Dark Nights: Death Metal is the most boisterous event series ever put to the comics page and it’s back this week, chiming in with its fifth chapter. After Lobo took center stage last week, the event swings back to the Trinity as they face off against a superpowered Darkest Knight who is now near impossible to defeat.
This issue can be broken down into three parts: The first is the Darkest Knight’s escape and the fight with Castle Bat. The second is the return of Lex Luthor, and finally, the third is a heroic turn as the heroes prepare for the final battle. At a higher level, this book works thanks to the outlandish and downright wacky ideas actually being put to page. Castle Bat, a version of Batman made from Gotham itself, is incredibly silly, but also kinda cool if you let go a bit and have some fun. Which ultimately is the approach most readers will need to take to enjoy this series.
This issue digs a bit into explaining how characters could forgive, forget, and move on. If you’ve read Snyder’s Justice League, or the first Metal series, you’ll appreciate these moments, though they do feel a bit forced into the narrative. Things need to move along quickly, though, and it’s appreciated to see the creators at least try to make sense of these things. Because everything is so bombastic, a cutaway to Lex’s youth adds little, though it attempts to humanize the character before the big battle. Further, moments like Lobo showing up to save the day, or the Darkest Knight fighting Perpetua, add to the ridiculous and over-the-top nature of it all.
Speaking of Perpetua, she hasn’t gotten much play in this event and instead serves as the godlike entity who is evil for evil’s sake. For a colorful and event that’s just fine, but it’s an element that seems underdeveloped.
For fans of the Multiverse, there’s important stuff here that’ll likely play into DC Future State and the lore behind the many Crisis events. This is a series that has felt like it’s the backbone or scriptures from which stories spill from, more than the main event. You can see it with how many of the tie-ins are more character-focused, and by extension more interesting and fun.
The art by Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO Plascencia continues to make the fantastical over the top stuff look great as always. There are multiple pages with many characters in a single panel or full page spread which look gorgeous. The art never skimps on detail and Plascencia is doing some fantastic things with color effects to bring elements of this fantastical story to life.
This is a series where the main event is enjoyable if you let it do its thing. Dark Nights: Death Metal has acted as the main rudder directing all the highly enjoyable tie-in series so they could do the character work, and for that, this series works. I can’t say this series digs too deeply into character on a consistent basis, but it gets the job done. Dark Nights: Death Metal is like a good candy with bombastic flavor.
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