REVIEW: Dark Nights Metal #6 (End of a Long Road)

With all hope lost, Batman and Superman missing in the Dark Universe, the Earth fallen completely into darkness, can Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl somehow find a way to bring back the light?  Maybe, but they first have to figure out a way through hordes of their worst nightmares.  And then they still have the Dark Knights to contend with!

cover

DARK NIGHTS METAL #6
Authors:  Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Artists:  Greg Capullo
Inkers:  Jonathan Glapion
Colors:  FCO Plascencia
Letters:  Steve Wands
Publisher:  DC Comics

What You Need to Know:

The entire world is sinking into darkness.  Barbatos has invaded the DC Universe.  Batman and Superman were seeking out the World Forge but found it guarded by a corrupted Hawkman.  To make matters worse, the Forge has gone dark.  It’s seemingly too late.

Meanwhile, the Justice League found Plastic Man, a source of Nth metal, but he’s comatose in the shape of an egg and the Dark Knights have found them.

Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl have entered Barbatos’ world in a last-ditch effort to stop the onslaught, only to find themselves facing a horde of nightmares.

What You’ll Find Out: 

Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl are fighting a losing battle.  They are making very little headway up the mountain to where Barbatos sits (atop the Anti-Monitor’s cosmic tuning fork).  The League is unconscious on the mountain, surrounded by Barbatos’ dark knights.  Wonder Woman slumps, but Kendra shouts to her to combine her bracelets (made of 8th metal) with the mace (made of 9th metal) to play a particular note.

Barbatos

And with that, the League wakes up.  Despite being disorientated, they’ve fought enough to know what to do and they spring into action.  It’s still not an easy battle, though.  Plastic Man sits as an egg as Mister Terrific pleads with him to turn into anything.  A dinosaur, bulldozer, or shark would all be useful at this point.  Plastic Man, awakened by Wonder Woman, just like the League, struggles.  But finally decides on an amalgamation of all of the shapes mentioned.  He springs into action and begins clearing the path of nightmares.

Plastic Man

It’s not enough, though.  He’s still too weak, but Plastic Man points to Barbatos’ portal as the source of more power.  If they can just go through that.  Wonder Woman and Kendra approach it and Wonder Woman dives in, using her lasso held by Hawkgirl to tether herself.  She finds herself completely surrounded by darkness, though.  At the bottom, she finds Carter Hall, Hawkman.  But Kendra calls out to him and he seems to recognize her.  Barbatos gloats over his corruption of the once noble soul.  But his gloating is interrupted.

Hawkman

The Ultima Thule, piloted by Cyborg, Raven and Flash has arrived, accompanied by Detective Chimp and a host of Batmen from alternate realities (roll call time:  Batmankoff from Superman Red Son, vampire Batman from Batman Red Rain, Batman from Dark Knight Rises, and Batman from Gotham by Gaslight).  As they distract Barbatos, Wonder Woman continues to search.  With Hawkman alive, she realizes where she must go to find Superman and Batman.  Kendra continues to try and reach Carter, but one of Barbatos’ dragons strikes her.  Even as the League begins to falter, the Forge begins to light.  Barbatos sees it as a chance to once again take away hope from the heroes.

Batman

Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman have other plans.  They emerge from the Forge, clad in silver armor, made of 10th metal.  They watch the Ultima Thule crash.  Those on board survive, but they are out of the fight.  Flash is able to relay to the Trinity that Barbatos sits on top a tuning fork which could be used to spread the 10th metal.  The three fight their way through Barbatos’ nightmares.  Batman finds Aquaman and Green Lantern, struggling against the Drowned and the Murder Machine.  Batman throws two glowing silver batarangs at them.  When struck, they are immediately clad in the same glowing silver armor and they are able to throw off the dark knights.

Justice League

With this surge, the League is able to move forward.  Doctor Fate and Green Arrow are able to free the Teen Titans as well as Steel.  Barbatos is enraged by this turn of events but even more so when Carter Hall finally turns against him.  He calls out for his first servant, the One Who Laughs, to enact their final plan.

In a cave, the One Who Laughs unwraps his prisoner:  the Over-Monitor.  He also has the brain of the Anti-Monitor.  The plan is to combine the two to destroy everything in the universe, leaving only Darkness.  But the One Who Laughs isn’t alone in the cave.  Batman is there, hidden in the shadows.  The One sends his crows after the Dark Knight, but he downs them all with gas pellets.  Finally, the One and Batman brawl, but ultimately, the One Who Laughs is everything Batman is but no morals.  And so he triumphs.

