The Dark Nights: Metal train continues to roll as the Justice League were brought into the fold of what Batman has been investigating since the New 52 began. That has led to some old DC characters who were lost in time being brought into the fold. Most important of them has been the return of the Hawks. Though only Hawkwoman returned as Kendra, Hawkman’s presence was still hovering around. Now after the Justice League learned about what Batman has been doing the Dark Knight has set himself up to go up against his closest allies. Will Batman finally prove what fans have always known he can do by defeating the Justice League on his path to discover what is really going on in the deepest corner of the DC Universe? Let’s find out with Dark Nights: Metal #2.
Writer: Scott “Sword Sovereign” Snyder
Artist: Greg “Lead Thrasher” Capullo
Inker: Jonathan “Jolt of Lightning” Glapion
Colorist: FCO “The Fallen” Plascencia
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Superman flies above the Earth in order to scan the planet, Green Arrow is in Gorilla City, Zatanna and Constantine are at House of Mystery and Blue Beetle is at LexCorp HQ, all searching for any clues on where Batman has gone.
The Justice League call Superman to let him know that they have found Batman in the Amazon Rainforest, but it is not just one but an army of Batman, along with Robin in an armored vehicle.
The Justice League chase the army of Batman through the rainforest while trying to figure out which one is the real one. The Justice League are able to capture most of the Batmen until there is only one left.
Cyborg is finally able to crack the code of Batman’s special hologram masks and finds out that Nightwing is the last Batman standing. Nightwing shows the Justice League a special black flower which attracts the wrath of Swamp Thing. With Swamp Thing attacking the Justice League, Nightwing makes his escape.
Meanwhile, in Robin’s armored truck Batman tells Robin not to slow down. Superman suddenly busts in and flies Batman in the sky.
Superman says he knows that the Batman he is holding is the real one because of his heartbeat.
Superman tells Batman to admit to him what is really going on on. Seeing no way out Batman reveals that that he is trying to stop Barbatos, who has been targeting him for years. Batman goes on to say that his experiences with the Court of Owls, death when fighting Joker, using his the Final Machine and looking into the dark when meeting Green Lantern and Duke he was able to come across the four of the five Heavy Metals: Electrum, Dionesium, Promethium and Nth Metal.
Wonder Woman shows up and believes Batman is still lying so Superman punches him through the chest. Clayface then reveals he was able to copy Batman enough to trick Superman. Superman finds a transmitter in Clayface that is transmitting Batman’s actual heartbeat, which reveals to him that Batman is scared.
At Finnisterre, at the ends of the Earth in the Antarctic Lava Pits, Kendra enters the Legion of Doom base where she meets with the other Immortals. Kendra tells the Immortals that Doctor Fate and John Henry Irons have seen Barbatos army while Plastic Man’s body has been vibrating at frequencies they’ve never seen.
Morgaine reveals that while she was looking for Wayne they all voted to have Kendra shoot Anti-Monitor’s astral brain through the Multiverse, at the Rock of Eternity and destroy the Dark Multiverse. Kendra doesn’t think that it is a good idea.
Ra’s Al Ghul speaks up and mentions that he knows that Batman will be searching for a way to take on Barbatos himself. Kendra suddenly realizes what Batman is actually trying to do when hearing what Ra’s just said.
At the Valley of Kings, inside the Tomb of Prince Khufu (Carter Hall’s first incarnations), Batman asks Dream if he is in the right place. Dream says he does not know as he has taken Batman as far as possible. Dream tells Batman if he faces the dark army to call him and wishes him luck.
Batman asks Dream once again if he is doing the right thing. Superman and Wonder Woman show up, with the latter saying Batman isn’t doing the right thing. Superman begs Batman to hand over what he is carrying before it destroys the world.
Batman takes out baby Darkseid. Batman then reveals that when Darkseid shot him with his Omega Beams he was sent to the beginning of man. There Barbatos saw him and set everything endangering the universe into motion, making Batman responsible for what is going on. Batman says he now needs to use the Omega Sanction and Hawkman’s mace so he can go back in time to make things right.
Wonder Woman is concerned that Batman will only end up erasing himself from the world. Batman says there is no other way and asks Superman and Wonder Woman to look after his family.
Batman then tells Superman and Wonder Woman that once he takes of the Godwave Goggles they’ll have to stand back.
Kendra gets in contact with Wonder Woman and reveals she destroyed the tomb of Prince Khufu and that Batman was led into a trap at the Tomb of Hath Set. Before she can tell the Trinity what is coming for them Superman and Wonder Woman are attacked by some demon guardians.
The Court of Owls suddenly show up and reveal they have set the trap, , including helping Batman find Carter Hall’s journal,that led Batman to the tomb all along in order to bring the Bat God from the dark. They then reveal that the last Heavy Metal does not exist on Earth and is instead is forged in the heat of the cosmos beneath Gotham City, with its name being: Batmanium.
Suddenly a ritual begins that consumes Batman in a special liquid which leads to the doorway behind him to open. The Court of Owls welcome Barbatos into their world but are attacked by crazed versions of Robin.
Suddenly the Batmen of the Dark Multiverse appear and quickly absorb Superman and Wonder Woman’s life force. The Batman Who Laughs then says “This is gonna be fun.” End of issue.
The Good: There is absolutely no hesitation in what Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are doing with their event as Dark Nights: Metal #2 goes all in on DC’s Multiverse. In doing so there is definitely a feeling that the your enjoyment of Dark Nights: Metal will depend on how far your DC knowledge goes, specifically the last 10 years of DC continuity.
