You know that moment that metalheads complain about, where their favorite underground, hardcore band went mainstream and lost its edge? For many, Metallica’s “Black Album” is either the moment the band made it big or the moment they sold out, leaving their “true” fans behind. Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt is no “Black Album.” At best, this is Extreme after “More Than Words” and the advent of grunge destroyed their careers. It’s a mess and nothing good can come of it.
I had such high hopes for this series. I guess I should have taken more notice when issues were delayed. Maybe it was too ambitious of a story. Maybe not being an all-encompassing epic across the DC spectrum hobbled it in the gate. I’m getting ahead of myself.
Put aside the title, which refers to The Wild Hunt of folklore where fairies, elves, or an army of the dead ride across the land harbinging catastrophe. Put aside the cover art, featuring horses that never appear in the comic. To know this book is to understand the following sentence: This is a book about a chimp. That’s what we’ve come to. Detective Bobo and his origin story. That’s what we’ve gotten after the creation of some of the most vicious villains ever to grace a comics page. The Batman Who Laughs is a character that is truly frightening, but, hey, let’s spend some pages working through Bobo’s life in the circus. Oh, is the Ultima Thule being led into yet another trap while featuring the first shreds of hope that someone can defeat even one of the Evil Batmen (hint: it’s Raven who is a legit badass in this issue)? Let’s have another Bobo page!
For real, this comic has turned into such a waste of time. I could go into all the reasons I think it fails in telling a complete and compelling story, but I really don’t have that much room. I have completely lost any sense of consistency and continuity in what is happening and everything just seems like a play for shock value. In issue #5, Wonder Woman got actually shot in the actual head. 76-year old Batman and Superman got melted in the World Forge while giant monster Hawkman struck nightmares around them. Everything we are being told and shown betrays any actual hope of a solution.
Post Dark Nights: Metal #4, this mini-series is off the rails in a major way and there’s just no time to fix it before whatever happens with Justice League. I’m sure there will be a massive deus ex machina in issue #6 to save the day and restore some semblance of status quo while the rest of the DC universe whirls on its merry way ignoring what could have been one of the most significant and impactful events in comics in many, many years. Maybe the Wild Hunt does foretell disaster.