Snyder and Capullo take us deeper into the darkness with the Dark Batmen!
DARK NIGHTS METAL #3
Author: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need to Know:
A dark multiverse exists. So there are the 52 multiverses of the DC Universe but there are also the -52 multiverses of the Dark Universe. Barbatos has unified various Dark Batmen from those universes and found his way into Earth-0, the primary universe of DC. His Batmen so far have encountered Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern, and Aquaman (in a story we hadn’t seen yet as of this book’s release date). All but Cyborg were rescued by Dr. Fate. Batman is missing, his body used as the doorway for Barbatos. And Superman and Wonder Woman were taken down by Barbatos upon his entry into this world.
What You’ll Find Out:
Superman is living something of a nightmare, watching his peaceful existence on a farm in Kansas twisted into a massacre by Barbatos. Suddenly he wakes up, pulled away from a pillar by Wonder Woman, seven days after they were both defeated. Metropolis looks like a bad dream, the citizens all looking like Doomsday clones. Wonder Woman informs him that while Jon is safe, Lois was infected and is one of those things. So Superman, unable to think clearly, flies at top speed for Barbatos who is in Gotham City.
Barbatos, however, easily avoids Superman’s clumsy attacks and leaves it up to the Doomsday Batman to hammer Supes away. Superman lands in Gotham City under several inches of snow, a portion of the city obviously given over to Mr. Freeze. There, Superman is confronted by The One Who Laughs, a weird amalgam of the Joker and Batman, with several Joker Robins in chains. Then Doomsday Batman resumes his attack, pummeling Superman until the caped crusader is down. But before he can deliver the final blow, a glowing doorway in the shape of an ankh opens and the Flash steps out, grabs Superman, and rushes them both away.
Superman opens his eyes to see Kendra, sitting in a bar, with other Justice league members, all looking like they’d been through war. Nightwing is there and through a series of explanations, we find that the various Dark Batmen have taken over the world, massacring people in Gotham, Central City, Metropolis…it’s all around bad. Nightwing and the Titans tried to help but something has happened to the Teen Titans (it’s over in their own book).
As it’s explained, the Dark Nights (catchy, right?) are creating a circuit to fuel their power and the only thing anybody has found that can hurt them is known as Nth Metal. Unfortunately, there’s not much left, but Dr. Fate knows where some is. They can detect signals leading to four locations: the Center of the multiverse, deep space, beneath Atlantis, and the Dark dimension.
But Superman has another task. He believes that in his nightmares, Batman was trying to call out for help. Nightwing had those dreams as well, but he has no desire to mount a rescue operation. So for the moment, the allies are about to give up on the Dark dimension…until Deathstroke shows up just in time to nail one of those joker/robin guys to the wall. And so the heroes leave, just in time for The One Who Laughs to show up.
Superman takes Flash and Steel to the Fortress of Solitude to use the Anti-Monitor’s antenna. Steel connects himself to it and with Flash’s speed, Superman breaks the barrier into the Dark Dimension…
…Right into a trap. As it turns out, Batman (a captive of Barbatos) wasn’t crying for help…he was trying to warn Superman away. Because Superman was the key…the battery Barbatos needed.
What Just Happened?
Metal continues to delight and shock all at once. It’s like watching a horror movie and just as the hero of the story seems to have things well in hand and is ready to beat the big bad, the movie pulls the rug out from under him and things get worse. Capullo’s pencils are fantastic and sure there are a couple odd looking scenes (Superman flying away from Wonder Woman to get Barbatos seems odd to me), he draws the darkness and chaos incredibly well (must be a hold-over from his Spawn days).
The despair of the heroes is palpable. Nightwing’s sorrow at the loss of the Teen Titans is incredible (making me head out to pick up that book now). So, too, is his anger at Bruce. After all, while Bruce may not be directly responsible for this, he does still share responsibility. And so, just like someone who has lost a loved one and is powerless, Nightwing needs someone to blame. Considering that the horror comes from dark amalgamations of Batman and the Justice League, it’s not surprising who he blames.
If I had one complaint about this book, it would be that it references books that haven’t come out yet (the capture of Mera) and stories that are only tie-in’s that I normally wouldn’t get (the loss of the Teen Titans). But who cares. Anything that Dark Nights touches seem to be golden, so I guess I’ll just spend more money. Take it, DC! Take all my money!
Final Thoughts: With Metal #3, DC does what it does best once again. Sure, anybody who’s read comics long enough know that things will work out in the end. And especially with DC, it’s unlikely that any major characters will die. But Snyder still manages to convince the reader that all hope is lost. You forget that this isn’t some horrible alternate reality and believe that the heroes you know and love are in serious danger. It’s like watching a horror movie. It’s scary. And you believe that anybody can and will die.