A GUIDE

The Dark Nights Death Metal main run took a short break during September, but there were tie-ins and one shots aplenty. If you did not feel like purchasing all four one shots, I hear ya. I was feeling squeamish over spending that $25 instead of the expected amount for a single issue, but I’ll live. Still, these one shots were somewhat necessary. Trinity was actually the book that brought me back into Death Metal because I’d left if for some time. Picked it up for the amazing cover art, stayed for the story. Reading that, however, I realized how integral a piece the issue was to the overarching plot. Not a standalone piece, and definitely necessary to the story. Also Greg Capullo’s Wonder Woman and Superman are fine as hell (many thanks, Mr. Capullo). Also, Kyle Rayner bites people. Maybe. He certainly makes the threat.

I won’t shut up about this.

As a side note, this is meant as a review and summary of the issues to bring y’all up to speed (and act as a refresher for myself). This is one big spoiler alert. Dark Nights Death Metal #4 hits shelves tomorrow, so let’s get ourselves all caught up, shall we?

Keeping things simple, we will go in chronological order with the releases. Up first is the Dark Nights Death Metal Guidebook.

The Dark Nights Death Metal Guidebook is exactly as it says, and is a very helpful issue in terms of what’s what in all corners of the multiverse. This book gives us a few different stories.

The Fall of Earth begins the book and serves as a nice recap for what’s been going on and how we got here (thanks, Lex). Earth’s heroes are gone, leaving the entire population at risk during Perpetua’s mad dash for power. This story sums up the horrors of what went down on Earth while the Justice League was away. Get ready to see all your faves fall victim to the Batmen of the Dark Multiverse.

When the Justice League finally returns, Earth’s already been ravaged by The Batman Who Laughs, and it’s people are prisoners… or worse. Soon, the Justice League finds themselves imprisoned or slaves to the new world created by The Batman Who Laughs. This first story, narrated to us by Lex Luthor (who helped cause this giant mess), is a prequel to the events currently taking place in the Justice League comics. If you’d like to know more about that, JL is on my pull list and ends up as a regular comic review on the Talkative Tuesdays posts. In short, Justice League has a Doom Metal tie-in going on right now that will wrap up on issue 58. Lex Luthor has joined up with Nightwing, Starfire, Cyborg, Hawkgirl, and Detective Chimp. Currently, they’re trying to cross a valley full of dangerous Starros. Moving on…

Harley Quinn in the Queen of the Desert.

While most of the villains were locked up in some crazed new Hell with Wonder Woman as their ward… Harley Quinn found herself elsewhere. Harley’s always been a badass broad, and in this story she is no different. Harley’s been traveling some desert wastelands in the hope of finding the rest of the Suicide Squad, all while battling crazy mutant monsters! Rather quickly, Harley finds Boomerang… But he’s been beefed up and is just not there mentally. Luckily for her, a giant hyena comes to her aid and rips Boomerang’s head right off. Harley’s smitten and she rides off into the sunset. Freakin’ fantastic.

The Umibozu.

I don’t read Aquaman. I know next to nothing about Aquaman. He’s ripped, he talks to fish, and he is the King of Atlantis. Well, Snyder & Co. have decided to shine some light down on Arthur and this next story is all about him! The opener is rather spooky, with a cryptid figure looming over dark waters. The Umibozu, so rarely seen that even other fearsome creatures deem it the stuff of legends, a myth. But that isn’t so and Arthur has locked eyes with it.

Previously, Bathomet forced Arthur to surrender his kingdom if he wanted to keep the seas alive, but he can no longer sit by while Atlantis suffers. He has sought out the Umibozu with the hopes he can reason with it, ask for help. It is a creature of the sea, and regardless of it’s landing on an alignment char, the umibozu should at least want to protect it’s haunt. Unfortunately for Arthur, on his way to investigate he is found by Bathomet and forced to destroy the cryptid creature in the waters above.

