Here’s Sgt Rock talking about turds.
That’s cool and funny, apparently.
Here’s The Batman Who Laughs.
Here’s a world ruled by said Joker/Bruce Wayne mix, full of his dark Bat-Knights and Groblins and an emaciated Swamp Thing and a defiant Wonder Woman and a mysterious prisoner in robes…
… hey, those robes aren’t purple! Is this even a DC comic?
Apparently so, it says so in the comic itself, firmly putting the ‘meta’ into meta-humans. I suppose that’s where Sgt Rock comes in too, as he’s addressing the readers directly. Which is great, that’s what’s been missing from this really terrific year, one of my childhood heroes literally talking crap.
While I never made it to the end of the original Dark Nights: Metal series, I did stick with writer Scott Snyder’s long – oh so very, very long – Justice League run before it stopped. The 39-issue serial didn’t actually end, unless you call the heroes failing miserably and running through a magic door an ending; I don’t, the 87 or so story strands simply moved out of that series and into this one, as Diana notes.
So there you go, the final issue of Snyder’s Justice League faded out on a moment of hope, as the heroes went to a place where all stories would matter, and they’d fight to make things better, and hopefully beat Maleficent wannabe Perpetua. But as we rejoin the narrative, the heroes have already been beaten, off-screen. As happened so many times in Justice League, it’s a case of tell, don’t show, the story being interested in big ideas but not the connective tissue that might make them work.
Ah yes, that prisoner? It’s Wally West, because he’s not been miserable enough lately. He explains all to Diana.
Connective energy. Crisis energy. Perpetua. OK, got it, that’s clear as mud. And I think this is where I jump off the Death Metal bandwagon or monster truck or whatever. Because it’s more of the same, as far as I can see – more creepy Batman cosplay, more villains winning because the story demands it, more heroes getting EXTREEEEEEME. Knuckle dusters and chainsaws and scythes, oh my.
I’m with Wally. I’m so tired of the misery, the madness, the Dark Multiverse. Precisely one good thing happens this issue, but it’s bound to be undone sooner rather than later. Bless Scott Snyder for his enthusiasm, I heard him this week on the excellent Word Balloon podcast and he sincerely finds this story fun and wants us to enjoy it as much as he does, which is why I laid out the money and gave it a go. But honestly, Batman as a robot dinosaur? The Invisible Plane turned into a transparent chainsaw? Jonah Hex turning up for two seconds to make a gag about how ugly he is? It’s all too random, like something Snyder’s Sgt Rock would throw at the wall to see if it sticks.
It’s time for me to bow out because rather finding my joy, I’m thrown into a miserable mood by Death Metal. I may pop back for the end, when we’re likely getting the next big DC continuity transition, but for now I’ll seek my kicks somewhere other than Route 666. Meanwhile, there are plenty of Snyder stories I really do like.
Death Metal #1 is a success in that it’s just what its creators want it to be, the start of a big, sprawling, unabashedly silly superhero saga. But for me, it’s the promise of many months of depressing comics inspired by Heavy Metal album covers. Penciller Greg Capullo is excellent at such things – there are individual images here by him, inker Jonathan Glapion and colourist FCO Plascencia that are visually arresting, such as the chapter title pages, and there’s an obvious glee in every line of the twisted landscape. Still, the overall Dark Multiverse vibe is too strong for my taste.
So while I’m keen to learn this series’ destination, this isn’t a journey I want to take. Call it Metal fatigue.