‘Dark Nights: Metal’ is here and it’ll melt your face off.
The event everyone has been talking about, from Scott Snyder himself to San Diego Comic Con and Boston Comic Con is finally upon us. It’s an event that’ll span six issues over six months that starts now (though The Forge and The Casting precluded to this). Anybody else ready to throw up the horns?
So what’s it about?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Love the editors note.
This issue starts 50,000 years ago, and as it progresses the issue spans multiple locations, tones, and levels of excitement for the reader. For $4.99 this book feels very much worth the price of admission running at about 28 pages long (not including credits). It opens with a balls-to-the-wall action sequence involving a gladiator-style battle with the entire Justice League and ends with a rather shocking revelation that Vertigo fans will need to check out. Along the way Hawkman plays a part, the elements we learned in the prelude issues come up, and Batman kills it with his mind and planning. It’s pretty clear Snyder loves Batman a great deal as he shows off his wit in clever ways and continues to keep his cards close to the vest. It’s not just a Batman story by any means either, as the story takes a rich dip into the mythos of DC and calls back to some things DCU fanatics will love. Combine all these things and the issue feels rich in content and scope.
Speaking of tone, you get the feeling that this issue (and maybe the series) is all about blowing the reader away with fun visuals and fun ideas. Opening in the gladiator pit, readers will see each hero of the Justice League try to hold their own even though they’re depowered (read it to find out why!). This culminates into a striking twist I don’t think anyone will see coming that will hit at your nostalgic side if you grew up during the 90’s. Believe me, it’s pretty cool. Even the credits scream fun, with each creator involved getting an extra moniker that’s either badass or just cool. On top of all this, Batman rides a god damn raptor.
Then there’s the stuff that ties into DCU history. I won’t spoil a thing here, but needless to say, it runs pretty damn deep. I think new readers will enjoy this for what it is because the vibe during these exposition moments is unnerving and scary. I was getting some Event Horizon vibes as the Justice League stood around a manuscript and heard what is coming. The multiverse is brought up too and based on what Scott Snyder said at Boston Comic Con there’s clearly going to be a nightmare level of bad on the way for the heroes. Bring it!
Capullo draws a wickedly good issue. The detail is insane and every panel looks like a ton of time was put into them. Seriously, how does this cat have the time to draw this stuff? There are cool ideas throughout and imaginative and clever uses of the page to make it pop. In one page, for example, Capullo frames each hero within a metal bar that is wrapped in wires. It works perfectly for the scene as they’re all inside metal robots and it looks cool too. There isn’t a page that looks half assed or done without care. You can also see time and energy spent via colors by FCO Plascencia and inks by Jonathan Glapion. There’s a brightness that’s unmistakable that gives it a superhero charm. There may not be many full or double page splashes (by my count there’s only one full page splash at the end), but the quality is so high you won’t even notice. It’s that in your face.
Yep, that just happened.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s no doubt exposition gets dropped hard in this issue and it runs a good five or so pages. The details are interesting, but there’s no mistaking how boring it can be when costumed heroes stand around a desk and listen to a character they probably shouldn’t trust. Obviously, these details are a huge factor in the future of the story and the tie-ins, but it drags the story down. It’s also worth noting it’s these types of scenes from Snyder that make you want to read the entire issue again.
This scene leads to an escape that conveniently goes without a hitch, which then leads to captions that opened the book and now make sense (though you might have forgotten they were going on after all the content in the middle of the book). Once again, the exposition is interesting, but it slows things down to a crawl and ends the book with more of a comma than an exclamation point. Am I still all in with this series? Sure am, but it’s an end that has you on the edge of your seat rather than jumping up and hooting like much of this issue makes you do.
Is It Good?
There’s a lot of entertainment in this issue and it comes in at varying decibels that’ll shock your system in a lot of good ways. Above all else, this story feels big, important, and it’s well worth your time. Like a good guitar lick it’ll melt your face off, but look out for the building melody that’ll get you on the edge of your seat.