Justice League has gone full Death Metal with a new story arc called “Doom Metal”. Josh Williamson and Xermanico are telling a story with a fantasy angle as the heroes attempt to make their way across a strange and unfriendly world. The last issue featured part 1, and this week the story continues where Nightwing, Bobo, Hawkgirl, Cyborg, and Starfire have entered the Wastelands. This is another interesting alternate reality-style story that leans into the fantasy elements to deliver a Justice League story that’s a little different.
The repercussions of an Arkham Batman who created monsters are biting our heroes figuratively and literally at the start of the latest issue. In a way, this issue is similar to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s The Last Knight on Earth, in that it leans into some epic ideas and delivers on them. These characters encounter some crazy monsters, some fantastical threats, and must push on. Meanwhile, Martian Manhunter plays a part in the narrative that’s intriguing and it’s also nice to see Williamson carry over the relationship Martian Manhunter has with Hawkgirl from Snyder’s Justice League run.
With the stakes ever higher, this issue works to deliver interesting encounters and surprises. Much like the last issue, you need to suspend your disbelief and just go with it — the event itself hasn’t made it quite clear enough what is going on with disparate realities and such — knowing this is in-continuity even though it doesn’t seem to be.
The art by Xermanico and colors by Romulo Fajardo, Jr. lives up to the grand epic nature of the plot. There’s a valley of villains that is jaw-dropping good. Much of the narrative focuses on smaller character moments and Xermanico keeps your focus on the character’s emotions. There’s a clever switch of costumes that works well, effectively revealing something isn’t quite right. There are a few different interesting uses of layouts — specifically the gutters — that makes the narrative richer.
Nightwing fans can’t miss this issue. Williamson pays homage to the character’s journey, doesn’t forget about the gunshot he took to the head, and builds on some important DC Comics history. It’s in these scenes you can tell the fantasy elements and alternate reality stuff may not stick, but at least Nightwing’s experience will.
This is a good second part of the “Doom Metal” story arc. Justice League #54 is entirely different under the guise of Death Metal, but it’s an interesting twist if you give it a chance. It also houses a closer look at Nightwing that should interest fans of the character.