While it may not be making as much noise as other tie-ins to Dark Nights: Death Metal, the “Doom Metal” storyline going on in Justice League has been some of the best content out of the event. Joshua Williamson has done a very good job taking the setting of Dark Nights: Death Metal to elevate a story involving a random Justice League team trying to work together. Things got even more intense as the new Justice League entered the Valley of Starro with the team all falling into Starro’s control. Now it will be up to the unlikely duo of Lex Luthor and Nightwing to save the Justice League from Starro’s control. Let’s find out if that can be done in Justice League #55.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Robson Rocha
Inker: Daniel Henriques
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We open with Mindhunter (the Dark Knight of the Dark Multiverse that is a combination of Batman and Martian Manhunter) attacking Martian Manhunter in order to get him to give up the other heroes plans.
In the Valley of Starro as Starfire, Cyborg, Hawkwoman, and Detective Chimp have fallen under Starro’s control and are forced to attack Lex Luthor and Nightwing. Realizing that Starro is able to control the others through the air Lex and Nightwing focus on getting to Cyborg. While Nightwing holds Cyborg back Lex hacks into Cyborg’s system and sends a massive blast across the area.
The blast Lex created through Cyborg ends up killing the mini-Starro in the air allowing Cyborg, Starfire, and Hawkgirl to return to normal. Nightwing tells the three that they have Lex to thank for their recovery.
Suddenly the real Starro appears, revealing that the entire valley is just one big Starro. The Justice League quickly try to leave the Valley of Starro while also looking for Detective Chimp, who is still missing. Nightwing is able to find Detective Chimp and break him free from Starro’s control, much to Detective Chimp’s dismay as he wanted to stay in the dream where he was still with Nightmaster.
The Justice League eventually make it to Lex’s personal ship made out of Metal Men that he has named Lana. Cyborg, Hawkgirl, and Starfire are still hesitant to trust Lex. Nightwing says that they have no choice but to follow Lex’s lead if they hope to still save Martian Manhunter from Mindhunter and Perpetua’s Omega Knight.
On the ship Nightwing checks up on Detective Chimp. Detective Chimp is still pissed that the others pulled him out of the dream world Starro created for him. Detective Chimp believes there is no hope for them and that they aren’t really the Justice League. He goes on to call them just a version of Suicide Squad with the mission they are on. Starfire says that she is willing to go down fighting.
Lex tells the team that they are behind schedule as the Batman Who Laughs power and control over their world continues to grow. He goes on to say that if they can free the Legion of Doom then it’ll get him closer to being able to kill Perpetua himself.
As they travel through the strong ocean tides Hawkgirl suddenly feels Martian Manhunter suffering as Mindhunter relentlessly attacks him. Lex tries to tell her to calm down. Hawkgirl punches Lex and takes off to help Martian Manhunter.
Lex is able to get Lana to Brimstone Bay. He then leads the others to get to where the Legion of Doom are being held.
As that happens Hawkgirl is able to reach Martian Manhunter’s location.
At the same time the Omega Knight appears in front of Lex, Nightwing, Starfire, and Cyborg.
Martian Manhunter then transforms into Mindhunter. Mindhunter reveals to Hawkgirl because she was at the top of his mind it made it easy for him to invade Martian Manhunter’s mind.
Omega Knight is then shown blasting Lex, Nightwing, Starfire, and Cyborg with a massive amount of energy. End of issue.
The Good: When you look at the right way to tell a tie-in story that maximizes the setting of a major comic book event Justice League #55, like the previous two chapters of “Doom Metal,” is a strong example of that. Joshua Williamson takes everything that has been done since Justice League: No Justice and uses all that development to tell a multi-layered story.
While you cannot read “Doom Metal” without having the full context of Dark Nights: Death Metal it’s the fact that Williamson does not shy away from that tie-in that helps make the story so strong. Williamson embraces all the history established in recent comic books like Justice League, Justice League Odyssey, Nightwing, and others to give depth to every character.
Even if you did not read those titles Williamson has a knack for writing Lex Luthor, Nightwing, Cyborg, Starfire, Hawkgirl, and Detective Chimp in a way that you understand they all have been through a lot. Each character comes across as fully realized people who have their own experiences that brought them to the point they are in with this whole Dark Nights: Death Metal situation.
This all helps make the way Starro controlled the team have greater meaning. It’s Cyborg, Starfire, Hawkgirl, and Detective Chimp’s history that helps explain why Starro was able to control them. The visions of what they were each dreaming about made you care more for them as individuals. Adding in their old school designs for each character helped enhance how we look at these dreams as important to each of them
It also made how Lex and Nightwing had to make sure they didn’t waste time fighting all of them even more intense. You felt how there was a great sense of urgency in both of them to not waste a single second. They worked effectively enough to quickly come up with a plan to help Cyborg, Starfire, Hawkgirl, and Detective Chimp.
The whole adventure in the Valley of Starro just further established the fact that it was not just a race against time that this Justice League team were up against. The entire world itself has been turned into an enemy our heroes have to face. At any moment something in the world can attack them because of how Batman Who Laugh’s powers as the Darkest Knight continue to grow.
That is all exemplified by how as soon as the Justice League make it to different parts of Brimstone Bay and we see both Mindhunter and Perpetua’s Omega Knight appear out of nowhere. Ending Justice League #55 in this way puts a big question mark on how things will actually turn out in “Doom Metal.” There is a feeling that at least this team is at the endgame now.
Creating that feeling gave further weight to Detective Chimp’s previous proclamation that this team is more of a Suicide Squad than a Justice League. Detective Chimp did say this from a place where he felt hopeless. But it still carried weight as we see how Starfire was quick to say she was willing to go down fighting. This along with other character moments, like Nightwing turning over leadership to Lex, all helped to build to how Justice League #55 ended in a dramatic way.
Given the scope of Dark Nights: Death Metal, Robson Rocha does a good job capturing that through his artwork in Justice League #55. The sense of scale is massive as the team does their best to get through the chaotic world that Batman Who Laughs created. There is a sense of danger around every corner that is turned. Rocha also does a good job capturing the spirit of the old school looks for Cyborg, Starfire, and Hawkgirl. Going with those designs made the battle inside the dream world and that of Lex and Nightwing defending themselves more intense.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Joshua Williamson and Robson Rocha continue to do a great job using the setting created by the Dark Nights: Death Metal event to tell fun story in “Doom Metal.” Taking everything these characters have been through over the last few years helped enhance the impact of Justice League #55. The ending hit all the right notes to make you as the reader worry about what will happen next.
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