January 28, 2023

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

The Flashes are on the run from the Batman Who Laughs.

One comment on the title of this issue:  that’s a lot of metal.

Issue:  Dark Nights: Death Metal Speed Metal #1, September 2020

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artists:  Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira

The Plot:  The Batman Who Laughs is after Wally West, embodiment of the last of the crisis energy.  It looks like a lot of Flashes are running with him to keep away from the Darkest Knight.

Commentary:  I said of the previous one-shot, the one focusing on the Trinity breaking into Castle Bat and slipping into the Dark Multiverse to collect some energy, that it seemed like something that probably should have just been the next issue in the main Dark Night: Death Metal story.  That said, Speed Metal actually does feel like a side quest that actually fits well outside the main story and more or less justifies its existence.

It is also, like a lot of Death Metal has been, ironically hopeful despite the title of the story.  In fact, that seems remarkable as the Batman Who Laughs, now calling himself the Darkest Knight, asks why it is that a Flash dies in every crisis, but at least by the time I got to the end of this issue, none of the Flashes die.

Yeah, this is  Flash special.  Wally has the leftover powers of Dr. Manhattan.  He needs to keep those away from the Batman Who Laughs.  He has Barry and Jay by his side initially, and then Wallace West joins them.  Williamson wrote a lot of Flash comics before this, so he has a good grasp on the different speedsters.  However, the big moment may be when the issue ends without a single Speedster death.  There are moments, when the Batman Who Laughs summons an army of Black Flashes, where it looks like Jay or Wallace or even Barry is doomed, but not only does Wally, here acting as the main hero and defying Barry a little (Barry relents when he realizes he’s not the expert here), that not only do these four speedsters manage to survive and achieve their goal, but so did all the other speedsters and their families.

It’s just a pure, happy moment when the Flashes manage to find the likes of Impulse, Max Mercury, and even Wally’s children, and they get that boost to keep going and continue the fight.

So, really, this was another largely hopeful issue where the good guys were actually, if not winning, then at least finding the will and power to keep going.

I’m sure that’ll be dashed by Snyder’s writing on the main series.

Grade:  B+

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