Dark Nights: Death Metal has been defying fans' expectations at basically every turn, bringing to life a twisted take on the DC Comics canon. While the event has only occurred over a handful of months, its events have stretched through decades of moments and lore, as a ragtag band of heroes joins forces to vanquish The Batman Who Laughs and Perpetua. The event's latest issue brought that conflict to an interesting head, reintroducing a fan-favorite DC Comics character -- only to have their allegiances be tested across the issue. Spoilers for Dark Nights: Death Metal #4, from Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia, and Tom Napolitano, below! Only look if you want to know!
Part of the issue saw Wonder Woman being captured in an alternate Earth, one which imagined a scenario in which the events of Infinite Crisis took a much more bleak turn. In this Earth, The Batman Who Laughs - now dubbed The Darkest Knight - had helped Superboy-Prime emerge as the victor. Superboy-Prime captured Wonder Woman (as well as the corpse of Alexander Luthor) within his cosmic tuning fork, with the goal of using it to direct all cosmic, multiversal energy to The Darkest Knight. Throughout the issue, Wonder Woman tries to appeal to Superboy-Prime's better angels, trying to convince him that his version of a perfect reality would come at a cost of the larger multiverse.
Eventually, Diana is able to break free of her prison, fighting Superboy-Prime until she convinces him to destroy the tuning fork.
He ultimately succeeds in that effort, destroying the alternate realities that had trapped both Batman and Superman -- and returning all four heroes back to the Metalverse.
Of course, things get more tumultuous from there, as the four reunite with other heroes and redirect the Crisis Energy to the Mobius Chair -- only for The Darkest Knight to steal it anyway. Still, the moment places Superboy-Prime on a surprising side of the conflict, one that also amends the decades of trauma and characterization he underwent surrounding infinite Crisis.
"He's been through a lot!" Death Metal writer Scott Snyder explained in an interview with CBR. "He was trapped in the wall for a long time and, honestly, I felt -- and Geoff felt the same way -- that he should grow up a bit... I think there was a feeling of him wanting it to be simpler that felt like a villainous action. And the actions of someone like that -- petulant and more brattish -- simply because there was such an outpouring of creative energy and the world was much more stable."0comments
"I think with events in the world and in comics and the marketplace with COVID and everything [making things] just so volatile and so nerve-wracking, even though we're really hopeful and confident about the future, it felt like his desire to return to simpler times was almost more understandable, more sympathetic," Snyder continued. "I wanted to treat him with a little bit more maturity in the way that he spoke and approached things. There was a moment thought about having him grown a little bit older so he would have been Superman-Prime in this world but it just felt wrong."
What do you think of Superboy-Prime's heel turn in Dark Nights: Death Metal #4? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!