Let me start by saying it takes A LOT to get me hyped for a comic book event anymore, and even in general for just a comic. There’s a lot of solid work out there, but few actually gain my full on attention, AND DARK NIGHTS: METAL is one of those few. There are a couple reasons why; like the fact that this is the return of the “Commander-and-Chief of the Capullo Army,” Greg Capullo, and it’s the BAT-team – Scott Snyder (writer) and Capullo (artist) – rejoining forces. Sure, both of those reasons have Capullo in them, but let me let you in on a little secret… buy anything that has Capullo’s name on it, it will surely be A+ level work, and even if the story isn’t up to par, the art alone will be worth the cover price. BUT I digress…
DC METAL is the BIG event for DC Comics this summer (and through February,) and we’ve had two prelude issues building to this one. There was so much hype built up around this ALL-STAR looking book/event that I had asked (and answered) the question “DARK NIGHTS: METAL, is the hype legitimate?” I’m beyond glad that I was right in answering that question, and even more so with the fact that this issue was ten times more than what I was expecting it to be. Both THE FORGE and THE CASTING one-shots were solid books on their own, but functioning into this first issue of METAL makes this whole event that much better.
Now, this issue starts off with one of my favorite panels from the entire issue… the Justice League in straight on gladiator attire.
I know I can tend to hype things up more than is justifiable to some, but that shot is easily in my top-10 of all time panels. It’s powerful, beautiful and perfectly sums up this issue and what the event in a whole looks like it’ll be. One reason I praise Capullo’s art so much is because he is capable of taking a story that’s good, and then kicking it up five gears into an amazing one with the help of his art. His art in this issue was nothing less than what I as a member of the Capullo Army – his fan base – expects, excellence.
Now, moving on from my man-crush on Capullo and his art we get to the “heart” of this issue and the overall coming event… Scott Snyder’s story. Scott is an exceptional storytelling. He has amazing stories from AMERICAN VAMPIRE, SWAMP-THING, SUPERMAN, and of course BATMAN. He’s definitely etched his name into the monument of greatest “Caped Crusader” writers. And here in this particular issue he crushed it.
Scott has a particular way of telling a story with an amazing sub-story going on at the same time. He used this during his BATMAN run (with Greg Capullo,) as he told his “Court of Owls” arc. This issue, though, truly captured that sub-story style with Hawkman’s journal, as it was placed through the issue at just the right moments, and added this very interesting interactive depth to the main story at hand. It was actually one of my favorite things about the issue, how we got a whole other side to the story. It also makes me think that Hawkman will have a HUGE role with the “Knightmare Batmen.”
I’m even going to go out on a limb here and make a prediction, I think that Hawkman has direct ties to Barbatos, who is the “BIG BADDIE” pulling the reins of the “Dark Knights.”
Now, while this issue spoke heavily of the Barbatos, we did get yet another silhouetted shot of the “Dark Knights” (as seen above.) I love that they’re building them up, and put this air of mystery around them, though, I’m starting to get a bit worried now as I’m feeling these could end up being “one-offers” and that’s it instead of real threats that we might see later down the road. I do understand that some stories need villains that’ll only be around for it, but these are being built up for what feels like could be massive long stake players, and it’d be a shame to watch them shine only to be a supernova and be gone as quick as they came.
There were a few things that I was happy to see carried through from REBIRTH, which were the return of old characters that were lost in the reboot (NEW52.) That was one of the selling points to REBIRTH from Geoff Johns, that characters who were lost would make their returns, and we saw that with a few, like: Kendra Saunders (a.k.a. Hawkgirl,) the Blackhawks, Professor Ivo and his creation, Red Tornado (all seen in the below panel.)
As a comic book fan, and a long time one at that, it’s nice to see when characters who haven’t been around for a while make a return. Seeing multiple do that in this issue was like going to a family reunion and seeing your cousins you haven’t for a couple of years. Scott did a great job at perfectly folding these returns into the story without making them feel forced. And one thing I love in comics is when Golden Age characters – like the Blackhawks – are brought back, but they utilize them in flashbacks or nods (the old photo of them) as being in the WWII or Cold War era.
There’s one thing that as a DC Comics fan we love more than older characters being reintroduced, and that’s when a bad-ass character from one of DC’s imprints makes their debut (reintroduction) into the DCU. Of course this is a MASSIVE SPOILER, and so STOP reading and scrolling if you don’t want it to be spoiled… seriously.
That’s right, we got the (re)introduction to THE Sandman. Of course this appears to be the Daniel version of Morpheus, which implies they’re keeping the story going for this character from where it had left off. It opens a lot of doors, and definitely plays in with what’s coming in November with DOOMSDAY CLOCK and knowing Dr. Manhattan had caused the results of the NEW52.
This is where DC absolutely destroys other comic book companies. They allow their multiverse of multiverses to play on each other and interact. It’s something they’ve perfected, while Marvel had tried to utilize the multiverse theory but couldn’t get it right.
DARK NIGHTS: METAL #1 is currently available. DARK NIGHTS: METAL #2 will be hitting a shelf of a local comic book shop near you on September 13th along-with the tie-in TEEN TITANS #12.