Dark Nights: Death Metal Deluxe Edition by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathon Glapion, and FCD Plascencia.
DC Black Label, HB, £19.55
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
With the DC Universe enveloped by the Dark Multiverse, the Justice League is at the mercy of the Batman Who Laughs. Wonder Woman is one of his servants, whereas Superman is a prisoner, tortured with kryptonite, and the true Batman is a fugitive. The world is a hellish landscape twisted in an image pleasing to Perpetua, the World Forger. Wally West holds the key to the heroes victory over Perpetua and the Batman Who Laughs, but he must keep running to prevent capture. If he stops, then he can be found, and all hope is lost. The Justice League must attack New Apokolips to save themselves and all the worlds in the multiverse.
Dark Nights: Death Metal is a sequel to Dark Nights: Metal. The Earth is a nightmare where failure to obey the Batman Who Laughs results in imprisonment or death. Most of the world’s heroes, and villains, have been rounded up and placed in a prison that Wonder Woman must guard on the orders of the Batman Who Laughs. Diana doesn’t like her role but understands people get fairer treatment with her in charge than someone else. All this changes when Wally West is captured, and Diana has the power to destroy Perpetua and The Batman Who Laughs in her hands.
As anyone who reads enough of my DC reviews will know, I love the Batfamily, so it won’t be a surprise to learn my favourite character was King Robin. He is a twisted version of the Robins, in bright green and red. He is truly menacing, a reflection of how Batman could warp the young men and women he takes under his wing. After all, teenagers brought up in a world of vigilante-ism aren’t necessarily the most well rounded. However, this is not enough to save Death Metal for me.
If you haven’t read Dark Nights: Metal, then don’t start with Death Metal. Even with Wally’s recap to refresh Diana’s memory, it was still confusing. Death Metal aims to be more than Metal which was already big in terms of plot and cast. With so many plot strand and points of view, it can be challenging to keep track of who is doing or saying what. It felt like an excuse to bring the entire DC Universe together even if they only say one line or remain as part of the background without any impact.
The story’s message seems split between Diana’s sacrifice as she transforms into a goddess to battle the Batman Who Laughs and Bruce Wayne demonstrating that the title of Batman is a state of mind rather than an individual.
Dark Nights: Death Metal was a difficult read, as I hadn’t read the first, and unfortunately, it was so inaccessible I’ve not been encouraged to go back and read Dark Nights: Metal.