I had some reservations with Dark Nights: Death Metal #1, but after reading #2 I’m fairly certain this is the real deal. The first issue laid the groundwork for what kind of journey we’ll be going, explaining the stakes, the general goals of the characters, and emphatically making Wonder Woman the lead character. The second issue, out today, opens on an Atom/Batman mashup getting squished by the good guys, and ends on the bad guys gaining unfathomable power. Expectations of good guys and bad guys are out the window, people!
Much like the first issue, this issue had me thinking about the series as a whole, specific scenes, and the interwoven complexity of things. On the surface, this is wildly fun and seemingly bombastic, but when you give it a bit of thought — or begin to understand the complexity Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are delving into here — you realize the window dressing is hiding quite an engine underneath the hood.
I was reminded of the works of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison — specifically how those creators have shown how cool comics can be when they are inspired by something deeper. This is the kind of work I think many will be chewing on for some time.
Broken up into chapters separated by cards featuring the book’s characters, this book keeps going and going. It reads like we’ve reached a huge cliffhanger, but there is still more. It’s not filler or unnecessary scenes either, but the chapter breaks seem to play with our expectations and hammer home this is a wild ride we’re on.
The art in this book is top tier stuff. Capullo is at the top of his game and is quite good at inserting little ideas (try to find the Swamp Thing head as a shield!) as well as an impeccable handle on using multiple characters reacting to something in a panel that further informs the awe it inspires. Comedic timing is on point where needed, and the horror elements gel too. The inks by Jonathan Glapion, colors by FCO Plascencia, and letters by Tom Napolitano help embody the rocker metal look and feel in their own ways.
This issue follows Wonder Woman after her surprising attack in the last issue. It’s a direct response to her act which leads to characters getting into fast cars and booking it to their next big plan. This series is clearly building off of what Snyder did in his excellently boisterous and fun Justice League run, which further informs and validates the sometimes hard to believe story presented here. Much like Snyder’s Justice League, there are insanely fun ideas at work here — some I couldn’t believe were put to the page — and I fathom most will enjoy them immensely.
Dark Nights: Death Metal is the kind of book you need to let go and let God, only in this case Snyder and Capullo is God. Sure, a giant T-Rex Batman is outrageous, but within the confines of this story, it makes sense because the multiverse is vast and can do anything. There are other elements I know folks will question, but again, if you consciously surrender to what Snyder and Capullo are crafting I guarantee you’ll love every minute of it.