Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 Review!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…


Dark Nights: Death Metal #1

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Greg Capullo 

  The long awaited and much anticipated new miniseries from DC Comics, Dark Nights: Death Metal, is finally here and today I’m reviewing the first issue! About once a year, usually in the summer, both of “The Big Two” comic book publishers, DC and Marvel, will put out an epic miniseries “Event”. These are the no holds barred stories, where seemingly anything can happen! Typically, even though one character or one particular team will be the focus of the story, these Events affect and involve the entire DCU or Marvel Universe. These stories tend to have casts of thousands! With huge, status quo changing moments! Whenever the publishers at Marvel or DC are talking about their latest Event Miniseries, they like to say things like, “After this story nothing will ever be the same!”. When you’ve been reading comics as long as I have, there are certain things that you tend to expect to see when one of these big stories come out. There are usually some major character deaths, surprise resurrections, heroes turning into villains and vice versa, things like that. Classic DC and Marvel stories like Crisis On Infinite Earths, Infinity Gauntlet, and Civil War are some examples of Event Comics. Like many things, some of them suck and other become classics.

One of the best superhero Events of the last decade was Dark Nights: Metal written by Scott Snyder and art by Greg Capullo. That story saw the DCU being invaded by the evil, cosmic forces of the previously unknown Dark Mutiverse. The Dark Multiverse is a nightmare realm where the deep fears of everyone in The DCU are made manifest. These are the worlds where everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. The Dark Multiverse was ruled by an evil god-like entity called Barbatos. When he came to attack and claim the DCU, his generals were all dark, twisted versions of Batman. 

   The most terrifying and formidable of the evil Bruce Waynes from across The Dark Multiverse was, without a doubt, The Batman Who Laughs. In his home reality, after The Joker killed Jim Gordon and a shit load of other people, Bruce Wayne finally had enough of the atrocities committed by The Joker and killed him by snapping his neck. BUT The Clown Prince of Crime had one last surprise for his longtime nemesis, The Joker created a toxin that would be released from his body at the moment of his death and turn whoever killed him into the next Joker. The insidious toxin burned  away Bruce’s humanity. Batman lost of all his morality, compassion, and empathy. Batman, under normal circumstances, is already as Superman once put it, “The most dangerous man alive.”.  This version Batman, without the moral code that stops him from going too far, is a terrifying and unbeatable cosmic horror. Now he’s the apex predator of The Multiverse. Because a Batman Who Laughs is a Batman who always wins. 

  The Justice League managed to defeat Barbatos and his army of evil Batmen (The Batman Who Laughs managed to stick around The DCU), but it came with huge unforeseen consequences. In defeating one dark god, they unknowingly unleashed another: Perpetua, The Mother and Creator of The Multiverse. However, when Perpetua was freed, it took time for her to regain her full power. She needed help and a certain bald, alien hating, billionaire businessman/scientific genius was just the megalomaniac for the job…

Perpetua: Creator of The Multiverse

   One of the major ongoing stories in DC Comics over the last few years has followed Lex Luthor (with the help of The Legion of Doom) as he attempted to pull off his most ambitious cosmic power grab to date. Luthor set out to unlock the hidden powers of the universe and restore Perpetua to her full strength. Luthor’s endgame was to help Perpetua regain control of The Multiverse and rule over all of creation alongside her as her right hand and most trusted disciple. Everything was going according to Luthor’s plan, that is until The Batman Who Laughs showed up. He managed to make the case to Perpetua that he, not Luthor, was the one worthy of becoming her most valuable acolyte. Luthor had done all the work and The Batman Who Laughs snatched everything right out from under him. Perpetua agreed, and Luthor was cast aside.

    Dark Nights: Death Metal is not only a sequel to Dark Nights: Metal, it also builds upon many of the major stories Scott Snyder and others have been telling in the DCU since the end of the first Dark Nights: Metal. Elements from Snyder‘s Justice League run, Doomsday Clock, Snyder’s Batman Who Laughs miniseries, The Flash, and more are all at play. I think one of the things that the story does really well, is that despite all of the groundwork the story has been built upon, it doesn’t feel like you need to have read all of those other stories to understand this one. It’s a more accessible tale than you might think. The story starts very much in the middle of the action, so even if you have read every single DC Comic Book that’s connected to this story, you’re still going to be playing catch-up. Everything in the story is so insane that, part of the fun is figuring out how the hell our heroes have found themselves in this crazy situation.