Something that was lost in the shuffle of the New 52 reboot was some of the odder elements Grant Morrison brought back and introduced during his time at DC. That is not the case anymore as Snyder makes it clear that events like Final Crisis, Return of Bruce Wayne and elements of 52, the year-long comic, are part of the DC Rebirth continuity. This use of past events Batman played a big part was able to get across how big this Dark Nights: Metal is as it reaches the level of what we expect from a Crisis series.
With Snyder hitting on the Crisis-level threat the DC Universe is dealing it did not mean we were going to missing out on more personal moments. One of the bigger ones is the opening of Dark Nights: Metal with the entire Justice League searching for Batman. In this opening we were able to get a good idea of how angry and disappointed the Justice League are that Batman would keep them in the dark about his investigation into the Dark Multiverse.
This opening did a great job of using the recent continuity across all the Batman comics. In this last year we have seen how Batman has rebuilt his relationship with his family and made them an even tighter unit in the process. Using that continuity made how the BatFamily was able to trick the entire Justice League into their trap to use Swamp Thing against them and buy Batman time perfect. It came across as a payoff to what the Batman comics have been building towards for the last year in stories while further showing of how Batman is always one step ahead of everyone, no matter their power level.
The chase was also an effective way in delivering an info dump on the Justice League and the readers without making it overstay it’s welcome. The information that the Clayface-Batman provided Superman acted as a good conclusion to the chase while informing us how recent events Bruce has been through built to Dark Nights: Metal. Making the explanation take place in the course of less than a page kept the issue moving without having to slow down.
That conclusion of the chase also led to one of the better lines from Superman as he realized how scared Batman was. These lines from Superman made the eventual moment he and Wonder Woman found Batman in the tomb much stronger. Instead of coming across as angry allies Snyder made sure Superman and Wonder Woman acted more like concerned friends looking out for Batman, who looks to have gone to far.
This concern by Superman and Wonder Woman also furthered the narrative that Batman may not be the good guy of Dark Nights: Metal. While Batman is not the villain of the story, it’s clear he is not acting in the way we are used to. A lot of the things Batman is doing is coming across as rash all because he knows too much. That is a rare thing to see since Batman is usually more confident the more he knows but not in this story. Instead it is Batman’s knowledge that makes him more unstable, leading him to balance between doing the right and wrong thing.
The fact that Batman has gone so far as to steal baby Darkseid to accomplish what he believes he must do speaks to how blinded by his own investigation he has become. Even when Batman seems to explain himself with a defense for his actions there is sense that even he is lost in what to do so Batman is risking it all on one option.
Batman’s actions made the revelation that the Court of Owls actually led the Dark Knight to this corner a fantastic reveal. This builds on the very first story arc Snyder wrote when taking over Batman when New 52 began. It gave a bigger picture scope to all his stories and makes it even more intriguing to go back to see how the Court of Owls were able to trick Batman from the very beginning.
But as with how the Court of Owls were defeated by Batman and the BatFamily before, it was their overconfidence that was once again their undoing in Dark Nights: Metal #2. That twist made the sudden impact that the Batmen from the Dark Multiverse even better. It showed us how these Dark Multiverse Batmen are not messing around as they did not waste anytime in showing Superman and Wonder Woman what they can do. At the same time the pleasure The Batman Who Laughs showed how they don’t care who they hurt as long it causes chaos for the DC Universe.
As much as Dark Nights: Metal #2 was about the search for Batman, Snyder did a nice job continuing to build on Hawkman and Hawkwoman’s role in the story. Seeing Kendra interact with the other Immortals of the DC Universe was a good way to re-introduce the Legion of Doom. Their decision to use the Anti-Monitor astral brain sets Kendra and the Immortals to play an even bigger role in upcoming issues of this event.
This scene with the Immortals also help build on the mystery of whatever Hawkman is doing with the Challengers of the Unknown. It’s clear with how Kendra mentioned that she destroyed Prince Khufu’s tomb a long time ago that there is more that she and Carter aren’t telling anyone. What that is exactly will make the moment that Hawkman re-appears even more important to the outcome of Dark Nights: Metal.
With how strong Snyder’s writing was, Greg Capullo delivered artwork that helped elevate what was going on in Dark Nights: Metal #2. From the intensity of the Justice League search and chase of Batman to the tension between Hawkwoman and the Immortals, Capullo delivered on all levels. It all led to Capullo delivering on how terrifying the Batmen of the Dark Multiverse are, with each one having a unique design. There quick actions made it feel like the DC Universe are not going to be the same place ever again.
The Bad: As someone that has followed the key things that have happened in the DC Universe in the last decade plus all the references Snyder drops in Dark Nights: Metal #2 are fantastic. But while I enjoyed the history that was used it is something that could loss most readers not familiar with other Crisis events, especially the majority of Morrison’s DC work. There are things like Batman’s trip through time that make it harder to get over what Barbatos actually is. This is where the execution of how the rest of event develops the Multiverse vs. Dark Multiverse concepts will be key in not confusing newer readers.
Overall: Dark Nights: Metal #2 is an excellent continuation of DC’s latest mega event. The use of events like Final Crisis and Darkseid War elevated the story that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are crafting. Now with Batman’s actions opening the door to the possible destruction of the Multiverse we are left wondering how our favorite DC Universe heroes will be able to save the day. That mystery, along with several other sub-plots, make the anticipation for what happens next harder to wait for.