April 18, 2024

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Noteworthy Issues: Dark Nights: Death Metal Trinity Crisis #1 (September, 2020)

Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman go on a mission to the Dark Multiverse to defeat Perpetua.

So, I am sure I have said this about an individual comic book issue before and will again before I stop writing these but…why does this issue exist the way it does?

Issue:  Dark Nights: Death Metal Trinity Crisis #1, September 2020

Writer:  Scott Snyder

Artist:  Francis Manapul

The Plot:  Wonder Woman assembles a team to break into Castle Bat, get to the Dark Multiverse, and collect some Crisis Energy to defeat Perpetua.  What can go wrong?

Commentary:  Seriously, why does this issue exist?  By that I mean not there’s nothing worth reading to advance the overall plot, but more like I don’t get why this is a separate one-shot and not part of the main series.  It picks up where the last issue of Death Metal more or less left off with Wonder Woman assembling and dispatching teams to fulfill various tasks, and then it ends with a note that the story will continue in the next issue of Death Metal.  There doesn’t seem to be a reason for it to be a special one-shot.  I don’t think anyone would have gotten too upset if Death Metal was one issue longer.  This isn’t a side story with no importance to the main plot.  This is about the Trinity going off to secure something from the Dark Multiverse in order to defeat Perpetua once and for all.

Regardless, this single issue exists, so here’s the skinny:  Wonder Woman knows they need to get some Crisis Energy to feed to the Dr. Manhattan-powered Wally West in order to defeat Perpetua.  She and Batman with their sidekicks managed to rescue the world’s heroes, including Superman.  Diana then dispatched different heroes on different tasks and had the rest stay behind and wait for her signal to attack Perpetua and the Batman Who Laughs.  She herself knows that to get Crisis Energy: she and two others will need to travel into the Dark Multiverse and just collect some in universes where the three big Crises never ended, those being the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Infinite Crisis, and the Final Crisis.

Final Crisis?  That name hasn’t aged well…

To that end, Diana’s team is herself, Batman, and Superman.  Sure, Superman is infused with anti-life energy and isn’t what he used to be, and Batman himself has some kind of secret, but this is the Trinity, so that’s a good start.  She also recruits the strongest psychic in the universe in the form of baby-Starro, AKA Jarro, and a sidekick for each of the Trinity in the form of Harley Quinn, Swamp Thing, and the Black Lantern Jonah Hex.

No, the story still not say when or how Harley joined up with the heroes.  She’s still just there.

To get to the Dark Multiverse, the team will need to break into Castle Bat, the Batman Who Laughs’s headquarters.  Jarro needs to shield the group from mind readers, the Trinity need to each go into a different reality, and the others need to stand guard.  When the time is right, Jarro will use the others to act as a beacon to pull the Trinity back.

OK, this is a good plan, but it can’t work without some at least minor twist.  And even before the end of the issue, I had thought of one already.  See, Diana’s plan requires the heroes to think of how the different Crises ended, so they could absorb the energy of the victory and then get out as soon as that happened.  Small problem:  this is the Dark Multiverse.  Won’t it go wrong anyway?

I get that the Dark Multiverse supposedly responds to thoughts and dreams, especially the bad ones, but why does Diana think that just thinking happy thoughts will lead to a reality where what she needs will work itself out in a place specifically called the Dark Multiverse.  It’s the place where everything went wrong.  These are broken worlds that, according to Snyder’s own cosmology, were supposed to be destroyed after creation due to their inherent faultiness.  Instead, well, they weren’t.  But that’s a different Dark Nights story.

Granted, there are also some otherworldly Batmen on display, and the return of the Robin King.  Why do I suspect I am really going to come to hate that twerp before this series is over?

Regardless, the obstacles that went up were still effective and expected.  Superman and Batman are not what they normally are, and it’s not explained in the case of the latter just yet, but the issue worked and advanced the story.  I just don’t get why it was a special issue, and, for that matter, why Diana missed an obvious problem with her plan.

Grade:  A-