But Batman has a plan.  He always has a plan.  And his plan shoots the One Who Laughs in the back.  The Joker is there.  The real Joker.  The two team up against the One Who Laughs and with the Joker’s ruthlessness, the One Who Laughs is beaten, savagely.

Batman Joker

Up above, the League is mopping up with the Dark Knights.  Barbatos’ side is finally losing.  But Barbatos is not finished.  He stands over a fallen Carter Hall, Hawkman’s hammer in his hands.  As he prepares to deliver the final blow, Wonder Woman tosses Kendra’s blade to her and she plows through Barbatos.

Barbatos defeated

With Barbatos defeated, Batman makes his way to the surface with the Over-Monitor.  The world is still in darkness, having fallen too far to raise itself.  But the Over-Monitor explains the 10th metal may be the answer.  It is connected to everyone in the universe and the League is now infused with it.  Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman form a circle and they reach down, finding the Forge and stretching out to every man, woman, and child on Earth.  And amazingly, it works, raising the Earth from the darkness to its rightful place in the cosmos.

After, the League celebrates, but Batman has more to reveal.  The use of the 10th metal and the machinations of Barbatos (who is held captive by the Over-Monitor in the Dark Universe) has caused more than the original 52 universes to spring up.  In addition, changes have been made that have far-reaching repercussions.  Atlantis has risen to the surface, a book is missing from Dream’s library (and Dream himself is missing), a Dark Pantheon is mentioned.  Batman has already conferred with the gods and the Source Wall, the boundary of the known multiverse, has broken open.  Batman doesn’t know what lies ahead, but he is already planning.

And part of that plan is the Hall of Justice.

Hall of Justice

What Just Happened? 

So any time I read a book like this, I struggle to know where to start.  I mean, do I nitpick what I loved?  (which would pretty much be just a re-writing of the synopsis).  Find what I didn’t? (which would be hard).  There’s just so much that happened in this book that it’s overwhelming.

The road to Barbatos was indeed dark.  I must admit, DC stories are often some of the most innovative and dark stories I’ve read.  But it was long too.  After loving the first few issues and the one-shot issues, I found myself wanting this series to be over.  And then at the end of last issue, I was relieved.  One more issue to go.  (of course, we first got the Dark Knights Rising one-shot).  But a new problem arose.  How in the world were Snyder and Capullo going to wrap this all up?  There seemed to be too much.  To do it all in a single issue?  No way.

And yet…

Somehow they managed it.

They managed to take all of this crap that’s been going on, and finish it not with a confusing or half-assed story, but with an epic finale that’s as good an ending as I’ve seen in a long time.

The art was amazing, the pacing was outstanding, and I found myself unable to put this book down once I picked it up.  It was truly the perfect way to end this story.

The book is also filled with easter eggs for the die-hard fan.  Love the Anti-Monitor?  Well, there’s his tuning fork and brain.  Love Batman?  Well, we’ve got a cameo from arguably the most famous:  the Dark Knight.  Remember Blackest Night?  Well, the source wall has been broken now.  How about the Metal Men?  We get a glimpse of them too.  Any fans of the old Super Friends cartoon?  Well, Batman is working on the Hall of Justice.

It was as if Snyder was a fan himself!

We also get all sorts of teases about things to come for many major characters:  Atlantis, the Dark Pantheon, the Darkstars, Dream’s missing book…  There’s a lot of big things coming for DC.

This book is chock full of fantastic scenes.  Scenes that make you want to stand up and cheer.  The League in glowing armor.  The Dark Knights beaten.  THE JOKER BEATING THE CRAP OUT OF THE ONE WHO LAUGHS!  Seriously…it was all amazing, from cover to cover.

And most of all…this book provided what had (deliberately) been missing from the other books:  hope.  For the first time, I felt hope for our heroes.  And this time it wasn’t yanked away from us.  It was real.  And it was amazing.

trinity
This is the hope we’ve been waiting to see for months!

Rating: 10/10.

Final Thoughts:  Snyder and Capullo deliver an outstanding finish to one of the biggest events in recent memory.  It’s an amazing story and (for once) filled with hope for our heroes.


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