There was one truly irrefutable truth out of DC Comics’ reboot – the “NEW 52” – roughly seven years ago, which was that the BATMAN title written by Scott Snyder and penciled by Greg Capullo was the benchmark for comics. No matter if it were DC, Marvel, Image or Dark Horse. If you were writing or drawing a comic it was measured up to BATMAN. The duo did roughly fifty-one (give or take a few) issues together, and it will surely stand the test of time.

Now flash forward to DC’s “DC REBIRTH,” which many took to be another reboot despite DC themselves advertising it as “not a reboot,” where they brought back aspects of characters that were lost during the NEW 52 and even lost characters like Wally West/Kid Flash. This “awakening” injected hope and optimism back into the DC Universe, which many fans had felt was a bit lost back in 2011. The line of books has been selling wonderfully, and you can see the change in titles like GREEN ARROW (by Benjamin Percy, Otto Schmidt and Juan Ferreyra,) SUPER SONS (by Peter J. Tomasi and Jorge Jimenez) and HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS (by Robert Venditti, Ethan Van Sciver and Rafa Sandoval.)

Despite Scott Snyder remaining with DC through REBIRTH writing ALL-STAR BATMAN, Greg Capullo left to do an amazing book with Mark Millar out of Image Comics called REBORN. The lack of the “Commander-and-Chief” of the “Capullo Army” – what he calls his fans – through the first year of REBIRTH gave a feel of something missing in the DCU. His art had always pumped DC’s line to another level. It also seemed from solely an observation as a fan that his hard work ethic and next level art pushed other artists working at DC to give every issue they did their A-game.

Then, like the sun’s bright rays shining through the clouds after a bad storm, DC announced their upcoming event… DARK NIGHTS: METAL. A massive event, which the main attraction of was putting back together the band, the OG BATMAN team, of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.

The event would start with some lead-in issues – one-shots – DARK DAYS: THE FORGE and DARK DAYS: THE CASTING. These two one-shots’ purpose was to be a “hype train,” and they did it beautifully as THE FORGE gave us the basic set up by focusing on Hawkman, Hal Jordan, Duke/The Signal and a surprising character… the Joker. Then with “THE CASTING” we got our first glimpse at what foes our heroes would be facing in METAL.

Now, the question out of THE CASTING was, “is the hype that is ‘DARK NIGHTS: METAL’ legitimate?” The answer is undoubtedly YES. Over SDCC we were given our first look at six of the seven “Dark Knights” (a.k.a. “Knightmare Batmen,”) and boy-oh-boy did they seal the deal that everyone should be picking up DARK NIGHTS: METAL.

Art by Riccardo Federici

In the picture to the left we see the “Dark Knights” who are (from left to right) the Murder Machine, the Red Death, the Devastator, the Merciless, the Drowned and the Dawnbreaker. Now, many would say that a badass drawing isn’t enough to say that the hype a comic book company is building behind its product makes it legitimate, and usually that’s accurate, BUT here is a different story.

Most of the time when a comic company starts to build an immense amount of hype, and they release the “hype train” it fizzles out in the second issue. Here, we’ve technically had the second issue – THE CASTING – and it was an overall great issue. It answered questions from THE FORGE while also giving us a million more. But if one needed more proof that METAL’s hype is legitimately deserved, look back when DC did “Futures End.” They did a weekly series for it, and a September full of one-shots that “showed us what the DCU was to look like in 5-years.” No sooner that was over, they ditched it. Here, DC is giving us a whole line of comics that spawn out of METAL.

DC DARK MATTER” is the final installment and the very product to live on in the DCU after METAL is over. The line consisting of six titles by amazing creative teams: SIDEWAYS (by Dan Didio, Justin Jordan and Kenneth Rocafort,) THE SILENCER (by Dan Abnett and John Romita Jr.,) IMMORTAL MEN (by James Tynion IV and Jim Lee,) DAMAGE (by Robert Venditti and Tony S. Daniel,) NEW CHALLANGERS (by Scott Snyder and Andy Kubert) and lastly but not least THE TERRIFICS (by Jeff Lemire and Ivan Reis.)

Being a reader of comics for nearly 20-years, I believe that when a company pulls together some of the currently greatest names in comics like Greg Capullo, Jeff Lemire, Robert Venditti and Justin Jordan, you have to feel that what they’re doing is going to be amazing. That what is coming will definitely raise the bar at least five notches from where they’ve been raising it since the NEW 52 and REBIRTH. And I believe with one hundred percent certainty that DARK NIGHTS: METAL’s hype is definitely legitimate.

DARK NIGHTS: METAL #1 will be out on a shelf in a comic shop nearest you August 16th.

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