Without going into major spoilers, Earth has been pulled into The Dark Multiverse. The planet has become a terrifying nightmare-scape, ruled over by the cruel and sadistic Batman Who Laughs. Countless twisted and evil versions of Batman from throughout The Dark Multiverse act as his lieutenants and help enforce his will. Our heroes have lost so badly that to keep what’s left of humanity alive, heroes like Swamp Thing, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and others are forced work for The Batman Who Laughs and do his bidding. He’s given his version of the Justice League different roles to play in his new kingdom. They know that they can’t beat him. He holds all the cards in such a way that, the only way our heroes can protect the people that are left is to play his sick game and grudgingly work for him. The Batman Who Laughs is essentially holding a gun to the head of what’s left of humanity, to keep the former Justice League in line. It’s sort of reminds me of something out of Game of Thrones where noble characters have to bow down before a despicable ruler in the name of serving a greater good. Of course Batman, the real Batman that is out there somewhere, fighting almost like a guerrilla insurgency, desperately trying to pull off whatever ever he can to save whatever’s left of this broken Multiverse.

Despite the fact that the whole story is wrapped in Batman iconography and there are evil Batmen everywhere, Wonder Woman is the central character in this story. Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s former home, has literally become Hell, a jail for people that The Batman Who Laughs wants to keep out of the way and imprisoned. With Swamp Thing (who’s seen better days to say the least) as her right hand man and confidant, Wonder Woman has become Hell’s Jailer, The Warden of her desecrated homeland. Despite her dark circumstances, Wonder Woman is pretty fucking cool in this story and I love the choice to make her one of the central characters. She’s really the main character, at least in this issue.  but considering what goes down in the first issue alone, I think it’s fair to say she’ll probably be taking center stage for the whole story. If this issue is any indication, that’s a fantastic idea. As cool as Batman is, as smart as he is, and is tough as he is, no one will fight to their last breath like Wonder Woman. She is not content to play her fucked up role in The Batman Who Laugh’s wasteland. Bruce thinks the fight is already lost and all they can hope to do is save whatever good is left. Wonder woman is not having that shit, she knows there must be a way to make things right, to put the universe back together again. And when a very important prisoner is sent to her by The Batman Who Laughs, Diana thinks she may have found her last chance to save the world.

To say anymore would spoil the fun. I will say this, they are not fucking around with this story. Snyder and Capullo have pulled out all of the fucking stops. This is only the first issue and there were at least three or four jaw-dropping moments in this comic book. I was fucking blown away. It’s impressive that while so much of what is going on in the story is dark and bleak, the story never loses it’s thrilling sense of fun. The heroes of the DCU are in rough shape, but it looks like watching them try to set things right is going to be a blast!

   I think it’s safe to say at this point that Snyder and Capullo have established themselves as one of the best writer/artist teams in the history of comics. These are two guys operating at the absolute top of their game and it shows in the story. When Greg Capullo’s name is on a comic book, it’s a given that the art inside will be fantastic, but he really knocked it out of the park on this one. It would be easy to take Capullo’s incredible art for granted, because his work has produced so many phenomenal stories over the years. In Dark Nights: Death Metal, literally everything on each page is something totally new, even all of the classic DC heroes in this story are sporting completely new looks. There are so few artists that could pull off a story like this, with the level of excellence that Capullo delivers. Then there’s the coloring by FCO Plascencia (another long time collaborator of Snyder and Capullo’s) which is gorgeous in this issue. The way the bright, vivid colors of Wonder Woman contrast with the dark, more muted tones of the desolate wasteland that surrounds her, is beautiful to behold.

I’ll definitely say this I loved Dark Nights: Metal and this is a much better first issue than that story. I’m sure Snyder and Capullo would be happy to hear, that the comic book is definitely “Metal”. It rocks the fucking doors off, blows out the windows, and leaves you desperately wanting more. I cannot wait for the next issue, because Dark Nights: Death Metal fucking rules! 🤘

Dark Nights: Death Metal #19/10

Note: DC has put out a prelude story that takes place right before issue #1 begins. You can read it for free on instagram! It’s pretty cool, so I definitely recommend checking it out. Read for free right here: https://t.co/vIJ8HkiZ23

Check out this art from issue #2 hitting stands in July…

Flash War! A Special Article Co-Written By Mike & Paul!

