Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Dark Nights Metal #1 comes from the creative team of writers Jackson Lanzig and Collin Kelly, penciler Karl Monstret, inkers Trevor Scott and Norm Rapmund, colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr., and letter Andworld Design. Published by DC Comics and storyboarded by Scott Synder himself, readers dive into a world where instead of the Justice League defeating Barbatos in Dark Nights: Metal, Barbatos won and ruled this pocket of the multiverse.
Within this world, the audience meets our first survivor of this alternate DC landscape, Duke Thomas. As a long time Batman fan, it’s very refreshing to see them utilize a character who deserves more panel time than he usually gets. He is called the Last Monitor and sets to find other survivors of Barbatos’ attack. What ensues is a riveting indulgence in heavy metal, the absurd, and the extravagance only the world of comics can deliver.
Monstret demonstrates great control over character designs and setting. Some of the best aspects of this book are purely for the art that is as high-octane as the writing. There is a “Barbatos” that is a giant Barbatos Dragon fused with the last essence of Bruce Wayne. There is a giant Joker Dragon. There is also a Medusa-inspired iteration of Wonder Woman where she has snakes for hair. While all of these depictions of characters may seem silly, Monstret’s art is polished enough to remind you that comics can be so fun and cool with their exploration of design. Lanzig and Kelly write Duke to eventually find The Boy Wonder, Dick Grayson. Dick is rocking a man bun, a spiked cuff on one of his wrists, blocked red eyeshadow (reminding me a lot of My Chemical Romances’ Gerard Way), and an ax-shaped electric guitar. To say this is my favorite alternate version of Dick Grayson is no exaggeration.
These moments between Dick and Duke feels so familiar despite our characters being in a place readers are unfamiliar with. Dick may be wielding a multiversal frequency disruptor, but he still retains his confidence and charisma that old and new fans cannot help but still adore. With Dick’s help, they gather and form their own version of the Justice League to try to defeat Barbatos.
Each page is an explosion of color from Scott and Rapmund that makes each panel feel like its own apocalyptic wasteland. Bright yellows, oranges, reds, purples, and blues makes each page pop. There are so many visual references to the ‘heavy-metal’ that makes Dark Nights: Metal distinctive. We see multiple characters from Hawkgirl to skeletons throwing up hand-horns. Skulls and bones are casually integrated into characters’ clothing. The lettering done by Andworld Design feels reminiscent of band logos like Metallica and Iron Maiden.
The battle that ensues during the final act of this event one-shot is over the top and action-packed. Dragons, humans, and birds are colliding and punching each other as Duke and Dick inch closer to Barbatos. The dialogue suffers a little with its ham-fisted music quips, but it does add a certain type of campy-charm that Synder’s Metal world distinctly offers to DC fans. This one-shot will remind readers about just how enjoyable and brilliantly ridiculous Batman comics can be.
Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Dark Nights Metal #1 is out everywhere on December 29th, 2020.
Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Dark Nights Metal #1
The battle that ensues during the final act of this event one-shot is over the top and action-packed…The dialogue suffers a little with its ham-fisted music quips, but it does add a certain type of campy-charm that Synder’s Metal world distinctly offers to DC fans. This one-shot will remind readers about just how enjoyable and brilliantly ridiculous Batman comics can be.