So DC just finished up wrapping up their recent major crossover a few weeks back, their ground breaking, universal crisis event that’ll leave the universe “never the same again” so I thought it’d be worth talking about this run- before the next major crossover, ground breaking, universal crisis event that’ll leave the universe “never the same again” commences.
I’ve talked briefly about my thoughts on the Comic book industry in my previous article on Lex Luthor, it’s an industry I’m very critical of- both financially and literary. The greatest drawback to Comics, more specifically Comics with an elaborate universe like DC or Marvel, is that they’re incredibly complicated.
I mean you have to know characters names, what they look like, their varying histories, the histories of cities and secret societies- not to mention the various deities, ethernal plains, the rules of the universe- basically you need to know a little bit of everything to really understand what the hell is going on.
Granted this complaint isn’t unique to Comics, if you’ve read my James Joyce reviews you’ll find that books can be quite difficult to read if you’re ignorant of history and the sociopolitical climate of the described location.
So if you believe that a good book is something so precise and universal that you don’t require an extensive amount of time researching to understand, then you’re not going to like Batman: Metal…or Dante’s Inferno, or James Joyce, or the Bible.
However if you are interested in reading Batman: Metal but you’re not too familiar with DC Comics then you came to the right place.
Dark Nights: Metal is a DC Comics storyline that included various characters from various books. This kind of event is known as a “Crossover” or even more epicly a “Crisis Event” in which the story is so expansive and breaks so many rules that it changes the Universe.
In a way, Metal does that. But I’ll get into that much later.
So for the most part this event is both a Batman story and a Justice League story- it goes back and forth. It’s spearheaded by writer Scott Snyder, the Quentin Tarantino of DC Comics. His best work is thought provoking and intense, while his worst is unbareably average.
His worst is some writers best.
Now I’m not gonna sugar code it, this event is absurd and ridiculous and stupid…but by fuck is it great. It’s a rollercoaster, hell- it’s like a rock tour. Just look at the cover above- they’re doing that rock symbol.
“That Rock Symbol” …you can tell I’m musically illiterate, can’t you?
I mean when you talk about Metal, on paper, it’s a thing I should utterly despise- y’know? It’s basically Seven Evil Batmen taking over the World and they all have the powers of the Justice League. It’s ludicrous.
And it commits the Cardinal Sin of Bat Worship. In which you raise the character of Batman higher than he actually should be. Don’t get me wrong, I love Batman- but he’s not perfect. He’s not supposed to be perfect. He doesn’t know everything, he can’t win every fight and on top of that he’s a very fucked up guy.
He’s human, he struggles- that’s why we relate to him. So when you raise him up to be this extremely athletic super genius who can run circles around anyone and everyone- what you’re really doing is committing the greatest Cardinal Sin; you’re making him too overpowered.
If Batman is practically invincible then why should I care about the fight? Why should I care about his journey? About his struggle? Because without the possibility of loss, there is no meaning. There is no reason to be invested in his story.
So having an evil Justice League comprising solely of Batman really did rub me the wrong way. It’s like having an evil X-Men comprising solely of Wolverine, or an evil Pirate ship comprising solely of Jack Sparrows.
You can have too much of a good thing.
But really as much as I really wanted to not like Batman Metal, Snyder just stole my Goddamn heart. I mean I’ve read this story twice and I’m still in awe with the amount of references and the world building and it’s just…it just makes a weird little nerd like me who used to spend hours upon hours on Wikipedia articles just to understand this fictional universe so Goddamn Happy.
So Dark Nights: Metal is really a story aimed at people like me, which puts new readers in a difficult spot because they have no clue what the hell is going on. So in this article I’m going to break down everything.
But first we have to understand one thing; Who is Batman?
So Bruce Wayne was born into an incredibly wealthy and loving family, but one day (when he was around ten) he and his family went to see a film and when they left the theater they were mugged and his parents were gunned down. The place where he lost his parents was known as Crime Alley, for most of Batman’s history the identity of the killer was a mystery- but most interpretations of his story agree that the killer was a Petty Criminal known as Joe Chill.
Now after this he was incredibly traumatized. His Butler Alfred became his legal guardian and he’d later receive counseling from Dr. Leslie Tompkins, who would become the maternal figure in his life there after. But of course Bruce couldn’t just process this grief and get on with his life, instead he swore an oath to his parents to make sure that no one has to suffer through the pain he’s experienced; thus he waged a War on crime.
He traveled the world for 10-15 years developing his skills; learning several different languages, mastering several different martial arts, becoming an accomplished engineer and inventor, honing his skills as an acrobat, a free runner, a master of disguise and an escape artist- but above all he became the Worlds Greatest Detective. That’s what Batman is, above everything else, a Detective.
So he returned to Gotham at the age of twenty five, in his first year as Batman he dealt with mostly battling organised crime and a corrupt police department. But overtime eccentric characters started to emerge, drawn to Batman’s theatrics like moths to a light; Super-Villains.
That’s one of the perplexing issues with Batman, you can make the argument that his presence actually makes Gotham worse because that brought out the super-villains such as the Joker and Bane who would reap holy hell- but at the same time without his presence Gotham would still be riddled with corruption and tun by the crime families, it would be extremely difficult or damn near impossible to fight that criminal element without the help of Batman.
So Batman did a lot of things in his first two or three years; got rid of several crime families, got rid of a lot corruption from the police force, fought a lot of super villains, made his own car and gadgets (Batman doesn’t kill so he doesn’t use guns…unless they’re on his car or plane. He’s weird like that) and that was his life. He was perfectly content fighting crime for the rest of his life, although he was quite miserable and alone.
That all changed when he met Dick Grayson, though in tragic circumstances. Dick and his family were acrobats for Haley’s Circus and when the circus came to town a Gangster called Tony Zucco threatened the owner saying that if he didn’t pay for protection money something bad would happen. The owner of the Circus (Haley) told him to fuck right off, so Zucco sabotaged the Grayson families trapeze wire and Dick’s parents fell to their death- because they were famous for not using a net.
Bruce Wayne was coincidentally in the audience and he took pity on Dick, so he adopted him. The first few months were kind of awkward because Dick was still processing his grief and Bruce was constantly away, y’know, being Batman- so he was essentially stuck in this big ass house by himself and a stoic British guy.
And we got to talk about Alfred guys.
I mean Alfred is just a fucking badass. His origins for the most part changes depending on the writer, but a few things remain consistent. For starters he has some history with the British Military, whether it be working for the SAS, the army or even as a Spy. He has some knowledge on medical procedures, enough to treat Bruce when he’s wounded- even being able to do several different complex surgeries. But above all that he’s a fantastic actor, he used to do theater plays in London but he came out to America after his Father died.
He’s the guy who taught Bruce how to act and become a master of disguise. It’s safe to say he’s far too overqualified to be a Butler, but the reason he is differs on what story you’re reading. Some stories have Alfred’s father being a Butler for the Wayne Family, working in America while his Family remained in England. That meant Alfred had a resentment towards his Dad because he was caring for another family instead of his own, but once his Father died Alfred took up his job due to a sense of tradition or something like that.
Other stories had Alfred be friends with Thomas Wayne (Bruce’s Dad) and they met during a War or helping with aid relief in an impoverished country, but they became friends. Thomas was like “Hey, want a job?” and Alfred was like “Eh, fuck it- why not?” and that was that.
So when Bruce was born he kind of just helped clean the house, cooked and fed the plants. All the parenting stuff was done by, well, Bruce’s parents. That’s just the kind f people they were, they’re not like other rich pricks who just dump their kids on their servants. So outside of feeding and cleaning up after Bruce, Alfred had zero experience in Parenting- which meant that when his Parents were murdered he was severely unprepared for becoming a legal guardian.
I mean Alfred is great, but he’s extremely stiff and awkward. He was likely educated in a Military School, his only escape would be these plays- hence why he always preferred acting to being a soldier. And I don’t know if you’ve ever met anyone who’s been raised in a boarding school but they are incredibly awkward.
I mean first off they’ve never hung out with girls so they’re incredibly awkward around women, then of course they’re raised in tight quarters with all these other boys and their teachers are macho assholes so it’s not exactly the most emotionally flourishing environment to be raised in. You don’t talk about your feelings in a place like that, if you’re depressed you just got to walk that shit off.
So when you’re this emotionally stunted man who has almost no parenting experiences, being a Guardian to a traumatized eight year old is going to be hectic. I mean you don’t know what to say to the kid, months or years could go by with Bruce just sitting alone in one of the big rooms of the Manor. The smartest thing Alfred did was get Leslie in because he’s like “I don’t know what to say to this kid, he needs a Therapist” but by that stage Bruce has already made up his mind- he wants revenge.
