Dark Knights: Metal has kicked into gear and it started with a high gear let me tell you. This is an action extravaganza event that has left a lot of room for tie-in issues to play. Enter Joshua Williamson’s Batman: The Red Death which features the demon/nightmare Flash version of Batman and how he was created.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
As the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL rock the DC Universe, the creatures of the Dark Multiverse stand ready to invade our world! How can even the World’s Greatest Heroes stop a horde of deadly beings that appear to be powerful, nightmare versions of familiar figures?
Why does this matter?
If you want to get the full 411 on how each of the Batman nightmares was created you’ll need to read this and the other tie-in issues. It also focuses on a twisted version of Batman that elseworld fans should enjoy.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Love that smoke effect!
Carmine Di Giandomenico draws a hell of an issue pulling out everything from his bag of tricks from cool light effects, blur, to even smoke effects too. There’s clearly some Dark Knight Returns vibes thrown into this issue, from classic homage panels of Batman inside his Batmobile to the gang from that series wearing red goggles on the street. The sky runs purplish red and the overall look of the city is dark which gives readers the sense that the end is near. When we get to see the Batman/Flash combo you see on the cover he’s designed superbly with a great sense of dread/energy exuding from him. Later, there’s a fantastic set of panels that utilizes blur to show us what the combo of Batman and Flash has become.
The issue opens with an evil narrator–really not sure who–explaining where we are in the Multiverse (or is it the underbelly of the Multiverse?). This sets the story in an alternate reality where Batman has lost all of his sidekicks and appears to have had enough. Williamson details Batman’s plans as he tries to subdue Flash in some pulse-pounding action. Fans will dig the underlying character work with Flash who maintains a presence until the very end. I’m keeping it vague to avoid spoilers, but there’s a character wrinkle with this nightmare Batman which will assuredly help turn the tide when the heroes inevitably take down these nightmares.
If you push the Batman too far…
It can’t be perfect can it?
The underlying motivation of the villain is still too obtuse to have it mean much of anything. There’s a promise Bruce Wayne can save his world by destroying our own and while it’s too early to know if that’s even true or not it leaves the reader unsure what to believe. This issue introduces the nightmare Batman/Flash well, but understanding what his next move is or his ultimate goals as far as attacking our Earth is yet to be seen.
Is It Good?
Sharp detailed art that harkens to The Dark Knight Returns accentuates a good origin story for our villainous character. So often with events the villains are boring and lack complexity, but this issue proves DC aims to avoid that.