Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have been teasing us with Dark Nights: Metal for months, and today, the issue finally arrives.
But is it good?
Short answer – HELL YES!
DARK NIGHTS: METAL #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Letter: Steve Wants
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Editors: Eddie Berganza and Rebecca Taylor
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Previously in Dark Nights: Metal: While it is great to have a working knowledge of everything that happened in the DCU following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, you will benefit from reading Dark Days: The Casting and Dark Days: The Forge, which set up a number of events discussed in this book including Hawkman’s obsession with Nth metal, and Batman’s obsession for finding out what makes the universes tick (also, why he has Joker locked up in the Batcave).
YOU CAN’T KILL THE METAL!
What drives you? Is it the satisfaction you’ll have when you complete a task? Is it beating your nemesis? Is it the quest for knowledge? I think it is the later that is driving Batman in Dark Nights: Metal. His quest to unlock the mysteries of the Multiverse drives the hero to the point where nothing will stop him from achieving his goal – even if that means opening a doorway to the Dark Multiverse and allowing horrors in. Here, Batman has a lot in common with Oppenheimer and the rest of the Manhattan Project scientists – they could unlock the power of the atom… or they could burn the entire atmosphere, ending all life on Earth. They just didn’t know until they detonated the first bomb.
In my interactions with Spoilerites and others on the Internet, first reactions to this series were met with a lot of “meh” and “Oh, great. Another dark and gritty Batman story… pass.”
Here’s the thing, Dark Nights: Metal is dark. It begins to explore some dark ideas of the quest for knowledge and the subsequent consequences. Then, just when you think it is going one way, The Justice League jump into a bunch of mechs, transform into a giant robot and kick Mongul’s butt!
It’s the swerve, the mystery, and the fun – YES, THE FUN – that Scott Snyder has infused into this tale that makes Dark Nights: Metal #1 work. From Snyder’s point of view, everything that has happened in the DCU has happened. This book isn’t trying to rewrite the history of the DCU, but it is taking all of the toys out of the toy box and having a grand adventure with them. This is G.I. Joe hanging out with Barbie and Luke Skywalker, while Optimus Prime and the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers beat the Ming the Merciless into submission.
THE METAL WILL LIVE ON
I’ve also had the pleasure of talking to a number of casual fans this week, who commented how much they love the art of Greg Capullo. With the art we see in Dark Nights: Metal #1, I completely agree. This is Capullo at the top of his game, with every panel and page crafted with excitement and joy. Yes, Batman rides a raptor, but not the Jurassic Park raptors that pop culture has embraced, rather a fully feathered raptor that has no problem escorting Batman away when trouble arrises.
I’ve often complained how much I hate panels that are nothing but a character against a gradient backdrop, and fortunately, there are only a few panels where this happens. This issue is packed with detail. Whether it is a cluttered desk on Blackhawk Island, or a photograph on the wall that includes trees and blades of grass in detail, readers can revisit this issue again and again and discover new and interesting things.
While there are in your face nods to the DCU throughout the book, there are not that many truly hidden Easter Eggs that I could find. Still, spending time marveling at Capullo’s take on Doc Magnus and the Metal Men, or the ominous coming of the Batmen of the Dark Multiverse, it is worth the time (and money) spent on this issue.
BOTTOM LINE: YOU CAN’T KILL THE METAL
When a comic book works, it works so well that subsequent readings reveal much more depth than expected. Dark Nights: Metal #1 is that kind of book. Having read the issue multiple times, this feels like we are getting a DC’s 52 event without all the pomp, circumstance, and publicity that 52 delivered. A really good story should build on what came before, offer up a twist and a hook to keep readers coming back, and add great art and colors to tie it all together. Dark Nights: Metal #1 is that kind of book. I’m hooked, and I think fans of the DCU will be, too.
With all the trouble going on in comics right now, DC took a big risk on the whole Metal concept from Snyder and Capullo. While this series won’t be for everyone, Dark Nights: Metal #1 is the most fun I’ve had reading comics in a long, long time.
Dark Nights: Metal #1 is a must buy book.