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I don’t have any comic series that I read consistently, but I do like picking up stories that are either getting a lot of buzz, or are going to be the basis for some adaptation.  I’ve been seeing a lot about the “Flash War” event which will pit Barry Allen against Wally West.  Last week the first issue came out, and I picked it up, along with the ‘prelude’ which was in the annual.

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Barry Allen’s “death” in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Which lasted around 30 years before he was resurrected.

Hey Everybody, Paul here. As the resident comic book expert I thought I’d help fill in some of the blanks in the background with ‘Flash War”. Mike not quite having his comic book super nerd powers yet. So anytime in this article you see italics text like this pop up, that’s me putting in my two cents. It’s two authors for the price of one!

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Flashpoint!

Now, I’ve read Flashpoint, and Flash: Savage World, a couple of the Justice League trade paperbacks, as well as being a fan of the TV show, so take my opinion as that of someone who’s not an expert, but also not diving in for the first time. If you’re interested in this story, I do suggest picking up the annual with the prelude, because I found that it makes things a bit clearer in the first issue.

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The Flash: Blitz by Geoff Johns. A must read to understand Flash War.

Besides the Flash Annual that Mike mentioned earlier, the storyline that is most important to understanding Flash War is a story that goes back to Geoff John’s original run on The Flash BEFORE The New 52 and even before Barry Allen came back from the dead. At this point in DC history Barry Allen had died in the classic mega-event Crisis on Infinite Earths. For the nearly three decades after, Barry’s sidekick Wally West aka Kid Flash became The Flash full time. For a whole generation of readers (or if  you even just knew The Flash from the Justice League animated series) Wally West WAS The Flash. Anyway, this super important story was called BLITZ and it was all about how former FBI criminal profiler Hunter Zolomon, who was a good friend of The Flash, became the super villain Zoom and initiated a devastating attack on Wally West and his family. 

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Zoom AKA Hunter Zolomon VS The Flash (Wally West) during Blitz. Set before The New 52.

I’m not going to review the individual parts, but now that I have an idea of what the story is, I’m going to write about it, and then when the series concludes, I’ll write a review of it as a whole.

So, if you’re familiar with DC’s recent history, they had the “New 52” runs, and then there was Flashpoint which I believe allowed them to reset somethings after that, to try the “Rebirth” runs.  Well, there were some consequences to all of these resets and reboots, and one major one, which apparently directly stems from Flashpoint, is that the Wally West (the third Flash) from pre-“New 52” no longer exists as he did.  He is still around, but he has no history, much of his memory is cloudy due to being lost in the ever-changing timeline, and almost no one remembers him.

 

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Another must read before Flash War.

Ok so there’s actually another super important story that you need to read called DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH, also written by Geoff John’s. When Barry created Flashpoint and created The New 52 as we know it, “classic” Wally West had seemingly been erased from history. This story partially shows how he escaped from The Speed Force and why there are 2 very different Wally West’s in The New 52 continuity. It also, tells us that Barry creating Flashpoint was not the only person responsible for this altered universe… Just read the story, it’s a huge reveal.

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A heartfelt reunion between Barry and Wally from DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH 

*Some minor spoilers from this point out*

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“Classic” Wally West after he’s escaped The Speed Force in DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH 

As Mike goes into here, there are now 2 Wally West’s in this reality. The adult, white, pre-The New 52, FLASH Wally West who escaped The Speed Force in DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH  and teenage, African-American, KID FLASH Wally West.  Now Wally is a white red haired guy, still operating under the title of Flash (although Iris West-Allen, Barry’s wife and Wally’s aunt who doesn’t know who he is, refers to him as the new Flash because Barry is still the Flash as well.)  Wallace on the other hand, is a younger, black teenager (not sure how old he’s supposed to be, but he’s shorter which I’m pretty sure equals younger) Paul chiming in here, he’s roughly in his mid-teens and is Kid-Flash, but is also Iris’s nephew.

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Teenage, The New 52, Kid Flash, Wally West

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All of them together. From left to right: Barry, Adult Wally, Kid Flash Wally

So, they’re the same person but different people.  It’s a little confusing, but I like it, because I’m a big fan of time-travel and the idea that if anything were done differently in a time-line individuals could be genetically different people from one to another.