So he goes out to find Joe Chill and when he does he wants to kill him, but he can’t. Because Joe Chill isn’t a monster, he’s just a desperate man who did something stupid. So Bruce swears he’ll never kill anyone because he doesn’t want to be Joe Chill and he decides to wage a war on crime. At this stage Alfred should have frozen his bank account and sent him to a mental health clinic (that isn’t Arkham) and not gallivanting around the world getting the shit kicked out of him.
Alfred gradually did become a better paternal figure when Robin showed up, but by that stage the damage was done to Bruce. Instead of idealizing people like Martin Luther King and any other altruistic character, Bruce emulated Byronic Heroes- like the Count of Monte Christo and Zorro. Instead of fixing the world with his words and money he thought he could fix it with his fists.
But of course he eventually did see the futility in those actions, which is why Bruce would become a Philanthropist later on. He didn’t seek a glorious death, he only wanted to help people. Which is why he helped Dick bring his parents killer to justice, so that he wouldn’t end up like Bruce. Alfred was against the whole Batman thing from the start, so of course he was even more resentful at the thought of bringing a kid into this stupid war.
But of course Bruce didn’t listen and that’s how we got Robin. In reality it was because DC Comics wanted to create a character that the kids could relate to, in Canon Dick was brought on as Robin because the Batman persona was incredibly intimidating towards Children- so having a friendly face helped in hostage situations. But what’s up with the color scheme? Well here’s what Bruce says;
Of course the real reason was that Batman needed someone to draw the bad guys firepower away from him, so Robin was literally just a big fat bulls eye. Which would be difficult to explain to a kid. The comics tend to justify this kind of stuff eventually. One of the reasons Batman wears a cape is so that he can hide his chest, that way shooters have a difficult time figuring out where his centre mass is (this was before they realized “Hey, maybe he can use his cape to Glide“) and the bat symbol on his chest is an optical illusion- it’s to trick the shooter to shoot directly at the Bat Target because that’s where his armor is strongest.
Up until this point Bruce figured he’d be Batman for the rest of his life, but with Dick he saw the potential in an heir- so maybe Bruce could retire and live a normal life. In the early years it seemed that Dick would become Batman, the relationship between the pair was healthy. But a few years into being Robin things started going down hill. Dick had his own stuff going on with the Teen Titans, Bruce had the Justice League so they were drifting apart. But when they were together things weren’t particularly smooth, years of seeing the worst of the worst made Bruce a little rougher than he should have been.
I mean he’d interrogate people in front of their families, which is an extremely traumatizing thing to do- especially in front of a young kid. So Dick saw this happen and he was like “I…I don’t want that” and they started bickering a lot, eventually Dick left and became his own person- Nightwing. For a few years they couldn’t speak to each other.
So Batman operated alone for a while, up until some little prick tried to steal the wheels off of his car. That’s how he met Jason Todd, the second Robin. Now Jason was an orphan with street smarts so Bruce eventually took him and and he eventually became Robin. But he was incredibly edgy, he became very rough with criminals and on a few occasions he crossed the line. The readers didn’t like him, they thought he was incredibly arrogant and obnoxious- so DC did this weird thing where they had a public vote on whether or not they should kill Robin.
The “Death in the Family” storyline featured Robin finding his birth mother in Ethopia only to discover that she had turned him over to The Joker. Both ended up being tied up in a warehouse set to explode unless Batman could save them. The cliffhanger inspired DC Comics to set up a toll-free hotline and ask the readers to call in and vote on whether or not the Boy Wonder would make it out of the warehouse alive.
The fans voted 5,343 to 5,271 to put the Boy Wonder down, and so he died in the next issue.
Afterwards Bruce nearly killed the Joker but Superman stopped him. He broke his hand punching Clark in the face. Batman would put up Jason’s uniform in this protective casing, so that he’d always be reminded of his greatest failure.
Batman became a lot darker after this. Years went by without him having a Robin and he just gradually became more and more unhinged. That is until Tim Drake figured out Nightwing’s and Batman’s identity and said “Hey, if Batman doesn’t have a Robin he’s going to get killed or kill someone and hat’s bad” it’s important to understand that Tim never wanted to be Robin, he wanted Dick to return- but Tim didn’t understand that that would never happen. They staged an intervention for Bruce and he reluctantly accepted Tim as his sidekick.
Tim went through hell to become Robin. Like he had to be trained by the greatest fighters in the DC universe before Bruce would let him out as Robin. Tim was the first Robin to fight with a Bo Staff, mainly because he wasn’t particularly great at hand to hand combat. Martial Arts is a lot like Drawing, sure you can learn to draw- but you’ll never be as good as the person who has that raw talent. Your developed skill will never be able to compete with that honed talent, it’s the same thing with fighting- Tim didn’t have a raw talent for it so he needed a Stick to beat the shit out of people.
It also didn’t help that Tim is incredibly short and skinny, so there’s not much weight behind his punches. But despite that Tim was quite a great Robin. He was incredibly smart so he was great at the Detective aspect of the job, like Batman he was a fantastic strategist and engineer- if he wasn’t a Superhero he’d probably be very wealthy.
But the relationship with Bruce was tense if not stern. Remember, Bruce took on Tim begrudgingly– he didn’t want him there. The best way I could describe it is with an inhumane anecdote but it’ll suffice. Ok, picture that your family has a Dog- and you love this Dog very very much. But one day that Dog dies and you’re completely devastated, you don’t want to get another dog because you believe it to be insulting to your former pet- but you’re family gets one anyway. Now you’re initially very cold towards this dog, you try and keep it at a distance. Not because you actually dislike the dog, but that you’re afraid to let your guard down and be hurt again. That’s what Bruce and Tim’s relationship is like.
It’s important to remember also that Tim isn’t an Orphan, his Parents are still very much alive. There’s no grief motivating him, he saw that Batman was hurting and once he realized that Dick couldn’t support him- then it was up to him to take the mantle. They worked pretty well together, that is up until Tim’s Dad found out and ordered him to stop being Robin- and he did…for a while.
In between that Stephanie Brown, formerly known as “Spoiler” a Vigilante dedicated to sabotaging her Supervillain Dad’s (Clue-master, B-List Villain and Riddler Knock off) evil plans, filled in as Robin. But it was a very short tenure so many people don’t think it counts. But if it did, then she’d be the second Woman to be Robin- the first being Carrie Kelly, who was Robin in Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, an alternate universe in which Batman is Old and even more Psychotic.
But of course that tenure didn’t last long and Stephanie was fired. She’d later become the third Batgirl, the second being Cassandra Cain (who’s kind of like a Daughter to Bruce, not related though) and the first being Barbara Gordon- who was crippled by the Joker and had to retire from Super heroics, but she’s great at hacking and like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Donatello she “does machines” so she helps out Batman by being the Oracle.
So Tim came back for a while, up until Bruce met his Son- Damien Wayne.
Now I’m not gonna sugar code it, Damian is a little bastard. He’s the son of Bruce and Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul who leads this Eco Terrorist Secret Society known as “The League of Assassins“. Talia of course is Bruce’s, how do put this delicately? Ah yes, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
I mean, I have no fucking clue what happened to the woman. She was perfectly fine when they met. They got along perfectly all right, they liked each other, Ra’s was in favor of the relationship because he wanted Bruce to take over the League but the whole “No Killing Thing” was really a deal breaker. Bruce and her Dad fought a lot and Talia just kind of did her own thing, she had a shaky relationship with her Father at best.
Then for some fucking reason she decided to Date-Rape Bruce so that she could get pregnant and engineer the perfect human, meaning Damien was essentially a test tube baby.
Now a lot of people don’t like this story line, mainly because of the whole Batman being Raped thing- particularly by a former Girlfriend. Some people can’t really believe that a Woman can really Rape a Man, they think the sexes are too different for that to be plausible. An example of the differences would be this;
Ok, so Joss Whedon is a Profound Feminist. He made Buffy the Vampire Slayer and in one particular episode he did something dodgy, which partially contributes to why so many Feminists actually think Joss Whedon is a Misogynist. So in the Writing room Joss was listening to one of the female writers (I can’t recall her name) talking about ideas and her own relationships. She said that she once forced sex on her old boyfriend in the hopes that it’d rekindle the relationship.So Whedon thinks “Hey, that’d be a great scene” so he has Buffy’s former Vampire Boyfriend try and force sex on her so that he can rekindle the relationship.
