Launched in June, Dark Nights: Death Metal comes to a fitting end this week, before an entirely new two-month event in DC Future State kicks off. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s epic sequel series ran seven issues with 17 important tie-in stories to move the story along. It was big, it was bombastic, and it all ends this week with expectations high and everyone curious to see how lead character Wonder Woman can stop The Batman Who Laughs. No pressure.
Running 38 pages long, this extra-sized issue delivers on high stakes and lots of action as it continues the epic battle amongst hundreds of heroes and villains as we saw last week in The Last 52: War of the Multiverses. It’s all about Wonder Woman, now in super tall god-form, battling the Batman Who Laughs — who now goes by “The Darkest Knight” — for all the marbles. As Diana kicks and punches the Darkest Knight with Anti-Crisis Energy, he punches back with Crisis Energy, creating a kind of stalemate. The thing is, the heroes fighting below here are actually helping her gain strength. The crux of this issue is all about never giving up and having hope that you’ll prevail even when you know you’ll lose.
This story ends just as it began — peppered heavily with captions from Sgt. Rock, giving the series a bookended feel. In these captions, we gain clear insight into what is at stake, how Wonder Woman is feeling, and general guidance on how things are going. It’s an effective way to add a through-line to the narrative with cutaways to heroes fighting, dying, and Wonder Woman being bombarded with new twists on a fight between gods.
Capullo, along with Jonathan Glapion on inks and FCO Plascencia on colors, brings that edgy badassery we’ve come to expect from this team. This series has been great at showing many characters at once on the page and that continues here. There are impressive turns in the story that work thanks to the art, and there’s even some solid humor too. If you were ever a child plotting out huge battle scenes on paper or with action figures, it really is like the creative team took that concept and made it expertly drawn and professional. The art team also stretches things with good double-page layouts throughout. Capullo nails a key moment with Wonder Woman talking to a higher power, too. They are angelic, clean, and iconic.
It’s not all about Diana, though: Superman and Batman both get a chance to shine, turning the tide and showing they won’t ever quit. At one point, Batman may have lost his Black Lantern ring, but soon we find out he doesn’t keep it on a finger. So where do you keep it, Bruce?! Do I even want to know? Meanwhile, Superman gets a fitting end with a little help from one of his nemeses. All in all, the battle rages, and most of these fight scenes are enjoyable. Sure, there’s a fight here or there that’s background fodder at best, but who doesn’t like to see Jarro comment on his lack of a mouth? All in all, it’s an enjoyable main battle that leads to a banger of an ending.
That’s where this book really shines. It starts with a turn in a story involving Wonder Woman that is satisfying and gels well with the main point of never giving up. From there, Yanick Paquette takes over on art and we get to see where we go from here. Paquette is the perfect choice for these scenes as his style brings so much warmth and positivity — the superhero ideal. Nathan Fairbairn colors these scenes that are highly detailed and complicated. This book boldly goes from a double-page splash with 38 characters to an epic double page layout of a new satellite base. In these four pages, Paquette shows his impeccable range and clarity. The colors have a warm glow no matter the scene which aids in creating a sense of positivity and warmth.
For the last two pages, Bryan Hitch takes over with colors by Alex Sinclair. The artist change makes so much sense since Hitch’s detailed and sketchy style shines through for this character’s portrayal. It gives the book a final pulpy feel, capping off the issue in a way that seems to be celebrating DC Comics and the power of storytelling. There’s a turn in the story here that satisfyingly caps off a book about how this event is all about the love and joy of the superhero comics art form.
Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 is a satisfying conclusion to an incredibly large and sometimes unruly event. At its core is a message of hope, to never give up even if there is seemingly no way to win, and to carry on because we make each other stronger by doing so. That’s a message many of us will hold close to our hearts, after an incredibly difficult and scary 2020. Dark Nights: Death Metal is an incredible spectacle shining a light on the glory of the infinite possibilities of comics. This is an event that may just make you change the way you think about comics.
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