You know, I am starting to remember why I found Snyder’s more cosmic stuff so frustrating with issues like this one.
Issue: Dark Nights: Death Metal #6, December 2020
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
The Plot: Whole lotta fightin’ goin’ on.
Commentary: I suppose I should start by being fair: it is very difficult to show really large scale superhero battles with hundreds if not thousands of combatants. About the only artist I can name who could pull it off was the late George Perez. He did it on both the original Crisis and on JLA/Avengers. Just lots and lots of very distinctive characters beating on each other. If you read comics for that sort of thing, it’s a thing of beauty.
It helps that writers Marv Wolfman and Kurt Busiek, respectively, knew how to balance the fights, flipping between the major figures (usually Superman and whoever was with him) and the smaller battles going on. Snyder sort of has that going for him, but Greg Capullo, capable artist that he is, is not George Perez.
So, basically there are three things going on in this issue:
- Wonder Woman is fighting her way to the World Forge with an army of Lobos.
- The Batman Who Laughs is beating Perpetua to death.
- The Batman Who Laughs’s army of Dark Multiverse things are taking on every superhuman on Earth Prime.
So, a whole lot of not much for 22 or so pages. The Wonder Woman one may have the best work going. Her Lobos are decimated by darkness or something, and she finds what she’s looking for, watched over by Darkseid and an infant Anti-Monitor, AKA the main villains for two of the previous Crisis-level events.
And the Batman Who Laughs plot at least means that Perpetua is maybe no longer an issue and the heroes only have to defeat the guy calling himself the Darkest Knight right.
So, what about the third plot? It’s supposed to be something where all that is, well, not the Dark Multiverse joins forces to stop the Darkest Knight’s army of…things. Like, that’s the best explanation I can have for them. They look like melted mud versions of established DC characters with Batman Who Laughs-style headbands on. And they go down fast but that’s only because they weren’t the real threat.
But here’s where I stopped and the whole issue lost me: Lois Lane is there.
Or better yet…when did she even get there? She’s by Clark’s side, and she was at no point until now in the main story. It’s like when I asked when Harley Quinn showed up. She was just there at some point and she still is.
So yeah, Lois is there to share her last few moments with Clark apparently.
Oh wait, and then a whole lot of regular people show up with whatever weapons they have (shortguns and axes mostly, but one guy brought a Labrador retriever from the looks of things). Now, having regular people show up to help symbolically is fine.
Just tell me where they came from.
Seriously, where did they come from?
Every glimpse offered of the Earth after Perpetua took over has made it out to be a barren wasteland. The Justice League storyline giving a tour of the place didn’t show any regular people left. Yes, the “last stories” anthology showed lots of people living their lives in Mark Waid’s actually quite good Superman story, but I haven’t seen hide nor hair of regular people in Snyder’s main story pretty much the entire time. And since there’s no sign of any sort of habitation anywhere near this battlefield, where did these people come from?
Since this was basically, like, two pages out of the entire issue, and near the end at that, the whole thing threw me out of what was then about average, but this is basically my whole issue with Snyder’s bigger stories writ large. It just seems like he has a whole lot of ideas, he tosses them out seemingly at random, and they may or may not make sense, but they largely don’t.
OK, I also don’t like how his villains seem unstoppable until they aren’t. But this is the point where the villains are no longer unstoppable because there’s only one issue left to the main story and some side issues going right now. They can’t stay unstoppable forever.