Backed into a corner in the penultimate issue of Dark Nights Metal #5, things are looking pretty grim for the heroes of a world that faces a new kind of danger. The Dark Multiverse rises, our reality sinks and an army of evil Batmen have run amok as the Justice League was picked apart. Bruce Wayne has been left to rot for decades as his hope was slowly murdered in front of him, Earth’s greatest warriors have been put through the ringer and doomsday is knocking on our front door. Where to from here? Spoilers below.
It’s over. Evil has won. How do you even bounce back from a resounding defeat such as the one that the Justice League has suffered in Dark Nights Metal? Earth’s champions have been defeated, Batman has been pushed to his breaking point and our world is now home to nightmares from forgotten realities which have begun to infest the fabric of existence.
It gets even worse from there. The multiversal demon known as Barbatos has successfully managed to call forth an army of abominations, Wonder Woman is down for the count by the hands of the Batman Who Laughs and Aquaman has to face numerous other evil Batmen who are more than ready to commit some Atlantean regicide.
All hope is lost in this penultimate issue…or is it?
Because that’s a key theme in Dark Nights Metal, that resonates far louder than the sound of a cosmic hammer banging on metals from other dimensions. Even when faced with the impossible in the form of a titanic Hawkman who has been twisted and corrupted to serve Barbatos, Batman and Superman keep on fighting.
In a forge where nightmarish new worlds are born, there’s a glimmer of light within that darkness. This is the story of how Batman lost hope, and reclaimed it to be reborn stronger than ever. It’s the story of the Martian Manhunter returning, of Green Lantern kicking all five of Starro the Conqueror’s asses and of Wonder Woman going down in a blaze of glory.
It’s the ultimate adventure of the world’s finest as they slowly sink into pure molten world-building metal as all stories are consumed in the darkness. “Ultimately, Metal is about not being in your comfort zone, not being in your egg. It’s when you step out and you try something new – like Batman, he goes on this mystery that’s bigger than anything he thought that kind of explores stuff that Carter Hall was investigating, that goes back to the history of humanity,” Dark Nights Metal writer Scott Snyder said to Newsarama recently.
And suddenly, all the answers you find when you try a new job or you move to a new place point back to yourself. And you think, you shouldn’t have done that. You’re a failure. Why did you step out of your comfort zone? Why did you try this new job? You suck at it. Why did you become a parent? All those things that you – you grow, and then something in the universe says to you, you failed.
That’s what Batman Who Laughs is saying too – that’s my favourite laugh, is when I hear the scream that is the final dying yell of any dream. That’s what he loves, going around to worlds and killing them in that way. So when Plastic Man comes out of his egg – which, spoiler, he will in #6 – it’s one of my favourite pieces that Greg Capullo ever drew. There’s literally, like, a dolphin with a chainsaw finger – one of Plastic Man’s fingers as he has this huge moment. It’s one of the few splashes.
It isn’t a scream. It isn’t that sort of shrinking away into the dark and saying, “No, you’re right, I never should have done this. I failed.” It’s what Wonder Woman articulates at the end of the issue – it’s a battle cry. It says, no, I’m going to fight. I don’t care if I go down. I don’t care if I’m wrong to have tried something. I’m going to try more and more and more.
There’s only one more issue to go until Dark Nights Metal wraps up. One more chapter, in a tale that hasn’t just lived up to its name, but has surpassed them in wildly unexpected ways so far. Drawn by Greg Capullo in a manner that feels like every single great rock album joined forces and fused into the ultimate cover art being, Batman’s greatest adventure so far is pure metal.
And I can’t wait to raise a Zippo salute for the endgame.
Last Updated: February 1, 2018