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In DC Comics’ Dark Nights: Death Metal #2 (on sale July 14,) the hits keep coming, as writer Scott Snyder continues to spin a suspenseful tale that’s full of surprises. A few shocking returns and unexpected twists in the story leave the reader anxiously awaiting the next chapter, and it’s becoming clear that, at the end of the day, Death Metal maybe even better than its predecessor.
Dark Nights Death Metal #2
Story: Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Letters: Tom Napolitano
As always, Scott Snyder’s bat-centric innovations are one of the best parts of the Metal series. Here, we see the Batom (a dark take on DC’s famous diminutive hero,) and he’s brutally killed on page one. The rapid death lines up with Snyder’s consistent “Anything can happen” tone. Fittingly, the Batom’s death comes at the hands of another Snyder original: the Batmobeast. This vehicle is a sentient monster truck that’s stolen by the good guys. Though the Batom’s death can be considered a somewhat gratuitous case of vehicular manslaughter, the art team still uses it to showcase their subtle storytelling. Capullo zooms in on the image of a wheel crushing the Batom, and he leaves little to the imagination. We see a close-up burst of blood, which is accompanied by a “squirlp” sound effect. (Credit to letter Tom Napolitano for capturing exactly how you’d imagine the Batom getting run over would sound like.) In the next panel, Capullo shows the dark hero’s bloody, squashed body. Inker Jonathan Glapion and color artist FCO Plascencia maximize the blunt violence, and this sequence is just one of several examples where the art team is in harmony with the story on the page.
In addition to the Batom and the Batmobeast, a few fun newcomers are sprinkled throughout the issue, but Snyder and Capullo save the best for last. On the final page, they reveal another wonderfully wacky creation that smoothly calls back to Dark Nights: Metal. The two events remain closely linked together, which feels like a recognition of Metalverse fans’ loyalty.
The success of most epic events boils down to the characterization of the heroes we know and love. Batmobeasts and Snyder’s other unpredictable creations are fun and they easily hook the reader’s interest. But the heart of these stories can be found in the interactions between the protagonists. In that regard, Snyder hits a bullseye in the second installment of Death Metal. He juxtaposes Wonder Woman’s stubborn hope with Batman’s dejected defeatism. One enlightening exchange features the Dark Knight’s explanation as to why he’s more pessimistic than ever. He reminds everyone how, in Dark Nights: Metal, he made the same mistakes Diana is approaching, and we all know how that turned out.
Snyder amps up the emotional weight of this contrast when Diana tries to remind Batman what his symbol stands for. When she says bats taking flight is a metaphor for the human spirit reaching for the impossible, Batman shuts her down. “I need to stay here…on the ground this time,” Batman says. The Caped Crusader’s bullheadedness almost drives the friends farther apart. Capullo conveys this distance by showing Diana turning her back on Bruce, whose face is obscured by shadows. For a moment, it seems like the remnants of the Justice League will be unable to compromise. Thankfully, they come together and realize that they need each other to have any chance of winning this doomsday scenario.
As with most major events, it’s so tempting to dig into the eye-opening reveals that leave us on the edge of our seats. For the sake of spoilers, we won’t discuss them right now, but it’s fair to say that Snyder continues to bring in every corner of the DCU in unconventional ways. As a result, he practically has something to offer for every fan. From a creepy resurrection that’s right out of “Frankenstein” to a tear-jerking reunion, Snyder is firing on all cylinders.
In the first installment of Death Metal, Snyder hit the ground running with some amazing twists and turns. Death Metal #2 is a successful follow-up, as it offers a few several new wrinkles to the mystery and gives us even more memorable moments to sink our teeth into while we wait for the next issue.
What’d you think of Death Metal #2? Check out your local comic store to see if you can pick it up there, or consider buying it online.