…You see the problem with this, right? Like there is a massive difference between the two situations. If a Girl forces herself on a Guy, the Guy will probably be like “Eh, fuck it” and consent. But if the guy forces himself on the girl- she’s almost definitely not going to be into it. Especially if he went on this weird diatribe about how he’s still in love with her and she already told him to get the fuck out of her house.
It’s a messy comparison but that’s what many people feel; that a Woman can’t Rape a Man. It also doesn’t help with the fact that Batman is never bothered about this and almost never brings this up. I mean, Parents getting shot? Big Deal. Bane breaking his Back? Fucking Ground breaking. Ex Girlfriend Date-Rapes you? …Sorry buddy, you just got to walk that shit off and never address it ever again.
But yeah, Batman has a Son now. This little Ninja Narcissist who was raised to believe that he’d inherit the earth. They didn’t really spend too much time together at this point. It wasn’t even the greatest familial shock that Batman had endured in that decade either, that came when Jason Todd returned from the dead as the Red Hood.
The Red Hood is an Anti-Hero, kind of like a mix between the Punisher and the Green Hornet. In which the Red Hood operates as a Crime Lord but actually fights crime- so he’s very different from Batman. The Red Hood was Jokers former alias before he got dunked in that vat of chemicals and became a snow-cone of evil, so Jason took the name out of spite.
Bruce and Jason have a difficult relationship, for one thing Jason kills and Bruce is definitely not OK with that- but also Bruce refuses to kill the Joker and that really ticks Jason off. So it’s a very complicated relationship they have.
The next biggest thing that happened was that Batman “died” but in actuality it was just a clone. What actually happened is that he was hit by Darkseid’s (DC’s Thanos) Omega Beam (Really powerful laser beams) and was blasted back in time. But fortunately he was able to hop forward in time cause of Physics or some shit like that and he eventually made it to modern day.
But he was presumed dead for like two or three years and it really hurt the family.
In between that time there was a huge scuffle about who should be Batman. Tim, Damian and Jason fought over the mantle but eventually Dick stopped the fighting and was like “Fuck you guys, I’m oldest- I’m Batman” which was a colossal deal for Dick because he didn’t want to be Batman.
Hell, Bruce didn’t want Dick to be Batman. Bruce had enough self awareness to see that the mantle of Batman is a cancer that wears people down until they’re barely human- he wanted better for Dick. At that stage in the game Robin had stopped being seen as an apprentice or potential heir to Batman, but rather an emotional necessity to ensure he didn’t go crazy and started killing people.
But with Dick and Damien the opposite was true. Dick didn’t need emotional support to stop him from going over the edge, Damien did. That’s why he made him Robin.
They drove around in a flying Bat-mobile and for the first time Batman and Robin had capes that acted as gliders. Yep, you heard that right- it almost took seventy fucking years for Writers to realise “Oh shit, that cape could be used as a Parachute” for Christ sake, they had to borrow that element from Christoper fucking Nolan.
And it also showcased, for the very first time, a Batman who wasn’t entirely an asshole. In fact, Dick returned evidence to the police. Which Bruce never did.
But of course that whole tenure lasted little over a year, maybe two- I can’t recall. You’ll find that comics can be terribly unoriginal. They kill off characters only to bring them back withing a year or two, particularly if that character is featured in a film so they need the character back to sell new books to new readers.
There’s a massive problem in killing characters off only to bring them back again. Take Supernatural, now I love this show but it should have ended in Season 5- Hell, season 11 to be Generous. So in between season one and season thirteen (the current season) every main character has died at least twice, only to be resurrected in the next episode or the following season. Because this happens so often the viewer has become numb to shock, so when you kill off a major character for good- the audience feels nothing.
Comics are like that, but instead of a show spanning over ten years you have several hundred different characters who have been existence for well over seventy years. Their lives never end and they’re is so many stories, so much information laid out in often such a disorganized way that it alienates both new readers and long time fans. That, my friends, is why the Comic Book industry is dying.
So DC wrote themselves into a Corner by doing too many stupid events and killing off so many characters only to bring them back again that they were forced to reboot the entire Universe. Which really fucked up the plans for people like Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder, the prior just invented something stupid like “Batman Incorporated” in which Bruce Wayne launched a quasi-justice league that meant each and every country/continent had at least One Batman.
This whole reboot was known as “The New 52” and was regarded by many as a Very Bad Idea. What it essentially did was erase several fan favourite characters from existence (i.e. Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Hawkgirl) and squeezed character histories that spanned at least twenty five years into a window of five years. Meaning that Batman went through four different Robins, several cataclysmic events, suffered a severe back injury, “died” and went back in time and founded his own Justice League in the same amount of time it’d take the EU to negotiate a Trade Deal.
For context, this is like squeezing history down into a finite space of time. It’s like taking the major events of the 1960’s in America such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights Movement, the Kennedy Assassination and the Vietnam War and then saying all of that happened in the same week. It’s ludicrous.
On the bright side we did get a really great Batman series from Scott Snyder which lasted the entirety of the New 52 (5 years) which meant we got some great new villains and storylines.
What happened in between is kind f messy. Talia killed Damien early on (because she’s crazy) and Bruce was fucking heartbroken but then Ra’s stole his body because he wanted to bring him back to life but Bruce didn’t want that and then the coffin got taken by Darkseid and Bruce went to Apokolips (Darkseids planet) to get it back and ended up bringing Damien back to life and now he had superpowers for a few weeks and then we forgot about it.
Also Dick faked his death to go undercover as a spy, but he eventually came back. Batman Incorporated failed spectacularly, Batman “died” again but was brought back by a pool of Eternal Youth called a “Lazarus Pit” which Ra’s typically uses but this pit was under Gotham and was far better than the juice Ra’s uses.
Then because Scott Snyder was cocky as fuck he derided “Fuck it, Jim Gordon is Batman” and we had a Sixty odd year old man run about punching giant monsters in a Batman Mech-Suit for like almost a year before he was forced to Bring Batman back, and then of course the New 52 collapsed in on itself and now we have a new reboot called “Rebirth” very at name and that’s Batman…for the most part.
In October of 2017 Snyder launched a big event called Dark Nights: Metal which he had been hyping up in his own Rebirth series, All-Star Batman. The series was unbearably mediocre and I can’t really recommend it for anyone. So let’s dive into Batman Metal.
So the event starts off with a prelude comic called “Dark Days: The Forge” which opens up with an entry of an Archaeologist called Carter Hall. For those of you that don’t know, Carter Hall is the superhero Hawkman.
Basically he’s this reincarnation of this Egyptian Prince who got stabbed to death with a blade made of Nth Metal, which now means he can be reincarnated. He’s married to this Woman called Kendra Saunders who’s Hawkgirl, she was once an Egyptian Princess who also got stabbed by the dagger. They were murdered by a guy called Hath-Set.
Hath-Set, a cruel Egyptian priest, he leads a rebellion and captures and murders Prince Khufu (Hawkman) and Priestess Chay-Ara (Hawkgirl). He kills them with a cursed dagger which has been forged from Nth Metal. This results in a cycle where all three are reincarnated together. In many different incarnations over the centuries, Hath-Set murders the Prince and Princess.
The Nth Metal originates from a planet called Thanagar, a place where people have wings and can fly. Nth Metal is extremely powerful and all their advanced technology is made from it. In the opening of the story Prince Khufu and Princess Chay-Era are racing towards a Thanagarian Ship that crash landed in Egypt. They’r exposed to the metal and are thus reincarnated, forever fighting with their nemesis Hath-Set.
Each time Hawkman dies he sees these strange images of a Dark World, it doesn’t bother him until he reaches the 20th Century where he get’s regular nightmares about these images. So he starts investigating and discovers that he didn’t just start reincarnating in Ancient Egypt. No, he’s been wandering the Earth much longer than that.
We cut to an Island in the Bermuda triangle, there’s a laboratory on the island investigating the Metal Compounds in the Volcano. However the volcano has started to erupt. Dr. Madison is leaving a final recording of himself, quite panicked by his discoveries. He says that the data he collected shows that there’s something very wrong with the earths core and ultimately that there is something very wrong with the metal.
A giant Robot bursts through the floor at that very moment and we get this;
So Batman saves Dr. Madison with the help of Aquaman, who’s very pissed off that Wayne industries commissioned a Black Site so they could dig into the earths core and endanger Wildlife. Batman retorts that Aquaman should keep his mouth shut because “He knows what’s under Atlantis” oooh, setup.
All of this is watched by an invisible plane, with a Black-hawk Pilot in it.