This story ends on a solemn note, with Arthur feeling the emotional despair of having killed a creature of the sea. It was either that or Bathomet boiled the sea, killing everything within.

Seeds of Hope.

The last three stories have been pretty devastating for the heroes of DC, and there is no exception to that fact when it comes to the villains. The third story tells the tale of Poison Ivy’s escape to freedom. On her way up from the prison pit, Ivy fights off Wonder Woman, hoping to make her way to the green above. Diana, being the kind soul she is, tries her best to warn Ivy, that there is no green waiting for her on the earth above. Even with the Lasso of Truth, Ivy is not trusting (can you blame her) and continues on her path.

The sight of the new world created by The Batman Who Laughs breaks Ivy’s heart. There is no vegetation. The air is hot, dry. The climate completely unforgiving to any growth. Heartbroken, Ivy allows Diana to lead her back down to her cell… But it doesn’t end there. This story ends on a high note for Ivy, who is gifted a small bit of green by Diana. Something she can nurture and love, something to keep safe for when our heroes finally reclaim the Multiverse and right what’s gone wrong.

Dragonlance.

The last tale in the Death Metal Guidebook, and we’ve got Batman and Jonah Hex. Hex has a gun to Batman’s head, but Bruce is insistent on a team up. Batman has fled Gotham but Joker’s dragon is hot on his tail; they both need to escape. After putting down a wild Joker-dragon hybrid monster, the pair ride off on Batman’s motorcycle and head off to regroup.

Necessary or Nah? I’d recommend this issue if you’re in need of a recap, just jumping in, or want to know what everyone else has been up to! Personally, I’m glad I picked this one up!

DARK NIGHTS DEATH METAL TRINITY CRISIS

Absolutely fantastic cover, how could I see this sitting on the shelf and not grab it? My Local Comic Shop owner definitely laughed a little. I swore up and down I would not get it, that I would not add anything more to my pull list…. But I have a soft spot for Francis Manapul’s art and BAM! this was in my hands before I knew what was happening.

Why have one crisis when you can have THREE? I don’t know, but thanks DC. Superman’s been freed from lock up and everyone is itching for a fight. Perpetua’s been wreaking havoc all across the Multiverse and she isn’t about to stop anytime soon. The Trinity has made a plan to stop her, and that piece of the plot puzzle is put snugly into place during Trinity Crisis.

Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman set forth, planning to take away Perpetua’s shot at gathering crisis energy… There’s a drawback though. This golden trio ends up separated and in their own crisis moments. Throughout comic history, DC has seen many reality shattering events, and it has taken whole teams to come together to right the world once more. But can each of these characters handle the battle all on their own? While I’m sure they can, we have to wait to find out because Synder left us on a huge cliff hanger at the end of this book! How cruel!

Necessary or Nah? If you’re still on the fence about purchasing this issue for yourself, might I recommend you snag a copy for the art alone? Francis Manapul has a way with pencils and everything just looks oh so smooth. This issue is undoubtedly a huge set up for what’s to come in the remaining issues. You should know what went down here… On another note, if you’re a Batman Beyond fan (or just enjoy collecting cool covers), Manapul has worked on some fantastic variant covers for that series. Seriously, check ’em out, you won’t be disappointed.

DARK NIGHTS DEATH METAL SPEED METAL

Wally is back but he’s on the run from The Batman Who Laughs in this massive one shot issue! Picking up immediately where Dark Nights Death Metal #3 left off, The Flashes have banded together and are racing through the Speed Force.

Wally’s burning blue with Anti-Crisis energy, but it’s a race against time for him to outrun The Batman Who Laughs. Fortunately, four heads seem better than one and the group is able to come up with a plan. Wally temporarily stops time, and the four decide to head face first into the hoard they’d been fleeing from. Why not face your problems head on? Jay is the first to go down, but he remains behind to help keep the hoard of Dark Flashes from reaching Wally. While the others fight the masses, Wally continues on with his quest for the Mobius Chair. The Batman Who Laughs, unable to sit in the chair, is hoping that once he conquers and steals Wally’s energy, he will be able to unlock all the secrets that the multiverse has to offer. Just when things are looking their worst, Barry sacrifices his own Speed Force energy, giving Wally the boost he needs to get to the finish line.

