In the forward to Dark Nights: Metal, author Scott Snyder does an excellent job describing why event books are fun and necessary to the comics industry. For him, they are epic, crazy, and give fans something to argue about.

Unfortunately, they also don’t always make a lot of sense. Dark Nights: Metal is Snyder’s idea to, after his groundbreaking run on Batman with artist Greg Capullo, take Batman on an insane ride through the DC universe. This journey follows Batman and the Justice League as they discover a dark multiverse that is threatening to expand into our universe. Through Batman’s actions, this dark metal universe comes to pass and multiple evil versions of Batman take over the Earth. The Justice League struggles to regain Earth and Snyder pulls in Dream from the Sandman books, Hawkman and his Nth Metal, the Blackhawks, Challengers of the Unknown, the Oblivion Bar, and numerous other references to past DC events and characters to help the Justice League in their quest. Of course the heroes prevail in the end. Much like other event books, a new status quo and numerous new books result from the aftermath.

The story is complicated and dense, but the author clearly believes most readers will roll with it. There are all sorts of strange plot points. Why doesn’t Batman trust his friends? Why do we need to create an ages old mythology for Batman? What is Batmanium and was it necessary to name a metal after him? The tale is also laden with continuity. Snyder is having fun and including as many references to past characters and stories that he can, particularly past events like Final Crisis. Snyder knows that his story is insane and states it in the epic conclusion: “sometimes it’s the most insane, lunatic journeys that push us past what we thought was true and toward what is possible.” He also gets to indulge his love for music as there are many references to the Heavy Metal film from the ’70s and metal music (DC even worked on a soundtrack). This book is bonkers.

Capullo’s art is as good as ever. He is one of the great Batman artists and he gets to try his hand at just about every DC character active right now. He is detailed and can draw a great action scene. The coloring is good and it has to be to keep up with all the crazy images that Capullo throws at the reader. The lettering is distinct and effective with one significant caveat. The main villain’s speech is represented by a black speech bubble with red lettering. It is very hard to read especially when looking at the digital version. I was constantly enlarging the picture to read it.

Libraries with extensive superhero collections will want to have this book. The Justice League books that come after it all reference this story, so people will want to read it to understand the new status quo. Like most midlevel event books these days, it will have a shelf life of a couple years and people may stop reading by the time the next big event occurs. Much like the latest blockbuster movie, this will be something fans will want, even though it will be forgettable in the long run.

Dark Nights: Metal: Deluxe Edition
by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo
ISBN: 9781401277321
DC, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: T+ (16+)

  • Mark

    | He/Him Young Adult Librarian, Cedar Mill Library

    Reviewer

    Mark Richardson is the Young Adult Librarian at the Cedar Mill Library in Portland Oregon where he selects adult and young adult graphic novels, YA fiction & nonfiction, video games and adult music for the library. He also plans lots of activities for local teens ranging from art contests to teen trivia to Pokemon parties. If this sounds like a dream job, it is. Sometimes he has to pinch himself to make sure he really gets to do all of this. He’s been reading comics for as long as he can remember and has been known to present an occasional conference sessions on graphic novels at the Oregon Library Association’s annual conference.

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