The Black Hawks of course are a secret squadron of fighter pilots and secret agents that fought the Axis Powers during World War II. In their most well-known incarnation, the Blackhawks operate from a hidden base known only as Blackhawk Island, fly Grumman XF5F Skyrocket planes, and shout their battle cry of “Hawk-a-a-a!” as they descend from the skies to fight tyranny and oppression. Clad in matching blue and black uniforms (with Blackhawk himself boasting a hawk insignia on his chest), early stories pitted the team against the Axis powers, but they would also come to battle recurring foes such as King Condor and Killer Shark, as well as encounter an array of deadly femme fatales. They also frequently squared off against fantastical war machines ranging from amphibious “shark planes” and flying tanks, to the aptly named War Wheel, a gigantic rolling behemoth adorned with spikes and machine guns.
In Rebirth they’re a secret organisation founded by Carter Hall in the 20th Century to both fight the Nazis and to investigate the Mysterious Dark Energy. Snyder teased the characters in his All-Star Batman run, in which Batman came to face to face with an elite Military Force that had stealth technology that rendered them invisible. They’re being lead by a woman referred to as “Lady Blackhawk” who is infact the reincarnation of Kendra Saunders- Hawkgirl.
The Black hawks are a throwback to the Golden Era of Comic Books in the 1950’s. In which they were incredibly popular, even outselling Superman. Another throwback would be Cave Carson, who deals with threats from underground and is referenced in the book by the inclusion of Dr. Morrison, who is one of his associates.
Off planet Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) get’s a call from the Guardians who give him a top secret mission to go back to Earth and investigate the Batcave.
Hal Jordan is the first Green Lantern (or at least the first Human Green Lantern that is a member of the Green Lantern Corp) he was a pilot for the US Air force, but one day he came across a crashed Alien Space ship that contained another Green Lantern. That Green Lantern died and his Ring was summoned to Hal Jordan- because he overcame great Fear and had a very strong willpower.
The Green Lantern Ring allows him to construct anything of his own imagination in the form of hard green light- so long as he has the willpower and the ring is fully charged. He charge the ring by placing his hand near a special Green Lantern and speaking the Green Lantern Core oath.
The Green Lanterns operate from a planet named Oa, which is at the centre of the known Universe- where the main Green Lantern Power battery is stored. This battery gives power to all the Lanterns and thus all the rings. The Lantern Corps is operated by immortal, big headed, blue dwarfs known as the Guardians. They’re kind of assholes and are incredibly shady characters.
The Green Lantern Corp is basically an intergalactic Police Force and Hal Jordan is essentially the beat cop of our solar system. He mainly fights in space but his home city is Coast City, which is basically like San Francisco or even LA. That’s the gist of his character.
Anyway, he’s sent to investigate the Batcave and when he arrives he’s attacked by Duke Thomas.
Duke Thomas of course is Batman’s new apprentice/sidekick. A creation of Scott Snyder, he’s this kid who’s been ever present throughout Snyder’s work- first meeting Batman as a kid during the New 52 Batman Origin story “Zero Year” in which Gotham had been taken over by the Riddler, his mother had saved Bruce Wayne who had washed ashore after a recent hurricane. It’s a pretty good story.
The character pops up now and again, it wasn’t until Endgame that things got really serious as the Joker had driven both of his parents insane using his Joker Venom/Gas and now he was an orphan. Batman had “died” in a fight with the Joker and Jim Gordon became Batman- who was a utility of the Police Department, an expensive utility.
During this time Duke was in foster care and joined a Vigilante Gang who dressed up like Robin, in the series “We are Robin” the gang was financed by an Undercover Alfred Pennyworth (something which was completely out of his character btw) and they fought petty thieves, criminal gangs and the secret society known as the Court of Owls.
The gang was disbanded once Batman returned and Duke was brought on as Bruce’s new protege. For a while he didn’t have a code name but I believe he’s going to be referred to as “The Signal” as in Bat Signal.
He’s an inoffensive character, honest to god I couldn’t give less of a fuck about him. Personality wise he’s kind of like a mix between Tim and Damian, he’s a nerd but he’s also street smart. He’s Gotham’s Daytime Guardian. Not a Robin but he’s something new alright.
He’s a nice guy but I just don’t really give a fuck about him. There’s a lot of two dimensional characters like this who just pop up now and again and eventually fade away into obscurity. I mean as far as Black Superheroes are concerned Batman has a horrible track record.
They either suffer a horrible fate or are poorly written, which is far worse.
Take Orpheus for example;
His real name was Gavin King and he was a dancer, travelling the world he discovered a lot of injustice and a few personal tragedies lead him to pursue a life as a Vigilante. He had a high tech suit and operated in Gotham. He and Batman originally didn’t get along but they eventually grew to respect each other after working together to stop a serial killer targeting police officers.
He’s kind of like the Green Hornet, in which everyone thinks he’s a Criminal but he’s actually fighting crime. He infiltrated several gangs and was very effective in changing his community. But of curse he was brutally murdered by Black Mask during the War Games storyline. He later became a Martyr and his bodyguard Onyx took over as gang leader.
She was a great character, but people forgot about her. She never made an appearance again after the Under the Red Hood story line. So great characters either die or are left to obscurity. Bad characters on the other hand get their own series.
This is Batwing, real name was David Zavimbe. A Congolese child soldier turned police officer. During the whole Batman Inc. phase Bruce went to Africa and made David the “Batman of Africa“.
Yes, you heard that right. Bruce Wayne, a man who can barely handle a City, went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, met a Police Officer, gave him a mech suit and said “See this Continent that has total land area of approximately 11,724,000 square miles? Yeah, it’s your problem now- take care of it“.
It is an idea so ludicrously ignorant that it could only be concocted by an American.
I seem to recall that Batwing had been driven insane by issue #19 of his own solo series, but upon researching it myself I discovered that he didn’t go insane. In fact, he actually just quit. He was like “Eh, this life is stressful- I’m going to retire” and he did. Good for him.
But for some reason Bruce still needed a token black guy so he got Luke Fox to fill that void.
Luke is of course the son of Lucius Fox, which if you watched the Nolan Trilogy you know is one of Bruce Wayne’s greatest allies as far as technology is concerned.
Batwing now has a proper helmet and isn’t wandering around with giant metal wings. In fact his entire suit is just like a prototype of the Batman Beyond suit. But there’s a lot of flaws in having a Batman Character running around with a mech suit like this. It begs the question about why doesn’t Batman use this suit if it’s so great?
I mean it’s not exactly clunky, it wouldn’t slow him down- so why doesn’t he use it?
It doesn’t help that Luke isn’t a very interesting character either I’m afraid. I mean Morpheus and Onyx had complexity to them, gravitas. He was pretending to be a Criminal in order to reform his own community in Gotham, becoming a positive role model and keeping kids away from crime. She was a reformed assassin trying to redeem herself by becoming a vigilante.
There’s a lot to work with there. Not so much with Batwing. I mean Luke is a technological genius and an extremely athletic rich kid- no severe trauma, no need to seek vengeance or justice- squat. He doesn’t even need the suit for physical reasons.
If I were to write a Batwing series, first thing I’d do is make the suit bulkier, slower- ergo solves the problem of why Batman wouldn’t use it. Then I’d make Luke paraplegic, that way he actually needs the suit to fight crime- a lot of good story-lines could be written about this idea. It’s just a shame that he’s wasted like this.
So Duke is a mixed bag as new characters are concerned. I mean it’s really hard to introduce new characters alongside characters that have been around since the 40’s or 80’s- especially sidekicks in Comics where you’re waiting monthly for a storyline that’ll last up to a year and let’s face it, you’re not gonna remember everything. So that first impression really does seal a characters fate in the eye of the fans.
As far as Robins go, favorability relies upon odd numbers. Dick Grayson was the first Robin and everyone loved him, Jason was the second and everyone hated him, Tim was the third and everyone loved him and then Damian was the fourth and people still hate him. So I think Snyder really intended for Duke to become Robin whenever he heard rumors that Grant Morrison was going to kill of Damian, but of course like any superhero nowadays he just comes back to life two years later.
So Snyder has to invent this new character, a Meta Human that can control light or something and he’s just…I don’t know. I don’t like him, I don’t dislike him- I just can’t give a fuck about him.
So he attacks Green Lantern and Hal just shrugs him off, together they discover this secret passage in the batcave that leads to a secret batcave filled with items of this investigation he’s currently pursuing.
So in the first panel above you can see mention of an Organisation known as “The Court of Owls” which is a secret society of Gotham’s wealthiest families who have this choke-hold on the city’s institutions and have these highly skilled assassins called “Talons” which are basically Zombie Ninjas.
