Out of all the Dark Nights: Death Metal tie-in comic books Justice League has been able to tell a standalone adventure based on what is going on with the event. Sure you do need to know why this ragtag Justice League team came together due to the early Dark Nights: Death Metal issues. Even with that Joshua Williamson has been able to create a story that has its own Multiverse-level stakes. Things got even more intense in the last issue as the Justice League finally reached their destination. But as they made it there the team was confronted by both Mindhunter and Perpetua’s Omega Knight. How will the Justice League deal with these major threats? Let’s find out with Justice League #56.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Robson Rocha
Inker: Daniel Henriques
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On Lex Luthor’s ship made out of Metal Men, named Lana, Detective Chimp talks with Nightwing’s horse, Comet, about what they should do to play their part.
At the same time, on Brimstone Bay the Omega Knight has obliterated Nightwing, Lex Luthor, Starfire, and Cyborg with a massive energy attack. Nightwing is shown to be the only one still conscious after the attack.
Nearby, Mindhunter has Hawkgirl trapped inside Martian Manhunter’s and taunts her by talking about how he tortured Martian Manhunter. Mindhunter then demands Hawkgirl to tell him about how the Justice League plans to stop the Darkest Knight and Perpetua. Hawkgirl tells Mindhunter to bite her and demands to fight him.
Hawkgirl then stuns Mindhunter by breaking free and gaining control of her body again. Hawkgirl reveals Martian Manhunter taught her how to protect her mind from telepaths. Mindhunter then taunts Hawkgirl about how she wants to kill Lex Luthor and that Martian Manhunter’s guilt over allowing the world to be destroyed will be what kills her.
Mindhunter suddenly transforms into a demonic bat. Not backing down Hawkgirl charges at Mindhunter ready to fight.
Nearby Nightwing looks for where Starfire and Cyborg are but finds no sign of them. Not seeing any other way out of this situation Nightwing decides to challenge Omega Knight.
Nightwing is then suddenly grabbed Detective Chimp, who uses Comet’s invisible ability to get them to safety. Detective Chimp says that he figured that Wonder Woman gave Comet to Nightwing for a reason and is planning to save the others with Comet’s invisible ability.
Meanwhile, Hawkgirl is overwhelmed by Mindhunter, who continues to mock her and Martian Manhunter. Martian Manhunter is finally able to regain some control. Martian Manhunter then gets Hawkgirl the opening she needs to superheat her mace and strike Mindhunter with it.
With Mindhunter knocked out Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter happily reunite and kiss. They then go to look for their team.
Elsewhere Starfire and Cyborg fight off Perpetua’s soldiers. Detective Chimp shows up with Lex Luthor and leads them back to Lana to come up with a new plan.
Nightwing tells the team that they should go try to get back-up because they aren’t enough to get it done. Starfire does not accept that as she knows there is no back-up for them and they need to fight, calling out Nightwing for not stepping up in the process. Cyborg agrees and says that their best bet is to move forward together.
Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl regroup with the others. Everyone discuss what they should do. Lex Luthor says their best bet is to free the Legion of Doom as it’ll give them a chance to destroy Perpetua’s throne.
Nightwing tells Martian Manhunter, Starfire, and Cyborg to combine forces and distract Omega Knight while he, Hawkgirl, Lex Luthor, and Detective Chimp work on freeing the Legion of Doom.
While Martian Manhunter, Starfire, and Cyborg are successful in keeping Omega Knight occupied the others struggle to break the Legion of Doom free. Lex Luthor says their only option is to get Omega Knight to destroy Perpetua’s throne.
Not wasting time, Detective Chimp calls out Omega Knight. Omega Knight turns to the throne and immediately fires on the Justice League on it. The blast ends up destroying Perpetua’s thrown and causing a massive explosion that even sends Omega Knight flying.
Nightwing is the last one barely standing. He does not get much time to look to see if the others survived as Cheetah, Sinestro, and Gorilla Grodd surround Nightwing. End of issue.
