One by one, the multiverses fall to Perpetua's vile war machine... and all that stands in their way is a motley crew of survivors from the various worlds, many of which have now been destroyed.
But one man has a plan... John Stewart. The problem is, he's Owlman's prisoner on Earth-3!
Or is that part of his plan...?
Writer James Tynion IV is keenly aware that DC’s multiverse has fallen and risen multiple times. And even if he weren’t, the fluctuating nature of the DCU is at the very heart of Scott Snyder’s Death Metal extravaganza. That’s nowhere more apparent than in Multiverse’s End where the likes of Captain Carrot, President Superman, and Earth-22’s Kid Flash fight together with the Green Lantern Corps to sabotage Perpetua’s anti-crisis tuning forks (echoes of the original Crisis, natch). Doing so will allegedly foil her entire plan. Of course, she has an army of Dark Multiversal Batmen at her beck and call, so the odds are stacked against our heroes.
Multiverse-caliber stakes are nothing new for DC, which makes Multiverse’s End feel a bit hollow, though. Couple that with a good portion of the issue being a recap of events that got us to this point (which is somewhat welcome, given the convoluted twists and turns of affairs that got us to this point), and this comic might have felt lackluster and needless in a lesser writer’s hands. But Tynion knows how to wring real pathos and humanity out of the events, focusing on little, personal exchanges between the characters that gives the story the humanity needed to ground it despite itself. (Minor spoiler: Captain Carrot will bring tears to even the most jaded reader’s eyes.)
Tynion’s focus on strong characterization extends to Owlman, too, who may just wind up stealing the show. Owlman is furious that all these other evil Batmen are getting to steal the show and hot the spotlight, when he’s the original “dark Batman.” That sly bit of meta-commentary is great, and creates possibly the most perfect showdown to come out of Death Metal yet. You won’t look at flying babies the same ever again!
The art, though, is a bit… off. Juan Gedeon is undoubtedly a good artist, but his choices at various points throughout the story trend toward weirdly exaggerated poses that go against the intended grain. Owlman especially comes down with this misplaced case of what I’ll charitably call ’90s Posing. With ’90s Posing, characters strike the most comedically exaggerated poses for what’s supposed to be dramatic effect, but wind up just looking silly instead. (See also the following subcategory of ’90s Posing: Women With Broken Backs.) But Gedeon doesn’t necessarily do this throughout, and manages to work hand-in-hand with Tynion in the book’s more heartfelt moments (again: Captain Carrot). So, I’m declaring the art a wash: good when it is, weirdly out-of-character when it isn’t.
Dark Nights: Death Metal - Multiverse's End #1 is a bit of a mixed bag, but one that definitely has its moments of true emotional heft.
Dark Nights: Death Metal – Multiverse’s End #1: Monolith of Inhumanity
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 6/106/10
Art - 6/106/10
Color - 7.5/107.5/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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