plan for Death Metal."
The series spins out of the events of Scott Snyder's Justice League run and the Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen miniseries by James Tynion IV. The Earth has been consumed by Dark Multiverse energy, having been conquered by the Batman Who Laughs and his evil lieutenants, corrupted versions of Shazam, Donna Troy, Supergirl, Blue Beetle, Hawkman, and Commissioner Jim Gordon. Some heroes, like Wonder Woman and the Flash, have made compromises as they negotiate to keep humanity alive in this hell-born landscape. Others, like Batman, are part of an underground resistance looking to take back control of their world. Superman is imprisoned, cursed to literally power Earth's sun for eternity.
But a mysterious figure provides Wonder Woman with vital information she might be able to use to rally Earth's remaining heroes to resist the Batman Who Laughs. Can the Justice League break away from the Dark Multiverse and defeat Perpetua?