These Zombie Ninjas were once acrobats, street performers or just regular poor people. Most of them were recruited via Haly’s Circus (Dick Grayson’s circus) and thus many of them have a familial connection to Dick Grayson- in fact he was supposed to be a Talon but once he was adopted by Bruce the court were like “Eh, we’ll get another one” so it’s nice to see the Secret Society has the same priorities as a Rich Prick who just dropped their phone in the toilet.
A lot of Nightwing fans didn’t like the fact that this story-line essentially canonised the idea that he was destined to be an Assassin and that his parents would just hand him over to a pack of Billionaires and be like “Oh, this is your life now- bye!” because for one thing it makes his parents look like assholes and most importantly it diminishes Dick Grayson’s stature as being a regular guy who suffered a great tragedy but overcame it- if he was destined to become a Zombie Ninja then that tragedy is literally a life saver, it diminishes the character as a whole.
So the Court of Owls have been active in Gotham for centuries and have done a lot of fucked up shit, even going as far as to torture and kill Bruce’s great great grandfather because he discovered their existence. At the start of the New 52 Batman starts investigating the court, they trap him in an underground labyrinth for like a week, he escapes and then he has to battle an army of Talons who are out to kill a lot of people.
It’s a great story, personally I think the only people who should be writing anything about the Court should be approved by Snyder before hand. A lot of bad writers can mush up a really great idea.
But anyway, these Talon’s are recruited every ten years and then put on ice (while they’re in their prime) so that they can be awakened at a later date. They’re resurrected with the metal laced in their teeth, they’re electrocuted and the metal acts as a conductor that shocks their cells back into life- though they remain very pale/dead looking. They’re almost immortal. Only thing that can kill them is beheading them, freezing them or maybe even setting them on fire.
The metal is a weaker form of Dionesium, a chemical that can revive the dead. There’s a pool of Dionesium under Gotham (which both Joker and Batman used in the story arc Endgame) it’s essentially a purer form of the Lazarus Pits that Ra’s Al Ghul uses to stay alive, except the Lazarus pits cause the users to experience a temporary state of madness and it chips away at the person who uses it too much.
Electrum is a weaker form of Dionesium, it’s a seventh metal. Eighth Metals are what the Greek Gods use to forge their weapons, that’s why Wonder Woman’s bracelets and Aquaman’s trident exhibit Magical Properties. In fact this storyline introduces the concept of Eighth metal, meaning for the first time Wonder Woman has her own Kryptonite- Weapons forged from Eight Metal.
Ninth Metal, or Nth Metal, is present in Dr Fate’s Helmet. Dr Fate is basically the DC equivalent of Dr Strange, except the Helmet has a mind of it’s own and the user is essentially a slave or vessel for the God that is trapped in the helmet. Dr Fate essentially guards the magical realm. He makes sure no wacky shit is afoot.
What’s interesting about Nth Metal is that it’s repellent against magic, so say if you wanted to kill a ghost or beat the shit out of Dr Fate- you’d need something like Hawkgirl’s Mace to do it.
So the story-line states that Batman has his own Black Ops team known as the “Outsiders” which is essentially Snyder canonising a Pre-New 52 Superhero team lead by Batman. The team was founded after the Babylon storey arc, where Ra’s Al Ghul broke into the Bat Cave and stole a bunch of files that laid out a contingency plan on how to take out the Justice League.
So of course the League were pissed that Batman had been collecting all this data and writing out intricate plans on how to murder all his friends. It’s kind of like how you’d react if you found out your friend at work had been colecting all this information to potentially black mail you (If that day would ever come) so your reaction would understandably be “Hey…why do you have this???” it’s a huge violation of trust, so Batman had to resign from the Justice League,
But of course he got bored and made his own team with C-List Superheroes like Metamorpho and Black Lighting and Katanna. I’m not gonna get into their backstories because it’s of no use to the story at large and honestly it was probably just squuezed in there so that they could sell another team book down the line. Attract old fans of the Outsiders.
Metal is just one big crossover event designed to create a new characters and sell new books. I mean that’s all the prelude comics are doing here, setting up new characters to introduce at a later date. There’s like eight different spin off books coming from this one crossover event- it’s astounding.
So Batman is in Greece looking for the forge of Hephaestus, the Black Smith of the Greek Gods. He get’s in a fight with a Griffin and Wonder Woman intervenes.
Wonder Woman of course is an Amazon warrior from the Island of Themascyra, her real name is Princess Diana (Her secret identity Diana Prince) and she was raised by a society of Warrior Women. She was told from a young age by her Mother that she was made of clay and that Zeus turned her into an actual baby, kind of like Pinnochio. In reality she’s one of Zeus’ many Bastard Children, she’s essentially a Demi God that fights Mythical Cretures and Aliens. I like her, she’s one of the very few Superheroes who actually has their shit together.
They talk a little, everyone is very concerned about this new case Bruce is pursuing. They enter the forge but find it to be empty, Diana tells Bruce that the Greek Gods were warned of some catastrophic war and have thus abandoned Earth so that they can get the hell out of dodge.
Diana hands him a blade made of fire and tells Bruce not to lose it. Keep in mind that Bruce Wayne is a relentless asshole so it goes about as well as you could expect.
So Batman makes a trip to his Lunar Batcave (because of course he has a Batcave on the Moon) and talks to Mr Terriffic, who is this super genius that travels through the Multiverse and builds a lot of shit. His real name is Michael Holt and he’s extremely intelligent, he’s created these flying metalic spheres called “T-Spheres” that shoot lazers and do a bunch of stuff.
…You can tell I know next to nothing about Mr. Terrific, can’t you?
He’s another B-List, maybe C-List superhero that is in a lot of these Crisis Story-lines because he travels in between worlds. I’ve never really seen a fan of Mr. Terrific, no one really gives a shit about him. He’s just kind of…there.
Anyway he and Batman often work together to create some stuff, almost none of it ends well. Honest to God the amount of times Batman has almost destroyed the world accidentally while playing with shit he barely understands is truly astounding. In this instance Mr. Terrific is helping out with research on the mysterious Dark Energy emerging from all these Various metals.
They’re also trying to help Plastic Man who has sealed himself off in some kind of egg. Now for those of you unaware who Plastic Man is, he’s basically a mix between a dumber Mr Fantastic and Barney Stinson. His real name is Patrick “Eel” O’Brien. He was once a petty thief until he got in an accident with some chemicals that altered his genetic code, giving his body the ability to expand and shrink and form different shapes- like elastic.
In this story-line it’s revealed that Plastic Man gained his powers by falling into a vat of chemicals, this vat of chemicals was the property of the Court of Owls who were trying to replicate the Dionesium chemical but to no avail. This vat of chemicals gave him his powers, but it also laced his genes with a frequency that connected to the Dark Energy and once that frequency got significantly heightened he started seeing the fucked up things in the Dark Multiverse. So to avoid him being driven insane and turning evil he locked himself up in this egg and now Batman wants to let him out.
So after this we can a scene where Batman visits the fortress of Solitude, which is basically Superman’s hideout in Antarctica. You’ve seen the Christopher Reeves movies, it’s made of crystals and shit. Superman goes there to chill out, hence the name. He has a zoo in there with all these exotic alien creatures, it’s bizarre.
Superman, by the way, is an Alien from the Planet Krypton. He was sent to Earth as a baby when his planet was destroyed, he’s essentially a refugee. The radiation from our yellow sun has infused his cells, which makes him super strong- practically invincible. He can fly, shoot lasers from his eyes, can freeze things with his breath- all that stuff.
The explanation for how he can fly bugs me though. They say “Oh, it’s because Krypton was larger and Earth has a weaker gravity so that’s how he can get in the air” and…yeah, enhanced muscles and bones can get you to jump incredible bounds…but how the hell does weaker gravity excuse the fact that the guy can bend the laws of physics???
I kind of wish that for some Super Powers they didn’t try to explain how they worked. Like, how much stuff in Real life that happens and we have no idea how it works? We don’t know so much, so why should people in Comics know everything? Imagine if nobody knew how Superman could fly- how that would just baffle everyone.
That might be one of the many reasons Lex Luthor hates Superman- because he can’t stand not understanding how he can fly.
Anyway, Batman has this secret room in underneath the fortress that is practically impenetrable. So he get’s Mr. Miracle to break the lock. Mr. Miracle of course is an Alien from New Genesis, where the New Gods live (Hyper advanced, super powered aliens) this planet is right next door to Apokolips, the home of Darkseid- DC’s equivalent to Thanos.
The two planets were at war for a long time, but they stroke a peace agreement. The price was that the leaders of each planet would have to trade sons. The Highfather (Leader of New Genesis) had to accept and raise Darkseid’s son Orion, while Darkseid had to accept and raise the Hightfather’s son- Scott Free (Mr Miracle) but while the Highfather was fairly civil with his adopted son, Darkseid threw his token into prison- where he was tortured but eventually escaped after becoming one of the most skilled escape artists in the Universe.