The Good: With how massive of an event Dark Nights: Death Metal is it has been amazing to see how Joshua Williamson has been able to carve out his own story that feels standalone. That trend continues as Justice League #56 keeps the “Doom Metal” story going with a sense of importance of what the team is doing. At the same time, for fans reading Dark Nights: Death Metal that larger picture of the fate of the DC Multiverse still looms over the story that we see unfold in Justice League #56.
That is really where the fun of this “Doom Metal” story as Williamson is able to balance a story that feels personal to the members who have formed this Justice League team with the larger scale of Death Metal. There is a strong mix of both that keeps you on your toes for how things can easily turn around for either the heroes or villains. That back-and-forth makes the desperation for the Justice League to figure out how to win come across even better on each page.
Helping elevate all that is that Williamson is how he is able to focus on each character’s arc. Hawkgirl is the biggest star of this as her fight with Mindhunter takes center stage. This battle between Hawkgirl and Mindhunter does really show how Williamson made sure to do his homework as he uses plot details from Scott Snyder’s Justice League run to play a huge factor into how things turned out. Williamson is able to take the relationship between Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter to show how they were able to help each other grow stronger. That worked to make the reveal that Hawkgirl was taught how to battle both telepaths and Martians by J’onn made the win over Mindhunter feel like the payoff to all that character build. It also made the reunion between Hawgirl and Martian Manhunter much more well deserved for both.
At the same time, Williamson does a great job in showing how Nightwing, Starfire, Cyborg, Lex Luthor, and Detective Chimp have all been on different journeys in the lead up to Dark Nights: Death Metal. You understand how each of these characters attitudes are based on their respective experiences since the events of Justice League: No Justice. That difference helps build greater individuality for each character as you get the journeys were all different.
That is most seen with how different Nightwing acts in comparison to Starfire and Cyborg. Up until now Nightwing has tried to jump back into the leadership role he is well known for with the hero community. The problem there is that Nightwing is still recovering from everything that happened to him with the whole Ric Grayson saga. Williamson does a good job making you understand that Nightwing is still not back at 100% and he has been putting up a front up to this point.
That made Starfire calling Nightwing out on how he was a cool thing to see. It shows how Starfire’s time on the Justice League Odyssey team has helped her grow. She is now even more confident in her abilities as a warrior as she already survived a Multiverse-level event so this is not new to her. And Williamson does a good job using this to add to the relationship that Starfire and Nightwing have to make the former’s words mean even more.
It was also nice to see Cyborg step in to talk with Nightwing and Starfire as a call back to their pre-New 52 Teen Titans days. The dialogue Cyborg had came across as natural. Even though these three characters haven’t interacted much over the last decade Williamson made Cyborg, Nightwing, and Cyborg’s dynamic be something that you can still tell exists.
Lex Luthor worked well as someone that is trying to act like the leader of this Justice League group. Lex being unable to keep his ego in check even when faced by Omega Knight was good to see. It made the brief sarcastic comments work well. At the same time, when Nightwing did get everyone in line for the final charge Lex not talk back made this moment work well. You get that even Lex had to understand they had to work together in order to free the Legion of Doom and defeat the Omega Knight.
The ending with the Legion of Doom surrounding Nightwing was a good hook ending to make you question what will happen. The way that the Legion of Doom look they are clearly pissed off for what happened to them. What that means for the Justice League and the overall Dark Nights: Death Metal story will be interesting to see.
Robson Rocha once again delivered with his artwork. Rocha got across how “Doom Metal” is a story that is taking place in this larger than life setting that was created by the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal. And as the story has progressed Rocha has done a good job showing how beaten down all the characters are as things become even more desperate for them.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: “Doom Metal” has been one of the best tie-in stories to the Dark Nights: Death Metal event. Justice League #56 continues that trend as we see how things continue to get darker with our heroes pushed against a corner. The sense of urgency escalates at a good pace with the hook ending of Justice League #56 leaving you in a place where you look forward to how “Doom Metal” will conclude.
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