So, that was Dark Nights: Death Metal? Was I supposed to get something out that?
Issue: Dark Nights: Death Metal #7, January 2021
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo, Yanick Paquette, Bryan Hitch, and Jonathan Glapion
The Plot: Wonder Woman battles the Darkest Knight for the fate of, well, everything.
Commentary: Yeah, that was a Scott Snyder story alright.
Understand that, many times, I really like Snyder’s work. But for these big cosmic things, he has something of a frustrating pattern. He’ll establish some big threat, something that makes even the mightiest heroes routinely turn tail and run because it’s about all they can do, and then in the last issue and a half, whoever his main characters is (often Batman), will find some some power or truth and beat the bad guy…somehow. Honestly, I often feel like there’s something missing, and I don’t think it helps that Snyder, working in the generally hopeful DC Universe, often makes everyone feel like they need to turn on their heroes at the drop of a metaphorical hat. Why are the regular people in Snyder’s work always so pessimistic?
You know, until the end of this story where they apparently joined in on the fight and were invited to the massive party the heroes threw to celebrate their victory.
Why does Snyder end his big crossovers with the good guys having a big party with some heroes literally rocking out in a band? It was Damien Wayne and Jon Kent in Wayne Manor at the end of Dark Nights: Metal, and it’s Superman and the Justice League (with Wally West on drums) for this one. The big difference here is, for this party, literally everyone is invited because literally everyone was involved in the final battle.
I will say that the issue did somewhat work in a predictable and bland sort of way, but there were some nice moments. Yeah, I could never keep track of whether Crisis or Anti-Crisis Energy was what the good guys wanted to use, but Diana’s reasoning over why she wasn’t going to take a deal with the Darkest Knight to save herself and her friends and reality fit the character. Why anyone would cut a deal with the Batman Who Laughs, a man who seems incapable of keeping any deal with anyone, I don’t know, but it was the fact that Wonder Woman would still battle and defeat the Darkest Knight, even though the only way she had for her reality’s survival was to let the Darkest Knight go so he could take out the Hands, well, yeah. She’s too noble for that.
As for the battle itself, it had a couple good moments. Lex Luthor sacrificing himself to save Superman from a particularly nasty Dark Multiverse version of himself and Batman using the Black Lantern ring to revive his dead allies, including Alfred, to take down the Robin King was rather badass. Yeah, the Robin King (probably) goes down off-panel, but the alternative was to see a host of Black Lanterns beating on a child.
But in the end, it was like every big crossover. There’s the promise everything is going to be different. Plot elements that may or may not be continued in other books are present. There’s even an explicit statement not only did everyone who died over the course of Death Metal was brought back to life, so were some people who died beforehand (so, yeah, I guess Roy Harper is OK now after his passing in Heroes in Crisis) and…yeah, I think I am mostly glad I read this off DC Universe Infinite and didn’t pay for the individual issues or a trade or something. It had some potential, but the Batman Who Laughs was more of an annoying villain than anything else.
Which means DC will probably bring him back sometime within the next couple years.
Death Metal grade: C+