The pages change to white, with every one of the Flash Family members gathered to talk and congratulate Wally, as well as to figure out their next steps forward. They can’t remain hidden forever, The Batman Who Laughs always finds his mark. And so, this book leaves off with Wally, Barry, Jay, and Kid Flash dragging the Mobius Chair further still from the Darkest Knight and towards Wonder Woman.

Necessary or Nah? This was a take it or leave it issue for me. If you love the Flash Fam, and especially if you are a fan of Wally West, you’ll want to add this to your long box collection. However, it did put into perspective some of what’s been going on with Barry and Wally, and with Wally bouncing all over the DCU, that was a nice little feature. As someone unfamiliar and (admittedly) still catching up on The Flash, my opinion should not be too heavily weighted in your decision about whether or not to snag yourself a copy! Seems like a bit of a redemption is on the books for Wally!

DARK NIGHTS DEATH METAL MULTIVERSE’S END

Ready for an issue jam packed with too many characters to count? Me neither. Something like this always warrants a very necessary re-read on my part, and this was no exception. This issue is all about a final stand against Perpetua, who has managed to condense all life in the Multiverse. Six Earths remain and they’re all terrible, but that’s what Perpetua needs to keep her life going.

John Stewart has been captured by Owlman, but overtime is able to convince him to join the good guys. Not too terribly difficult, seeing as how Owlman has figured out that if Perpetua has her way, then everyone else will be having a bad time too, even those who sided with her in the beginning. While John and Owlman are going back and forth, many other heroes are battling Perpetua’s monsters along with some of the most vile villains to ever enter the DC Universe.

With so many action scenes, it was hilarious to see just how yolked everyone was in this issue. Seriously, none of them skipped the gym. Guy, Captain Carrot, and yet another Flash teamed up to both fight baddies and move civilians off world. Meanwhile, some of the other Green Lanterns of Earth are fighting against the undead, paving the way to Perpetua’s well placed tuning forks. These structures were placed on the worst Earth’s to seep up the power Perpetua needs.

This issue contains a lot of talk on the Source Wall, which was where Perpetua had been locked away for so long. John also goes over (with Owlman) the events that brought Perpetua’s escape — basically her want to live as the Multiverse formed around her.

Owlman is arguably one of the real heroes this issue, at the end of the book he betrays his team and starts helping out the good guys in the field. He knows that no matter what happens, as long as the multiverse survives there will always be an Owlman and that is plenty for him. He jumped into the fight just in the nick of time, as many of our heroes were looking a little worse for wear when the rainbow batmen joined for Perpetua. Oh, and DC made a particularly dark joke at the expense of one Kyle Rayner.

See Green Lantern (1990) #54 for the reference. Kyle found his girlfriend dead in a fridge.

Kyle had a few moments in this issue, so any big Kyle fans were probably thrilled. Anyway, they were able to overcome this evil baby Batman and his group of rainbow Batmen, get people to safety, and save the day. While the others move off world and into the Bleed, Owlman takes up the rest of the mission on his own, destroying the tower and taking some of Perpetua’s power! This is the final one shot before we get back into things with Dark Nights Death Metal #4, on shelves tomorrow!

Necessary or Nah? There was a lot to love about this issue, mostly in terms of art and Tynion IV’s writing of witty banter. This story was pretty dialogue heavy, and also acted as a nice reminder to what’s been going on with Perpetua, and what her goals are with the Multiverse. Multiverse’s End was more of a feel good story, with exciting action, a few jokes, and a nice neat wrap up at the end where our heroes saved the day.

That’s It!

Thanks for joining on this re-read and review of September’s one shots. Now that this refresher is over, I’m ready to dive back in with tomorrow’s book!

Passionate about many things, blogging about comics.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store