So Mr Miracle unlocked this impenetrable door and was really concerned with what he found, he raised this concern with Batman but Bruce just told him to fuck off. Inside this impenetrable room is an Antenna known as the Anti-Monitor Tower.
This device emerged in the Justice League story-line “Darkseid War” in which a being known as the Anti-Monitor invaded the Justice League’s universe and killed Darkseid. Darkseid is a God, so all his power was divided up between the Justice League and for a while they were Gods.
The Anti-Monitor is a being known as Mobius who sought to see the beginning of the Multiverse, but when he did he was transformed. There’s several different Universes. There’s a regular universe filled with regular matter and there’s another universe filled with Anti-Matter. The Anti-Monitor watches over all the universes in the Multiverse full of Anti- Matter, he’s an incredibly powerful being that can warp reality and destroy practically anything.
So this Anti-Monitor tower essentially connects to the Dark Energy of the Dark Multiverse. It’s very confusing but that’s how it works.
So Bruce turns this machine on and then we cut back to Duke and Hal in this secret Batcave and they discover that Batman has imprisoned the Joker there.
The reason Batman has locked the Joker in his basement is because…well, he’s a crazy person. But also because both Batman and the Joker were exposed to the Dionesium and it’s affecting them somehow. Joker knows a lot of stuff about the Metals and what the hell is going on, so Batman regularly interrogates him to find out what he wants to know- but the Joker is terrified of what he knows and he tries to stop Batman from carrying on with this investigation.
This starts off the second prelude comic; Dark Days: The Casting. Like the previous comic it opens with the journal of Carter Hall as he reveals that his pursuit of an archaeological investigation has lead to the discovery of the first three tribes of man; the Bird Tribe, the Wolf Tribe and the Bear Tribe. These are the tribes the immortals are descended from, but there’s one more tribe that existed that everyone forgot about- a Bat Tribe.
So Hawkman and Hawkgirl met up with a group of immortals in the early twentieth century, this group contained various different characters; Wizards and Witches like Shazam, Merlin, Morganna and then regular immortals like Vandal Savage and Ra’s Al Ghul.
Hawkman reveals that he and his wife are far older than they remember, that they had been reincarnating thousands of years before their time in Egypt- as far back as the dawn of man. They conclude that their nemesis Hath Set removed their memories for some unknown reason. Hawkman concludes that they have to investigate the mysterious dark energy behind this.
So Batman is investigating this destroyed Cadmus base in Colarado. Cadmus of course is one of the various genetic engineering projects set up by the government to do some shady shit and create people with super powers alongside downright monsters. Batman encounters a creature known as Dubbilex, who was once a man but has been genetically altered with Alien DNA and now has grey skin and horns, alongside telepathic abilities.
He dies right in front of him, warning Batman to stop investigating this case. Batman is a little shook and then Talia shows up, which makes things a little weird. It’s kind of obvious that she’s only there so that Batman could acknowledge an Assassin named “Silencer” who is one of the many new characters that are being introduced at the end of this crossover event.
So they get talking and Batman decides to trade the sun blade, the weapon Diana explicitly told him not to lose, in exchange for the Dagger of Shazam. A weapon that contains all the powers of the wizard who grants powers to Captain Marvel, or as he’s known as now, Shazam.
We cut back to Hawkman who reveals that he and his wife set up the Black Hawks alongside Challengers mountain, home of the Challengers of the Unknown. A group of adventurers that travelled through the Multiverse to battle aliens and the paranormal. It’s revealed that they tried to do an experiment to investigate the Dark Energy and ended up plunging Challengers Mountain into the Dark Multiverse.
We cut back to the Batcave and Joker is trying to sabotage that brought Batman back to life/restored his memories so that he can’t further investigate this Dark Energy. Duke and Hal fight him and all the while the Joker is laying out some really comprehensive shit;
So that’s a lot of information to unpack. First off, Meta-Humans are essentially the DC equivalent of Mutants. They’re people who are born with powers or sometimes gain powers later on. What differentiates Superman and the Flash is that although they both possess Super Powers, Superman isn’t human while the Flash is- hence the term Meta-Human.
What Snyder essentially does here is connect all the various things in the DC Universe into one unique package. The strongest, or at least the most powerful, metal on earth is Nth/Ninth metal which has both magic properties and magic repellent properties. The weaker version of that metal is Eighth Metal- used by Gods and other Deities, maybe even Demons.
Metals below the Eight vary in their purity. Some of them remain in liquid form and act essentially as a Pool of Eternal Youth, i.e. a Lazarus Pit or the Dionesium pit. Weaker versions of that metal would be used by the Court of Owls in their Electrum and the Promethium in the Machine Batman uses to revive himself after “Dying“.
Lower metals could have somehow found their way into people’s blood streams, changing their DNA to give them heightened strength and various other abilities. It may even explain why some Humans could harness the power of Magic; because the Metal in their blood allows them the energy to harness this power. But that latter point has yet to be confirmed, it’s just a theory of mine.
So the Joker says that Duke is one of these Meta-Humans and that the only reason that Batman keeps him around is so that he can act as a gateway, or more accurately as a window, into the Dark Multiverse. Which is kind of a dick thing for Bruce to do, though honestly I believe that Snyder intended for Duke to become Robin- which would be nice, having a Black Robin, or at least a Robin who happens to be Black would be nice.
But of course Grant Morrison was always planning on bringing Damian back as Robin and he’s going to be stuck in that position for at least the next twenty years, so Snyder had this character and he didn’t know what to do with him- so he turned him into this Meta Human for this really Meta story arc.
I’m trying to think of the writing process for that. Contrary to popular belief most writers don’t plan out their story in intricate detail. No, it’s more like you set out with this idea- often times a vague idea- and when you’re writing all these threads come to you, threads of imagery, threads of foreshadowing, threads of intertextuality that you wove into something you can’t quite name yet.
My reaction to this is something along the lines of “Oh, Oh, OH- OH SHIT- that’s clever- I’ma use that shit” and you just wove together this narrative with these intricate set ups you found miraculously- these threads come at you and you’re trying to grab as many as you can. But sometimes you miss some threads and you kick yourself afterwards, but you wove on regardless.
When you write like that it’s hard to stay in the real world, it’s like you’re a Dog with a Steak- you got the Taste of Blood and you just can’t Stop. John Green referred to this process as if he were in a world of his own, I talk about that in my article “Cheyene, Wyoming” it has nothing to do with Cheyenne, Wyoming.
I love that panel above, it implies that the Justice League has a Lawyer and that they had to sit down for hours on end going through all this paper work- almost definitely because they were worried that Bruce would do shady shit like this.
“Ok, next item on the agenda- Prohibition of Imprisoning Supervillians in your Basement”
“Wait, is that really a Problem we have to address?”
And for disclosure, when Hal says; “How do we even know if that’s the real Joker?” he’s talking about the climax of the Darkseid War, where Batman became the God of Knowledge as he was in possession of the Mobius Chair- a device that allowed it’s user to answer any question they desired- a bastion of knowledge. When Batman asked the chair “Who is the Joker?” it simply answered “There are Three” meaning that in his world, there are three different Jokers at large.
…Yeah, I ain’t even gonna comment on that shit.
So Batman says that he needs Duke’s powers to access the Dark, saying that because his machine is damaged he needs some help. Hal gives Duke his Power Ring and because Duke can manipulate light he’s capable of forming a new machine that Batman can use, powered with the dagger of Shazam.
What Batman did here was essentially poke a hole in the fabric of the Multiverse, uncovering the dark towards the Dark Multiverse. He’s disappointed at first because he doesn’t understood yet- that everything he’s just done isn’t the end, but rather the end of the beginning.
The prelude comic ends with Carter Hall finishing his journal, warning the reader to stop this investigation and to turn back. Carter himself has opened a doorway to the Dark Multiverse with the remaining Nth Metal from the crashed Thanagarian ship, he steps through and is never seen again.
We get a Glimpse of a Cult in a cave system, a group of people in Dark Cloaks with large Bat Skulls upon their heads. They talk about what is to come and that the dark lord will return top plunge the world into Darkness.
The next comic opens with Hawkman discussing the first tribes and then we see the Justice League battling on Mongul’s War World. Mongul is a Superman villain, the ruler of a Space Empire where he entertains his Citizens by forcing his enslaved prisoners and people in his debt to fight in this gladiator pit against each-other or monsters and even robots.
