In DC Comics’ Dark Knights: Death Metal #3 (on sale August 11,) the latest chapter of writer Scott Snyder’s epic unleashes even more outlandish inventions and packs more heartfelt storytelling than you’d expect in an event that can seem like it’s trying to be crazy for the sake of it. This third installment shows that Death Metal features plenty of substance through its exquisite dialogue and Snyder’s consistently firm grasp on the characters he’s using.
Dark Nights: Death Metal #3
Story: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
“War takes you to strange frontiers,” Sgt. Rock appropriately narrates on the opening page. Places you didn’t know existed. Under your boots, sure…but also inside your head. Hell, that’s where you’ll come across the strangest finds of all.” Isn’t that Dark Nights: Death Metal in a nutshell? Snyder’s creations get crazier with every passing issue. By now, it may seem redundant to point out every fun thing he packs into the story, but we just can’t help it.
I mean, come on. Lobo slaughtering a goofy imp named Mr. Wobo, a self-proclaimed “widdle twee,” who screams an expletive when the “Main Man” shoves his fist down the creature’s throat is the most bonkers image you’ll see this week. Artists Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion make the scene as wacky as it should be, as cartoonish surroundings and Mr. Wobo’s bulging eyes make the fifth dimension feel like an old-school Disney cartoon turned on its head. Every page of Snyder’s Death Metal absurdity makes you beg for more, especially when you toss in robotic Robin-Parademon hybrids and Harley Quinn riding a hyena with an explosion wreaking havoc behind her.
But the best thing about this series continues to be the balance between Snyder’s wonderfully wacky innovations and his remarkably addicting narrative. Here, an exchange between Darkfather (an evil Batman/Darkseid hybrid) and Superman shines brightest. When the villain asks the Man of Steel why his evil counterparts rule over humanity, Clark Kent dismisses these dark reflections as nothing more than his fears. But Darkfather wisely fires back, “Aren’t our fears more real than the person we present? Our fears are who we are, Kal.” With this line, Snyder takes the scene to another gear.
Capullo and Glapion place Darkfather right by Superman’s side and place a smug smirk on his face, so he literally looks like the devil on Clark’s shoulder. This sight perfectly fits Snyder’s insightful dialogue, as Bat-Darkseid is trying to convince Superman to come to the dark side. His strong sales pitch might even work on a lesser being. “At his core, Batman fears human nature, but you… fear what will happen if you don’t control it,” Darkfather says. “Because deep down, you know…the only way to be humanity’s savior is to rule us, and remove our fear.” Darkfather urges Superman to embrace his destiny. But thankfully, with an Earth-shaking punch, the Last Son of Krypton tells him, “No deal.” Still, this conversation shows Snyder’s handle on the intricate dynamic between Superman, Batman and human nature itself is second to none.
The Robin King Cometh
Snyder has been hyping up the Robin King, and he enters the spotlight in this issue. His arrival couldn’t be more chilling, as he comes prepared with some sinister hero-killing weapons. As he smiles at the Flash, the Robin King describes his devious anti-speedster gadget. “I dug up your dead mom, covered her remains in this great Speed Force-cancelling toxin that liquifies your muscles,” he says. “…Such cool stuff. I stuffed rotting corpse into a Flash Ring that he stuffed the hero’s dead mother into a Flash Ring.” In just two lines, the Robin King already comes across like he’s evil incarnate. Capullo and Glapion zoom in on his face, where his costume only shows two white circles for eyes, and his genuine smile make his words even more menacing. The best is yet to come with the Robin King, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.
Death Metal doesn’t need every issue to have that singular moment that makes your jaw drop, and this installment doesn’t. Instead, it continues the series’ tradition of offering delightfully bizarre additions to the DC Universe, like Batrocitus and Night Glider, and masterful storytelling, such as the profound reflection on Superman’s fears. It’s hard for any event to live up to the hype but Snyder keeps knocking it out of the park.
What did you think of Dark Nights: Death Metal #3? Which one of Scott Snyder’s innovations is your favorite?
Check out your local comic store to see if you can pick this issue up there, or consider buying it online.