Well, I am somehow not surprised and not too pleased all at the same time.
Issue: Dark Nights: Death Metal #4, October 2020,
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
The Plot: Wonder Woman’s plan to save the multiverse starts to come together with a victory…and then it doesn’t.
Commentary: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this issue to end with a resounding victory. This is not the final issue of the mini-series. There are still a number of tie-in spin-off issues left. As a reader, I should not expect a knock-out blow to the Batman Who Laughs or Perpetua just yet. Plus, I know by now how Scott Snyder’s plotting works. His heroes will be on the ropes the entire time until the last possible second, and then something will happen to allow the good guys to win even though they themselves have been thinking and talking like everything is hopeless. The bad guys will continually outclass the heroes in terms of power, planning, and a whole host of other factors even when it doesn’t make sense. Like, how did Lex Luthor get the majority of the human race to decide “doom” was a better option than “justice” in the first place? Were the people that depressed in the face of…whatever was happening?
Regardless, I still got to the end of this last issue where the Batman Who Laughs reveals that everything that had been going on was all something he had anticipated beforehand and set up to empower himself and not his many enemies that might try to, you know, fix the multiverse, and in part because this was a literal last page revelation, I was still kinda pissed about all that. Like, I get that Batman is supposed to be the ultimate planner, that the Batman Who Laughs has that ability without that pesky morality, and a host of other things, but still, to have the Batman Who Laughs literally reveal on the last page that everything that had happened so far, four main issues and however many side issues there are, come out and say that he had planned for all that all along…yeah, it was both expected given Snyder’s history and annoying at the same time.
Is this what it’s like for fans who don’t like Batman to see Batman fans going on about the guy all the time?
And the issue had been going so well! Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman each arrived in a different aspect of the Dark Mulitverse where a previous Crisis never ended, expecting to gather up some Crisis energy to feed to Wally West and the Mobius Chair to fix everything, only to find the Batman Who Laughs anticipated such an attack and sent the Anti-Monitor, Darkseid, and Superboy-Prime to each of these worlds, allowing them to prevail in a Crisis where they previously lost. These weren’t Dark Multiverse versions of these characters. They were the original real deals. And while Batman is no match for the Anti-Monitor even on a good day and Superman can’t stop an army of various versions of himself from dunking him into an Apokaliptan firepit, Wonder Woman can basically talk Superboy-Prime down with compassion and logic, pointing out that stasis isn’t possible, and he should embrace change and rejoin the forces of good.
Superboy-Prime was always more of a whiner in recent years anyway. Having someone use compassion and explain why he’s wrong, to the point where he would decide to do right again, and then having him rejoin the good guys to help the multiverse, that’s a good thing. And having Wonder Woman as the voice of reason makes it even better. I was very much on board for 99% of this issue.
Then came the last page. I was expecting something like that. I was not surprised. But I wasn’t happy about it either.