Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 review

Wonder Woman is still fighting The One Who Laughs. Everyone else is still bashing said bad guy’s demon hordes. Heroes die. Heroes come back as part of Black Lantern Batman’s gang. Everyone knows reality is going to be rewritten any minute so few folk seem to be taking things seriously.

By the power of Just Because, Diana is a magic yellow giant strong enough to fight an evil cosmic god! But he’s way too powerful to be beaten! He’s punching her through time and everything! But she taps into the indefatigable spirit of her friends and foes and beats him anyway, punching him into a super-sun. Yay Diana! No one is going to rewrite reality in their image today.

Well, except this ‘gal’.

It seems that recreating creation is OK if the galactic god doing it is a fan who’s into Golden Age cosplay. But there’s a price. Wonder Woman must agree to forego her place in the new reality and watch over it from afar. Which means she misses the big party back on the reborn Earth.

I’m sure she plays a mean tambourine, too.

Barry Flash takes Wally Flash to view the latest thing in Superdom…

… and the new DC cosmology is explained.

So it seems the heroes are in for some big headaches, as memories – and old friends and enemies – return. The idea that realities lived by different versions of characters, ‘alternate pasts’, can be recalled by the current version strikes me as a terrible one. By all means have stories that haven’t been referenced in decades brought up once more if there’s a good sequel to be had, but how do you live your life when someone else’s experiences, with the accompanying emotions, are liable to descend at any minute? Are we going to end up with the Justice League of Crazy Janes?

And what’s the sense in the Justice League and Legion of Doom getting together to oversee things? Why would the heroes give villains such as Luthor and Vandal Savage, who want to rule the world, the keys to multiple realities? And how can they be used as antagonists by comic creators when they’re so pally with the good guys?

We’ll see how things go, and if it doesn’t work, fear not, the next reset is due in 2025 or something.

Meanwhile, the final page brings back one of my favourite super-teams, fighting alongside Sgt Rock who, for some reason, has been popping up throughout this series, narrating. So that’s good!

Scott Snyder’s script has some witty lines, the persistence of the heroes in the face of the coming Nonsense Bomb is strangely admirable, and the demise of Formerly Known as The Batman Who Laughs But Actually The Batman Who Bores is much appreciated.

The art for the last battle, by penciller Greg Capullo, inker Jonathan Glapion and colourist FCO Plascencia, has a gnarly energy to it. Their cover, which has a very different tone to the main body of this mini-series, is lovely. Yanick Pacquette takes over for the Golden Age Wonder Woman (she wore culottes, dammit!), party and infodump scenes, and the clean edge he brings is very appealing. Nathan Fairbairn applies bright colours to match the optimism. And Brian Hitch illustrates, and Alex Sinclair colours, the dynamic Second World War scene which closes the book. Tom Napolitano letters every one of the 40 pages with style.

The original Dark Nights: Metal series was advertised as a loud, deliberately silly, summer blockbuster. What was really silly was that it grew and grew, into a two-year project that’s wound up rewriting the DC Multiverse. I haven’t loved everything I’ve read, a lot of it is the very definition of sound and fury signifying nothing – 38 issues of Snyder’s Justice League side series were waved away as unimportant in one panel – but there have been some great moments, often in the tie-in books. And I admire Snyder and Capullo’s mad ambition. With the first Future State books appearing this week, let’s hope the long ride proves to have been worthwhile.

12 thoughts on “Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 review

  1. I, too, am confused by the “everyone remembers everything” angle, but I’m willing to ignore, as I’m sure all the writers at DC will, since a fair number of the “Infinite Frontier” books actually sound fun to me 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have to be honest. I never understood Hypertime. Not a single panel of it.
        Winding tributaries of timelines that crisscross over one another? How is that any easier to understand than what Death Metal has given us?
        Multiple earths… alternate realities… those I understand. Lol

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Man, if Yanick Pacquette had been the regular artist on this, I’d have actually READ this series. That party is GORGEOUS. As it is, I welcome every spoiler I can get to orient myself for the coming Infinite Frontier, and hope for the best. I’m sure I’ll read this somewhere down the line, but I’m happy enough to wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope I’ll like it more when there’s nothing riding on it — when whatever continuity changes are already fait accompli, and I can just enjoy the bonkers storytelling of it.

    When it started, I considered buying it to see what was up (and actually bought the first issue) and then had something of an epiphany about this kind of event: “This is the story that gives them continuity permission to tell the stories they want to tell. But in reality, they always *could* tell the stories they want to tell, so in a sense, it’s a meaningless exercise. How about I wait until we get to the stories this makes possible?”

    Which, strangely enough, has me very excited about Future State and Infinite Frontier. It’ll be DC *building* something again, instead of trying to fix something. I hope I like a bunch of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eventually I’ll read all the reviews of this online to see if anyone has any more insights.

    Seems DC is having it at least 4 ways:

    1) These characters (whoever they are) are going to remember alt versions of themselves

    2) The alt versions are actually on the other, new center of our multiverse, called Elseworld. (Why else introduce Elseworld?)

    3) There is now a multiverse of multiverses – an Omniverse. That means we have our multiverse which could be where the most recent things are happening, and other multiverses where the other stories took place. Thus so many different versions of Earth-0 and Earth-2 and Earth-Two or whatever, are explained as being in different multiverses – each with its own 52 universes or perhaps infinite universes. So for instance, when the JL went back in time and encountered the JSA during WWI, but nobody had ever heard of them before, it could mean the JL must have accidentally gone to the past on the Earth-0 in some other multiverse, where the JLA existed.

    4) Future State is going to tell stories from the future — from where? Here? Elseworld in this multiverse? Other multiverses?

    It is fatiguing. Do we need 3 or 4 simultaneous approaches to solve the same “problem?” Seems DC has covered all angles, but it’s left me quite confused.

    It has always struck me as quite ironic that 1) DC messes up continuity; then 2) DC hires someone to write a massive event to “explain” and undo the mistakes – AND HAS US PAY FOR IT! Usually they ask Geoff Johns to do it.

    It’s really hard to tell how anything DC has been doing is going to make AT&T happier.

    I noticed that, I think for the first time, Marie Javins was credited as editor-in-chief on the little masthead that appears on the bottom of the last page of most books including this one. And on the big credits page at the back of Shattered. Bob Harras was still being listed last week. This is the week that Future State is starting, and it’s the first releases of 2021, so it seems like the right time to debut the transition.

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    1. Oops – I didn’t intend to add confusion by suggesting that the JL had encountered the JSA during WWI. I meant to type WWII.

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    2. I think I have a super-headache. Great work trying to explain things. I don’t see why they need anything bar a Multiverse set-up and a few different cover banners – Earth One, Bronze Age, Elseworlds and so on. Readers who just want a good story can ignore the labels and dive right in.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this as ‘homework’ having avoided most things Metal since issue one of the original. I found it incoherent and I read reviews and synopses of things going in. I’m just gonna forget everything about it because I predict in a few months only the ‘everything matters’ will be left in the comics and not even often.

    Also, can’t say removing Diana will affect the DCU in practice. She’s only part of the Trinity because A) a contract kept her in publication long enough to be considered and 2) she moves more real world merch than comics.

    Liked by 2 people

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