THIS WEEK: The newest installment in DC’s latest event series, Dark Nights: Death Metal #3, hits stands, and we examine how the series has been running so far, and what this issue portends for things to come.
Dark Nights: Death Metal #3
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Color Artist: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Cover Artist: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, & FOC Plascencia
The first two issues of Dark Nights: Death Metal have felt like a lot of setup for what’s to come. With the DC Universe having been recreated (in the wake of a mysterious battle that took place off-screen between the end of writer Scott Snyder’s Justice League run and the opening pages of Death Metal #1) in the image and likeness of The Batman Who Laughs, there was a lot of setup to do, from introducing the world’s locations and the players serving under The Batman Who Laughs, to establishing where all of our favorite heroes are amidst the chaos. With this week’s third issue, though, Death Metal finally reaches the end of its beginning, and it does it with its best issue yet.
Snyder, Capullo, and co. finally lean into the ridiculous fun of the Metal series, something it seems like we haven’t seen since the appearance by an infant Darkseid early in the initial series. I shudder to say that the presence of Harley Quinn in the story helps to lighten the mood of things considerably, with Batman even loosening up a bit in quipping back and forth with her. Both Batman and Superman get triumphant moments in facing down Darkfather, the evil Batman/Darkseid amalgam first glimpsed in the series’ first issue.
Of course, not everything is fun and games, and the introduction of the Robin King — following his origin in last week’s Legends of the Dark Knights one-shot — is exceedingly disturbing, though he ultimately doesn’t do anything in this issue, and his dialogue honestly felt a little tonally out-of-place with the rest of the issue. I guess stuffing corpses into Flash rings is fun if you’re into that sort of thing, though.
Still, putting the Robin King aside, things really take off in this issue. Next month is Death Metal’s ‘skip month,’ with three one-shots taking the place of the miniseries, and from the looks of things at the end of this issue those one-shots are going to be essential reads if you want to follow the story. Death Metal #3 nicely lays out the trajectory of those stories without giving up anything about how they’re going to play out. On top of that, the issue also adds another player to the proceedings in its final pages, one who’s been a large part of the overall Perpetua saga that Snyder’s been telling, and who adds a much-needed wild card element to things at this stage of the story.
I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy the initial Metal series very much. Reading it month-to-month felt disjointed, with no real forward momentum from issue to issue, or even from scene to scene. Thankfully Death Metal hasn’t had that problem – the storytelling is tighter all-around, and it’s making for a much more enjoyable reading experience issue-to-issue. Death Metal #3 is a strong, stirring, and damn fun entry in the series. It feels like the creative team is really finding their groove here, and it has me excited to see what comes next.
- After an absolute banger of a first issue, Wonder Woman #760 continues Mariko Tamaki and Mikel Janin‘s recently-minted run on the series with a less action-packed, far more tension-filled installment. Diana and Max Lord’s history post-New 52, post-Rebirth, post-whatever-you-want-to-call-it is still a bit of a mystery (read: did she kill him or not?), but the ambiguity is part of what makes their interactions here so damn entertaining. I’m also loving Diana’s living situation and the neighbors that come with it, and the cliffhanger of this issue, while somewhat predictable, was still executed flawlessly. I am completely onboard for whatever this creative team has to offer.
- Superman #24 continues a team-up between the Man of Steel and Doctor Fate against a new mystical menace. Brian Bendis‘s scripting here is as sharp as I’ve seen it, and the shifting artwork between Kevin Maguire‘s present-day sequences and John Timms‘s flashbacks works well in providing some backstory for villain Xanadoth’s alter-ego. The rapport between Clark and Fate is entertaining, and the potential for Fate appearing in the series on a semi-regular basis is welcome. Or honestly if Bendis and co. just wanted to turn this into a Superman team-up book (this issue even shouts out DC Comics Presents in its credits) I’d be more than happy.
- Joshua Williamson‘s final arc on The Flash, “Finish Line,” begins with this week’s Flash #759, and as a Flash fan who grew up on Mark Waid and the Flash Family of the ’90s — you know, all that stuff that got erased by The New 52 — let me tell you: this is the best issue of The Flash in over a decade. Multiple points in this issue had me smiling like a goddamn fool, and I’ve never been so happy to look like a doofus while reading a comic book. Rafa Sandoval and Scott Kolins kill on the visuals in this book, with Sandoval selling both the action and the emotional moments perfectly. Williamson has three issues left on the series, and if they’re all at the level that this one is it’s going to be a hell of a read.
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