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Fuck these pricks.

At this point in the article, bless his heart, Mike sort of misinterpreted the chain of events. Basically, Time Agents from the 25th Century (kind of like Minority Report) all dressed like good versions of classic Flash villains, The Rogues, show up at try to arrest Iris for supposedly killing Eodard Thawne (Classic Flash villain The Reverse Flash) at some point… in the future… I guess? Even I’m a little confused on this on, guys. These Time Agents could be full of shit, but adult Wally freaks out at the idea of these assholes taking Iris, where Barry wants to let cooler heads prevail and calmly go with The Time Agents to figure out what’s going on. Some fighting and time travel ensues… One of  The Time Agents has a really cool and surprising power source I won’t spoil here.

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Eobard Thawne AKA The Reverse Flash. Just a real piece of shit. And yes I realize he looks exactly like Zoom. It’s… Well… IT’S A WHOLE THING, OK!

As the first issue comes to a close, we see that Wally has been transported to a future in which he did exist, while Barry, Iris, and Wallace were transported to the alternate future, and Hunter Zolomon aka Zoom tells Wally he’s going to help him change the past and save his children who were erased in Flashpoint.

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Zoom/ Hunter Zolomon 

This issue is kind of framed by Hunter Zolomon and his POV. To the best of my knowledge, the first time we’ve seen this version of Zoom and Wally’s kids since before Flashpoint, because they’re all pre- The New 52 characters.

I’m really excited, because as I said before I really enjoy time-travel and time line stories, I also really enjoy stories in which protagonists conflict with each other, sometimes I find it more interesting than when there is a clear protagonist.  I’m not sure to what level Zoom will participate, my only familiarity with him is from season 2 of the Flash on CW, but I’m really looking forward to what’s coming up.

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    The Hunter Zolomon/Zoom of this comic is VASTLY different from the Zoom from The Flash CW series.  I like Mike’s enthusiasm, but I think this isn’t a great comic for new readers. It’s really more for people who’ve been following The Flash and DC Comics in general for the past decade or so. I recommend new readers check out, as an alternative, the mini-series The Man of Steel by Brian Michael Bendis currently in it’s 3rd issue. You can get at your local comic book store or on your tablet on the ComiXology app. It’s very new reader friendly and all you really need to know is who Superman is and the bare minimum about his world. I hope you guys enjoyed our different takes on Flash War part 1. Thanks for reading, everyone!

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This may be a better option for new readers.

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Paul

 

COOL NEWS ROUNDUP!!!

Hey, Everybody!

It’s Paul here! I’m very pleased to say that there’s so much fun, geek news today, that I’m gonna call this: Paul’s Awesome News Round Up! We’ve got fun bits of news from the world of Movies, TV and Comics. I’m going to start with COMICS News, but stick with me now. I know that might not interest some of you as much as movie and TV news. But stay with it because this whole article has some great stuff.

COMICS
So, Marvel is doing and another creative shake up and Relaunch of their books. A lot of fans hate this and I understand why. Sales may not be where Marvel wants them to be, so they trot out some fancy new tiles, creative team shake ups, and a bunch on new #1’s. Beside the danger to the industry by renumbering comics too often. I’m really excited to for this and it begins in May with Avengers as their flagship book, written by Jason Aaron with art by Ed McGuiness. Besides the creative team, why am I so excited about this?
Well, a few months ago Marvell put out a special called Marvel Legacy. In that special we met the characters below (some we know) who fare essentially the first Avengers team: Avengers 1,000,000 B.C.

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Left to Right: The Iron Fist, Starbrand, The Phoenix, Odin, Black Panther, Ghost Rider, Agamotto

 

I loved that concept and hoped Marvel would do something with it soon. Now, in Jason Aaron’s Thor run, the beginning of the series took place across three eras battling the same threat. The young, still unworthy Thor who liked to battle and party with Vikings who worshiped him, the Thor of the present, an Avenger and a hero, and finally Old King Thor millennia beyond millennia into the future. One armed and one eyed, as he watches over what’s left of Midgard.
So this Avengers book will follow a storytelling format, the same threat, fought by two different Avengers teams. One in the present and the other, the first Avengers team the Avengers of 1,000,000 B.C.

