The Tales from the Dark Multiverse is a clever spin on an evil What If? style one-shot series. It appears this series comes to an end this week with an epic new take on Dark Nights Metal. It’s also a bold idea to put an evil spin on an event that was already an evil spin on DC Comics’ universe! Scott Snyder, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelly write the story with penciler Karl Mostert and color artist Romulo Fajardo Jr. to tell a tale about how things could have ended if the bad guys won.
This issue opens and closes on Tempus Fuginaut who is a god-like watcher who narrates and sets up each of the Tales from the Dark Multiverse stories. In the opening, which you can read here, Tempus details how the Justice League and every hero from every Earth lost. The only one who remains is the last Monitor who can transverse the multiverse as he wishes but has found himself running to stay alive. After it is revealed what the world has come to and who the Monitor is the story delves into the remaining Justice League members who now scour the Earth and what has happened to any of the remaining good guys.
To say this book is clever is an understatement. Barbatos and his Dark Knights may have won, but the frightening visages of what stands as the supervillains of this dark future are quite something. There’s one that seems a bit of a gimme, but it still looks cool. The various heroes who still stand are clever twists on their characters, too. I won’t spoil who they are although the cover gives them away a bit. There’s also a lot here with a ton of story, backstory, and epic moments to fill out a 5 issue event series in itself. That’s one of the joys of these Tales from the Dark Multiverse stories as they usually offer a lot of content and plot in one sitting.
All of these ideas come together thanks to solid plotting and scripting by Lanzing and Kelly. Characters speak as they should, they reflect on their peers as they should, and the story throws enough curveballs to keep everyone on their toes.
What makes this book come alive is Mostert’s art, which is inked by Trevor Scott and Norm Rapmund. The design of these giant creatures that roam the earth to the Monitor and the remaining heroes’ faces are impressively done. Each one is uniquely designed and interesting from its powerset to its personality. If you dig monsters, you’ll love what Mostert’s done with these creatures. Each one is formidable too which is highlighted by great battle scenes. Mostert has a very clean but detailed style reminiscent of Frank Quitely but with a modern superhero twist.
Colors by Fajardo Jr. are impressive, especially with a full-page splash of what the world now looks like. It’s like a nightmare out of Lord of the Rings and Fajardo Jr. captures the barren landscape in interesting reds, oranges, and purples. The color adds depth here and also throughout the book in interesting ways. The lighting on the giant monsters is quite something too.
Andworld Design goes a step further with the lettering too with cool purple text for the final form of Barbatos and handwritten-looking cursive for Monitor’s notes on what has come to be. Tempus has his bold stylized captions which highlight yet another style in the book.
This book also doesn’t forget its metal roots which are highlighted by a weapon one of the heroes uses to fight off beasts in this dark future. The strumming of this epic ax is quite cool, which comes full circle later on with a clever idea involving Kryptonite. The ending suits the series and its dark spin on the universe too although it did make me wonder if the Monitor’s true nature would get so dark. Considering all is lost though what else could the Monitor do but enact a bit of justice?
This is an exciting twist on the Dark Nights Metal concept taking the idea of a total loss by its heroes to a cataclysmic and entertaining end. A must-read for Dark Nights Metal fans, but also those who want a lot of content and great art in one single issue. Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Dark Nights Metal extends the greatness of the original series and puts a monstrous and epic turn on a new darker ending.