So this story opens up like a Bond film, at the tail end of another adventure. Honestly I fucking love this opening, for a multitude of reasons. Firstly I appreciate that the artist, Greg Capullo, has all the characters in a proper fighting stances- particularly Wonder Woman who is leading the team.
Usually in Comics the women would be drawn in these ridiculous poses that serve no purpose in a fight outside of exposing their ass and tits- it annoys the hell out of me. Firstly, it’s a really stupid fighting pose that exposes the person to a lot of issues i.e. lack of balance. Second, it’s a really unnecessary sexualisation of women- no man gives a shit how pretty wonder woman looks in a Fight.
It’s a pet peeve of mine, this kind of stuff. So it’s nice to see an artist that understands that this kind of stuff is unnecessary.
So Mongul has kidnapped the Justice League alongside Hiro Okamura, a Jaoanese Super-genius and Inventor who is an ally of Superman- he goes by Toyman, as does several other Superman characters. This Toyman is a Teenager that creates giant mechs to fight monsters, so Mongul of course kidnaps him and forces him to develop killer robots to fight the Justice League.
It’s important to acknowledge that the League is currently depowered due to the armour that is attached to them, so they’re mostly fighting on Batman’s level. They have a bit of difficulty at first, but Batman realises that Toyman has developed these robots to act as mech machines for the League- so he tells them all to be swallowed alive by the Robots, that in turn allows them to gain control of the Mechs and forge one Super-Mech, or even a Zorg.
It’s these ridiculous moments that I fucking love this Storyline. I mean, for five years in the New 52 Cyborg never said Booyah, not even once. That’s like Homer Simpson never saying “D’Oh” it’s a trademark to his character- he’s a happy man.
I also love how Barry complains about being the foot, but you don’t even hear Hal acknowledge the fact that he’s the Pelvis- the Groin.
God Dammit, I love Scott Snyder.
The Justice League return to Earth, wearing these weird breathing devices on their faces. Either that or that’s how they manage to talk in the vacuum of space. If it was the prior it seems a little pointless, because if the lack of Oxygen doesn’t kill you then the radiation, heat and cold will kill you- simultaneously.
But of course the latter reason is more plausible. Perhaps Superman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman have very thick skin while Green Lantern’s power ring protects him, the breathing apparatus is probably just used as a communication device in the vacuum of space. Either way, it’s adorable that Snyder is trying to incorporate the Laws of Physics in a ridiculous story like this.
But anyway, the League get back to Gotham only to find that Challengers Mountain has somehow appeared in the heart of the city. The reason of course is that Batman had poked a hole in the fabric of the multiverse that has allowed the Dark Multiverse to get it’s foot through the door- it allowed an object of this earth, Challengers Mountain, to return.
The League investigate the Mountain, trying to ignore the catastrophic damage the mountain’s sudden appearance has wrought. They find the challengers of the unknown hibernating in cyrosleep chambers alongside Red Tornado, a red robot capable of generating tornadoes.
The League meet the Black Hawks and are introduced to Lady Black Hawk, Kednra Saunders. They then rendezvous at Blackhawk Island, which Kendra says is some type of mystical plain that hovers in between reality. She later discloses that there are several locations on earth similar to it i.e. Themascyra, Nanda Parbat, Dinosaur Island- all these places have high quantities of these heavy metals that vibrate at a different frequency that the rest of the world, hence why it’s very difficult to find these locations and why they can sometimes vanish into thin air.
Now before I go forward I better explain the DC Multiverse;
So the Multiverse theory states that our Universe isn’t the only Universe, but that there are potentially hundreds if not thousands of Universes collected in a Multiverse- kind of like how there are billions of Galaxies in our Universe. It’s a complicated idea, there are smarter people than me that have a better understanding of it.
But that idea has basically been incorporated by DC and Marvel Comics to explain how all their stories fit in together. I mean as far as Batman is concerned there are hundreds if not thousands of stories that directly contradict themselves and people keep writing themselves into corners so they’re forced to Reboot the entire universe just so they can churn out more stories.
It’s a way to connect seemingly unrelated storylines and to explain away weird stuff that can happen- it opens up a variety of possibilities. Want to read a Story where Batman fights Jack the Ripper? There’s a Universe for that. Want to read a story where Superman becomes a Communist? There’s a Universe for that.
The idea of the Multiverse first arised in the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, in which the Justice League had to team up with their other worldly counterparts to fight the Anti-Monitor before he destroyed reality as we know it. That crossover event was largely just acting as a reboot, ushering in a Darker era of comics. These crisis events happen again and again, the most ridiculous for me personally is that time Superboy Prime punched reality and that caused everything to reset.
Then of course there’s the New 52, started by Barry Allen (the Flash) doing what he does best- fucking up the timeline by trying to save his mother and in the process accidentally destroyed the Multiverse- creating a new Multiverse with a finite number of planets (fifty two, exactly) because why the fuck not. And now they reveal that Dr Manhattan from Watchmen has been fucking about with the Multiverse and…yeah, I’m lost.
The best explanation of the Multiverse I found came from Owlman, the Evil Batman of Earth Three;
“With the coming of man came the illusion of free will and with that illusion… came chaos. With every choice we make, we literally create a world. History branches in two, creating one earth where we made the choice and a second where we didn’t. That’s the secret of the universe, you know, billions of people, making billions of choices, creating infinite Earths. Some so similar to each other you could spend a lifetime trying to find any distinction; others so radically different they defy comprehension.”
That quote came from the movie “Crisis on Two Earths” great movie, Owlman is this cataclysmic nihilist who becomes disillusioned with reality itself after discovering the Multiverse. Because if every possibility is happening all the time everywhere then why does your choices matter? Owlman realised that every decision he’d ever made was completely meaningless, because on another earth there was a version of him that made the opposite choice.
So he sets out to destroy the Multiverse, realising that the it was the only choice that truly mattered. He failed of course, but he was a great villain regardless. He’s voiced by James Woods who did a fantastic job, it’s just an utter shame he’s a Racist bastard.
So if the Multiverse is created on the choices people make, then the Dark multiverse is created on these people’s worse fears i.e. what would happen if Batman killed and then became the Joker? All those nightmare realms.
Kendra explains the existence of the Dark Multiverse and then concludes that Batman is the key to all of this- that he is the one who will unintentionally bring the Demon Barbatos from the Dark into this world. Snyder is very fond of writing very comprehensive dialogue focusing on the literal definitions of certain words, such as the word “Wayne” originated from the word “Wagon” and therefore Bruce Wayne is acting as a Wagon for Barbatos.
It’s quite quaint.
Of course Batman is very insulted that she insinuated he may accidentally tear the fabric of the Universe apart (which he did) and there’s a heated argument. Then Red Tornado goes batshit crazy, screaming “You opened the door!” of course referencing the prelude comic in which Batman punched a hole into the Dark Multiverse, allowing Challengers Mountain to emerge.
There’s a scuffle and Batman escapes before the Blackhawks and the Justice League can apprehend him.
Hawkman discusses some of the Tribes again, mentioning a group known as “The Judas Tribe” which of course were a family, or a set of families that were part of the Bird Tribe that betrayed them and sided with the Bat Tribe and Barbatos when he initially tried to invade 12,000 years earlier at the dawn of civilisation.
For those of you that don’t know, Judas was the Disciple that sold out Jesus to the Romans and the Pharisees- he’s directly responsible for his death. All in the name of a few silver pieces.
Batman makes his way back to the Batcave and feels an inclination to go upstairs where he finds a glow from under some floorboards, he opens them up to find Carter Hall’s journal. He hears a man’s voice and is greeted by a man who call’s himself Daniel; the Sandman.
So what the New 52 did was allow for Vertigo characters to be incorporated with the mainstream DC Universe, that’s why characters such as Midnighter can now interact with Nightwing. Daniel is a character from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, he’s one of the many entities of aspects of the universe (i.e. Death, Desire, Destiny etc) Daniel is known as Dream, he’s in charge of watching over dreams, fictional stories and the imagination in general.
It’s a pretty meta concept and I myself am having a hard time grasping it, but basically he acts as the Sandman- the Guardian of Dreams. He’s interested in this case because the Dark Multiverse is a realm of nightmares- stories that should never have been brought to fruition, this is his wheelhouse.
That brief introduction concludes the first issue of Metal, the second one starts out with something very interesting;
The person Hawkman is talking about is Krona, the original name of the Overmonitor. The person who watches over all of reality abiding by regular matter- he’s the complete opposite to the Anti-Monitor. This is a little set up Snyder is engaging in. Most people (including myself) forgot about this so keep that name in the back of your head, it’ll pay off later on.