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Back Row: Doctor Strange; 3rd Row: Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes), Iron Man, She-Hulk; 2nd Row: Black Panther, Captain America; Front: Captain Marvel, Thor

Avengers #1 written by Jason Aaron with art by Ed McGuiness will become available where all comic are sold in May

 

TV

Krypton 

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If you asked me a year ago that a Superman prequel series set on Krypton decades before its’s destruction, following Superman‘s grandfather, I’d say its sounds like a really fucking stupid idea. I’m very pleased to say that I’ve been proven wrong when it comes to the show. It looks really cool. And apparently it’s not going to be the stuck following the exact narrative of Superman’s family backstory because it’s largely a time travel story, focusing on Superman’s grandfather Seg-El.

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Superman’s grandfather getting a dire warning from the future via DC comics hero, Adam Strange

Brainiac is going back in time try to stop Superman from ever being born (or something), thus stopping his greatest nemesis from coming into being. Meanwhile, DC hero Adam Strange shows up on past Krypton to warn Seg-El that he’s got a Skynet situation on his hands. In what you ask me is kind of a dick move, Strange tells Seg that his grandson is going to be the greatest hero the universe has ever known ( I mean, no fucking pressure, right?) The guy’s already got to worry about an evil alien artificial intelligence looking to wipe out his family line. That’s a pretty normal situation. Happened to me last week. It was a real pain in the ass, we lost some good people.

 

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Brianiac

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BRAINIAC

What I like about this idea is that continuity doesn’t matter. They have openly said that because the show is in the past and time travel and alternate timelines could be involvedthe show will radically change Superman’s mythology. A crazy, time travel, Superman-prequal, sci-fi adventure series across the cosmos of the DC Universe sounds pretty fucking cool. Apparently this show is going to be shark full of cool DC characters in addition to Brianiac and Adam Strange characters like the Green Lantern Corps, DOOMSDAY, Hawkgirl and The Thanagarians have all been confirmed to appear in the first season. Today they unveiled the first look at the big bad of the series, Brianiac and I’ve got to say he looks pretty fucking cool. Below is his picture and a new trailer for the show. I’ve also put in the original trailer in case anyone hasn’t seen it because it’s relatively short and sets a cool tone. I’ve actually got high hopes for this one. I think it has the potential to be pretty fucking cool. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

Jessica Jones: Season 2

The long awaited second season of Jessica Jones is almost upon us. Here’s a new trailer that shows new material but also splices in some flashbacks from season 1. Check it out here:

Jessica Jones: Season 2 premieres March 8

 

Legends of Tomorrow

For you Legends of Tomorrow fans out there, not only has Kid Flash himself officially joined the team.

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We can also look forward to seeing the return of John Constantine on Episode 15 airing March 13

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Another fan favorite recurring characters confirmed to return in the Season 3 Finale is Jonah Hex

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There have been set photos and other rumors that possibly John Constantine will return for the Finale as well. Maybe setting him up as new crew member of The Waverider in season 4? I know I’d love that.

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Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Finale airs April 9th

 

MOVIES

Big new for all of us Star Wars fans out there, Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi release dates Digital March 13and the Blu Ray drops March 27. Check out the air work below:

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Here are the listed special features:

The Director and the Jedi – Go deep behind the scenes with writer-director Rian Johnson on an intimate and personal journey through the production of the movie—and experience what it’s like to helm a global franchise and cultural phenomenon.
Balance of the Force – Explore the mythology of the Force and why Rian Johnson chose to interpret its role in such a unique way.
Scene Breakdowns
Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle – Get a close-up look at the epic space battle, from the sounds that help propel the action, through the practical and visual effects, to the characters who bring it all to life.
Snoke and Mirrors – Motion capture and Star Wars collide as the filmmakers take us through the detailed process of creating the movie’s malevolent master villain.
Showdown on Crait – Break down everything that went into creating the stunning world seen in the movie’s final confrontation, including the interplay between real-word locations and visual effects, reimagining the walkers, designing the crystal foxes, and much more.
Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) – Writer-director Rian Johnson presents two exclusive sequences from the movie featuring Andy Serkis’ riveting, raw on-set performance before his digital makeover into Snoke.
Deleted Scenes – With an introduction and optional commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.
Audio Commentary – View the movie with in-depth feature audio commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.

All of this plus 14 FUCKING DELEATED SCENES!!! That’s crazy! But awesome.

Anyway, thanks as always for reading!

-Paul