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SDCC '20: Dark Nights: Death Metal panel recap

Comic Books

SDCC ’20: Dark Nights: Death Metal panel recap

An army of Lobos, the Robin King, Dinosaur Batman, tons of amazing creators, and ties to every major DCU event that’s come before it.

Today during day two of the DC @ Home panel, DC Comics Executive Editor Marie Javins sat down with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo to discuss Dark Nights: Death Metal, the fearsome Robin King, an army of Lobos, working with as many talented creators as they can, and an event with ties to every big moment in the DCU’s history.

*Warning: This is a panel with Scott Snyder, so naturally, he let some spoilers slip (it was Greg’s fault too) for Dark Nights: Death Metal*

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

Marie: I’m editor of Dark Nights: Death Metal and the entire Metalverse. I’d like to welcome Scott Snyder the writer and Greg Capullo the penciller. Returning to the Metalverse for 7 more issues! So let’s talk a little bit about issue #1 and #2, can you guys catch us up a little bit to where we are right now as #3 is about to come out.

Scott: Well first of all let me just say thank you to everyone out there. I’m glad you’re staying home and staying safe. Thank you for showing this book so much support, we’re really, really grateful. But above all thank you for supporting comics during this crazy time, I know we’re all worried about it but we’re all in it together. And this story is very much about that.

For us this is something we’ve been planning since I pitched the original Metal at NYCC back in 2016, this was always kind of pitched as the sequel if anyone liked the first one. The idea was to get bigger and crazier, and to say more too. The heroes find that everything has turned against them. It starts with The Batman Who Laughs having been given control of the earth and he’s pulled hundreds of evil Batmans out of the dark multiverse, so there’s like dinosaur evil Batman, and wizard evil Batman, and all kinds of manner of evil Bruce Waynes. And he’s ruling over the earth which he’s reconfigured to literally look like a big continent shaped like a bat. So the landmarks are still kind of all there: there’s still a batcave and Gotham City but it’s twisted all around. He’s ruling and he’s picked a few heroes to look over different areas.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Map


It beings with Wonder Woman who’s our big hero trying to figure out a way to fight back against him. So #1 really introduces you to the whole world and she and the remaining heroes that are under his thumb are trying to figure out a way to overthrow him and get the world back to what it was. What they learn is that they have to revisit DC’s great history of crisis’s, capture that energy, and almost use it to kind of restart everything once and for all.

In #1 I’m not sure how much I should spoil because I know #3’s about to come out and I don’t want to give away the ending of #1 and that kind of stuff. But, in #1 she fights back in a big way and takes out The Batman Who Laughs and at the end of #2 we see that she’s gathering heroes. Batman who’s sort of a rebel who’s leading an army of the dead because he has a Black Lantern ring, and they’re going to the prison of heroes which is in New Apokolips to save Superman and the rest of the DCU to help win back the universe.

So that’s kind of what it’s about and that’s the plot, but really what it’s about is that it’s a story that says that no matter how bad it gets, through thick and thin we’re all in this together in comics and we’ll find a way out of the darkest times.

Marie: So Greg what do you have to tell us about drawing #1 and #2? What was your favorite part?

Greg: All of it! Scott’s giving me all the red meat I can consume. I just gotta back up and say I really miss being at comic con’s in-person and seeing all the people face-to-face and hugging you, but apart from that my job man, if I didn’t read the news I wouldn’t even know there’s a pandemic going on. I never leave the house, I’m always drawing! But anyway, that is part of my life.

I’m immersed in this deep, crazy fantasy world that Scott has given me and that helps me deal with the news because I’m like, it doesn’t matter man, I’m visiting Castle-Bat. I have monster trucks that have batarang wheels, they talk to you because they have Batman’s essence in there, you got a burnt out Swamp Thing, you got Wonder Woman with a chainsaw, you got T-Rex Batman, I mean this stuff in mind blowing good times. This is Rock ‘n’ Roll! And our Stonehenge, for those of you that know Spinal Tap, is gonna be FULL SIZE! Not that the little shrunken down one that showed up by accident.

So anyway, you gotta tune in for this stuff because it’s bombastic, we’re lighting the place on fire, and WE’RE GONNA BURN IT TO THE GROUND! (Queue Capullo throwing up double Rock ‘n’ Roll hand gestures)

Missed me didn’t you?

To read about the fearsome Robin King and his horrifying plans for the heroes of the Justice League and JSA, head over to our dedicated Robin King piece.

Marie: Is this even over the top for you guys? At this point you got Robin King, Castle Bat, an army of Lobos. Even if you guys are ready for this because we’ve been living it every day, are the fans ready for this?

Greg: Listen, I just gotta tell you right now. I was excited when I got to draw Lobo at all, this is a spoiler for me. I did not know that an army of Lobos IS COMING MY WAY! I DON’T KNOW HOW TO COPE! I DON’T KNOW HOW TO COPE! Oh my god it’s so awesome! So listen, I’m reacting like that how do you think fans are going to react? My god an army of Lobos! I think I died and went to heaven. Oh my god I hope I don’t get coronavirus. Anyway, I’m just going to be fixating on army of Lobos for the rest of the day.

Scott: That’s just one small thing. The finale of Death Metal that comes with issues 6 and 7 is one of the other things I should talk about for a sec. It’s a tribute to DC’s history and what I really want is for everybody that’s ever been a fan, whether you’re picking this book up as very first comic, or that you’ve read for sixty, seventy, eighty years, I want you to feel rewarded for your dedication to these characters and what they stand for and to all the great stories that have come before. It builds on a lot of different DC events. From Crisis on Infinite Earths, to Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, but also Zero Hour, all kinds of things, Doomsday Clock plays a big role in it. We want it to feel connective and we want the message to resonate that way where every story matters and the whole history of the DCU matters. Everything’s in play to say “What do we stand for and what do we want to be going into 2021?”

