It has felt like ages since Dark Nights: Death Metal #3 hit the stands, but alas, it has been only a month. Maybe it’s because Marvel’s event, Empyre, has been weekly, but I’ve been dying for more. The Dark Nights: Death Metal guide was fabulous at least, and now it’s time to dive into the Trinity Crisis one-shot story. Can Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman get an edge against The Batman Who Laughs now that he’s supercharged with Dr. Manhattan’s abilities? What of the Robin King? Find out in this issue.
This book is bookended by big talk about the Multiverse and the various Crisis events that have occurred in the DC Comics universe. This is key, as it is becoming clear Dark Nights: Death Metal is very much on a crash course with realigning and fixing the DC universe as Dan Didio’s 5G set out to do. If you were a fan of previous Crisis events this is must-read material since it’s quite clear a major change is in the works.
Outside of this element to the issue, this is a gorgeous looking book, but that’s expected coming from artist Francis Manapul, colorist Ian Herring, and letterer Tom Napolitano. There’s big double-page action, there’s a quieter close-up moment on characters, and there are big shocking twists. Manapul is very good at maximizing the blockbuster style innovated by Jack Kirby but in a modern way. As a horror event, this book looks the part, with gross-out bits and gnarly moments for characters to reveal their darker side.
As the story goes, this book reads like a dungeon raid after establishing the stakes. The group of characters, which consists of Swamp Thing, Harley Quinn, Batman, Superman, Jonah Hex, and Jarro, must infiltrate a stronghold, get past plenty of evil Batman characters, and take a bit of power for themselves in the larger fight. On that level it works, with confrontations, barriers to cross, and surprise attacks.
In that way, this issue reads like a video game level, for better or worse. Like a dungeon in a game, you must track what is going on as its happening which requires exposition and explanation at odd times. In hindsight, the approach works, but I found it difficult to care about the actual events transpiring on the page. There are certainly wins and losses for the heroes, but it’s also difficult to care about their confrontations since this book zooms out so far to look at the Multiverse and its Crises, losing sight of the journey each character is on. It’s cool to see Robin King show up, but he’s been scantly used, serving as an interesting horror idea never fleshed out enough to be interesting. Still, I had a blast with the mini-fights in the issue and the course of the story in general.
Dark Nights: Death Metal Trinity Crisis #1 leads directly into Dark Nights: Death Metal #4 and it’s a must-read if you want to keep up with the event. Like a dungeon raid in your favorite video game, this issue is a journey in itself, expertly drawn by Manapul and colored by Ian Herring. I can’t say I was hanging on the edge of my seat reading this, but it’s a good quest worth diving into.