DC Comics’ Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 (on sale June 15) is finally here, and storytellers Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo opened DC’s latest epic event in thrilling fashion. Given how wild Dark Nights: Metal was, expectations for this new story have been sky-high. Though Death Metal just began, it’s clear that Snyder and Capullo have taken the gloves off, which means we’re all in for a ride that’s even crazier than last time.
Dark Nights: Death Metal #1
Story: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Dark Nights: Metal was the most wild event in recent memory. The image of Batman riding a Joker-dragon in the finale remains a classic. But based on this opening chapter, the sequel could give Metal a run for its money. The Joker-dragon is back; Capullo shows two of them proudly soaring through the menacing red sky above Gotham. Along with the dark Robins perched like gargoyles on the city’s buildings, the Joker-dragons symbolize the unrestrained creativity Snyder and Capullo continue to showcase. Plus, Snyder and Capullo double down on the evil Batman that Metal was famous for. This time, we see evil, Batman-infused versions of Deathstroke, Etrigan the demon and a particularly horrifying Plastic Man, whose distorted body stretches the length of a long panel.
The icing on the cake is B. Rex, the dinosaur in the Batcave whom one version of Batman uploaded his consciousness into. Capullo shows the dinosaur screaming at Wonder Woman, and two Batman-like eyes are prominently glowing in B. Rex’s mouth. Color artist FCO Plascencia makes the eyes electric blue, adding even more of a contrast with the creature’s cavernous mouth. In Dark Nights: Death Metal #1, waiting to see what Snyder and Capullo come up with next remains a highlight of the reading experience.
This issue features a few jaw-dropping moments, which we can’t fully discuss without spoiling them. That being said, each of them was genuinely shocking. Instead of predicting what these surprises could mean for the series and the greater DC Universe, let’s just enjoy the excitement they provide. The exhilarating cliffhanger shows that Snyder and Capullo are going all-in by tying in every aspect of the DC Universe. By using all of the tools at their disposal, they’re setting themselves up for success because it will enable Snyder and Capullo to substantially differentiate Death Metal from its predecessor.
No comic is perfect, and while this issue is incredibly fun, its pacing can feel jarring. The story begins in medias res, and after Snyder and Capullo initially take their time to build the world, they later dump a lot of information at once. One character makes a surprise appearance and partially recaps the road to Death Metal, including events we haven’t seen yet. The exposition-heavy explanation temporarily drags the story down, and Snyder and Capullo struggle to regain their footing until the climactic ending. Hopefully, the duo will find more dynamic ways to inform the reader as this series continues.
Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 is a heart-pounding event to the highly-anticipated series. Snyder and Capullo take their winning recipe from their previous collaborations and offer even more twists, turns and storytelling innovations. The rest of the series will have a hard time topping the sheer excitement of this opening issue but, given the track record of this creative team, it’s a safe bet that the series will get even better from here on out.
What’d you think of Dark Nights: Metal #1? Are you excited to see what happens next? Check out your local comic shop to see if you can pick this issue, and others you may be interested in, up there.