For us it really is kind of a crescendo, as much as it’s bonkers and over the top, and speaks to our priorities and the way Greg, John, FCO, and I like love to work, it is also a love letter to the DCU and to you guys. A way of saying thank you for all the love that you’ve shown us, but also all the love you’ve shown these characters that mean so much to us as well. It’s a big event. It has big impact, big repercussions, all that stuff. I hope you guys enjoy the way it goes.

Greg: Can I shown the Flash’s running?

Scott: Yeah!

SDCC '20: Dark Nights: Death Metal panel recap

Apologies for the low image quality, the camera Greg was using never properly focused on the image.

Greg: This is us racing in to the year where we have a vaccine and the coronavirus is behind us so we can return to our fun. RUN! RUN! RUUUUN!

Marie: So Scott, you’re going to bring in James Tynion IV, Josh Williamson, and a whole lot of creators. Some of your favorite people that you’ve always wanted to work with into the Metalverse. You’re packing all this into the main series, what’s in the one-shots? What’s that do for the Metalverse?

Scott: We’re doing a bunch of specials and a lot of the supplementary material, these one-shots, and the tie-ins and stuff. You know we’re trying to do what we did with Metal, which I think one of the reasons people responded to it as well as they did to it, is that we wanted to make everything pretty essential. We didn’t want you to have to buy like eighty books to get the story. And yet everything is really modular, so if you buy the specials if will definitely enhance your experience. But if you don’t, you can read Metal right through just as Metal and it will be me, Greg, and the team. But they’re really fun and we wanted to make sure that you’re getting your moneys worth for each one.

The first two to come out after issue 2 are a guide to the Metalverse which gives you essentially a grand tour of the DCU as it stands now with a mysterious guide who’s a big surprise as well. We’ve got incredible creators lined up on that, Becky Cloonan, Chip Zdarsky, just up and down great line-up. We also have a guide to the evil Batmen, a Dark Knights guide. The Batman Who Laughs lives in a living evil Batman castle that changes and contains secret rooms. It has the history of him, Dinosaur Batman, an evil baby Batman, there’s a ton of fun people on that book as well, Marguerite Bennett, Jamal Igle, Garth Enis, so it’s super star studded. Daniel Warren Johnson does the evil Monster truck Batman transformers world so I’m very excited about that one too. Oh and Chris Priest, we’re thrilled that he’s doing a story in there.

For us it really is something that we wanted to be a celebration of talent throughout the DCU and try to bring in people that would make the roster shine in terms of our Dark Knights. So those are the first two and as the story goes, after issue three we’re going to do a bunch more in September. We haven’t officially announced those yet. Right? We haven’t? Have we?

Marie: Nooo.

Scott: We have more great talent coming then. Again, it’s been very fluid with how much we’re going to do, so it might even expand. We’re not sure. But ultimately what we’re trying to do is ensure that every piece of this book and this event is worth more than your money and feels packed with good story, good art, creators that excite you, all kinds of good stuff. We’re really proud of it and we feel like you guys rewarded us for trying to keep those priorities in Metal and with this one we want to make sure we’re really doubling down on that.

Marie: So bringing it back to the main series, to Death Metal itself, I don’t want to spoil things so I’m not sure how you’re going to answer this. But Greg, what was your response when Scott said will you draw a Doctor Manhattan getting a brain transplant?

Greg: At this point anything that comes from him surprises me, but it doesn’t surprise me. He’s proven himself to be quite insane, deranged, and a bit evil. So you know it’s just like “It’s more Scott giving me more crazy stuff!” Scott has a very deep toy box and he seems to really have his finger on the pulse of what fans really want. Sometimes I don’t know, especially I don’t know the DCU as well as Scott does. Then I will tease something and the fan reaction to what Scott has presented, you go “Wow he really knows how to push their buttons for what they’re going to want.” The Manhattan thing is definitely one of those buttons. I saw everyone freaking out about it as soon as I teased a little bit of an image. Scott is really fun to work with so my reaction is always the same.

The reason I got into comics and loved comics from when I was a little boy is that excitement that just makes you go “Wow!” and Scott always hands me scripts with stuff that’s going to make me go “Wow!” I’m going to blow his head up a little bit I’m sure, but that’s okay he deserves it sometimes. I’ve been doing this for a very long time now, longer than some of our fans have probably been alive. So for Scott to do that to me, and I’m kind of a little bit jaded after so many years of doing it, then I just know that if it’s exciting me who’s kind of got a callous, then fans are just going to light up with excitement when they see the stuff he’s handing me. It’s all a marvelous ride.

Scott: I would just say, knowing what your abilities are I wouldn’t think of so much of the crazy stuff if I didn’t get excited thinking about you drawing it. So I’m all, “You know what Greg would draw really well? A Joker head in a jar that’s on a robot suit or a giant monster bat motorcycle.”

Greg: Quick aside, Todd McFarlane and I have stayed close even though I don’t work on Spawn anymore, and every once in a while I’ll b*tch about Scott and what he’s doing to me as far as labor intensive stuff that he’s throwing at me. I’ll be like “LOOK AT THIS KID! LOOK AT WHAT HE’S DOING TO ME! HE’S TRYING TO KILL ME!” And Todd will go, well to be fair, if I had an artist like you I’d trying to do the same thing. I can’t even find an ally!

Marie: Thanks guys. Thanks Greg, thanks Scott, we’re going to wrap it up now.

Scott: Can I just say one quick thing? Can we throw it back to you Marie and say thank you to you? Honestly Marie has been our rock since the beginning. Holding so many different creators together, holding the story together, amazing advice, amazing friend. Thank you.

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