So the Justice League are looking for Batman, mainly because they’re worried friends but also because Bruce fucking Wayne is about to accidentally tear the fabric of the universe apart because he can’t just stop following a hunch. The league is stretched thin across the globe, some of them are in Gotham. Some in Metropolis, Green Arrow found himself in Gorilla City;
Gorilla City is a secret civilisation of Highly Intelligent Gorillas that live in secrecy in the heart of Africa. They’re mostly known because of Grodd, a telepathic gorilla who is an enemy of the Flash.
So the league is scouring the globe and eventually find Batman in the Amazon Rain-forest, the only problem is he has duplicates of himself running about so the league doesn’t know which one is the real Bruce. But of course they do eventually take them all out.
The decoys are mostly members of the Bat Family or the Gotham Knights initiative, the Bat Family is the characters that have a direct familial bond with Batman i.e. side kicks and partners. The Gotham Knights are a program of vigilantes that work alongside the family, but they aren’t what I consider familial. I mean we have Luke Fox who is an acquaintance at best, Azrael is a frenemy, we have Batwoman (Batman’s Cousin) but they literally never hang out outside of work so they’re more along the lines of work colleagues and then we have Clayface who is a reformed supervillains- he isn’t what I would classify as family material for obvious reasons.
If you want to check out the Gotham Knights I highly recommend picking up the Rebirth Detective Comics series- it’s really good.
We get a panel of Damian driving a truck and talking to his Dad. It was quite nice, Snyder never really has Bruce interact with his Family that much.
I mean the Court of Owls storyline only showed a brief interaction between Bruce and Dick, Death of the Family was an extremely traumatic event- not exactly the best family time, there was that obligatory story he had to write when Damian died (as did every other person writing about a Batman character in the Canon) and that was really the only glimpse we ever get to see Snyder tackle Bruce’s family side.
I think that’s a fair criticism of Snyder, he loves Batman and he loves Alfred- but he doesn’t seem to love the rest of the family.
The decoy Batmen lead the Justice league further into the swamp of the amazon, Nightwing takes off the mask and reveals he’s carrying a flower that can kill all the plant life around him if he drops it. This alerts the being known as Swamp Thing becaus eth league are currently standing in the middle of the Parliament of trees.
Swamp Thing was once a man named Alec Holland, a bio engineer working on a formula to turn deserts into forests. One day someone sabotaged his Louisianan lab, an explosion happened and Alec burned alive- but he made sure to reach the swamp before he died. He was contaminated with the formula and soon bonded with the nature around him, becoming Swamp Thing.
Swamp Thing is the protector of the Green, all life and vegetation on earth. The parliament of trees are a group of plant elementals (i.e. talking trees) that act as supporting characters to Swamp Thing- so for some fucking reason the environment runs on a democracy. Weird.
Bruce and Damian are back in the truck, driving away. They’re pretty confident they succeeded, until Superman crashes through the roof and lifts Batman off into the sky. He says that he knows Bruce, that he can identify him from billions of people just by the sound of his heartbeat- which, y’know, is a totally Platonic Heterosexual Bro thing to say. Definitely not Gay in the slightest.
Clark is concerned for Bruce and Batman confines in him, that he’s worried about this case and that he feels that he’s being set up;
So of course when Batman mentions that time he went back in time, he’s referencing the aftermath of the event “Final Crisis” in which the Justice League presumed Bruce to be finding his burnt corpse, while in actuality it was a clone of him. The real Bruce was sent back in time after being grazed by one of Darkseids Omega beams (they’re like Superman’s heat vision but far more powerful and controllable) and he was sent back to the stoneage.
Bruce discovered that the Omega beam lead faint traces throughout the time periods he had visited, so all he had to do to get back home was find the areas on earth where these Omega remnants are strongest and he could jump forward in time. It’s a weird story, essentially it was an excuse to see Batman fight as a Caveman, a Knight, a Pirate, a 1930’s Detective and then have him land back home as if everything were fine.
But while Bruce was travelling through time he grabbed the attention of a Demon named Barbatos, who apparently has been in the Batman Mythos since the 80’s but he’s only come to full fruition now. Apparently one of Bruce’s ancestors had summoned the Demon/Bat God in the late 1700’s alongside Thomas Jefferson in this Satanic Ritual where they killed a virgin. He summoned this giant bat that drove him insane- that’s Barbatos.
Bruce believes that the only reason he was able to come back was because Barbatos let him, hence why all this Metal stuff has got him super paranoid. Superman notices something is off with Bruce, so this happens;
It was Clayface all along, Bruce implanted a fake heartbeat which tricked Superman. Clark is totally not devastated by this revelation, his Platonic Heterosexual Bro heart remains perfectly intact.
So Batman has fooled the Justice League and we cut to Kendra Saunders, who’s in a desperate state and seeks the help of the worst people on the planet;
It’s the Legion of Doom, or at least the Immortal members. Vandal Savage (Evil Immortal Fascist Caveman) says that the lair was designed for another purpose, totally not for evil, but it now serves as a meeting place for the Immortals.
When Kendra refers to the visions, that happened in the previous issue. John Henry Irons is a Superman ally known as Steel. We he wears this metal armour that grants him super strength and carries this giant hammer, which is apparently made of Nth metal. So because Dr Fate’s helmet and Steel’s hammer are made of Nth metal, they can sense the Dark multiverse (the place Nth Metal derives its power from) and have thus seen visions of the Evil Batmen.
Kendra talks to the immortals and they discus their plans of launching the Anti-Monitors brain directly into the Multiverse, destroying it.
So the room of immortals features a variety of characters, the old black guy is the wizard Mamaragan, who gave Shazam his powers (the man chained to him is, I presume, Black Adam- his nemesis) he oversees the rock of Eternity, a magical plain that harnesses the power of shazam and is directly connected to the Dark Multiverse.
Beside him is Morgaine le Fey, a Sorcerer and Sister of King Arthur. The man in the blue hat is the Phantom Stranger, an eternal being cursed to walk the earth for all eternity after committing an unspeakable crime- he’s kind of like a ghost that fights crime and other magic beings.
Across the room we get Ra’s Al Ghul (it’s weird to see him in a place where he’s considered the youngest) to his right I believe that’s Jason Blood, a Human Knight cursed to be the vessel of a Rhyming Demon named Etrigan-who shoots fire from his mouth and kills a lot of people.
The man to his left is Abel, from Cain and Abel. In the DC Universe Cain is a Good Guy and Abel is pure evil, so when Cain kills Abel he just comes back to life and…well, that’s their life. Cain is also in the room, he’s one of the beings in the shadows. Beside him is Baron Winters and Solomon Grundy (Super Strong Zombie) and that’s the room.
The Anti-Monitor brain is again another reference to the Darkseid war, in which the Anti-Monitor (After ridding himself of the Anti-Life equation and returning to his former self- Mobius) was killed by Steve Trevor (Wonder Woman’s boyfriend and Fighter Pilot) who now possessed the Anti-Life equation. Eviscerating everything but his skeleton and brain.
The brain is filled with pure Anti-Matter, so when they launch the brain into the heart of the Dark Multiverse it wouldn’t be sustainable- so the released energy causes it the entire Dark Multiverse to self implode. Or at least that’s the plan.
Batman ends up exploring the tomb of Carter Hall’s Egytptian counterpart, he talks to Dream/Daniel who says that he can’t help him (he gives this vague riddle, which basically translates to “Once you’re in the Dark Multiverse, let me know and I’ll come get you“) and then disappears. Clark and Diana show up and they’re very concerned, then this happens;
I love how Clark and Diana aren’t really phased by Bruce just lifting up a baby Darkseid from his backpack, their tone is of an expected disappointment you’d have if you found your alcoholic friend with a bottle of bucky- “Really? We’re doing this again?”
Darkseid is a baby due to the Darkseid War, in which he died and thus had to be born again. Grail is his daughter, her mother was an amazon warrior that explicitly procreated with Darkseid and trained her so that she would then kill him. It’s pretty fucked up. But when the Anti-Monitor died, Grail took the infant Darkseid and has been looking after him ever since.
So Batman’s plan is to travel back in time, with Hawkman’s mace (made of Nth metal) and kill Barbatos before he does some funky shit. But it turns out that this place wasn’t the Tomb of Hawkman, it was actually the tomb of his Nemesis Hath Set and it was a trap.
Superman and Wonderwoman are hit with some magic so they’re practically useless and Batman is shot with a series of hundred of needles that taget his muscles- rendering him unable to move. The Bat cult (Strigidae, Scientific Name for “True Owl” they’re a sect of the Court of Owls) and then some members of the Court arrive, announcing that they are the descendants of the Judas Tribe- the people who turned on the Bird tribe to side with the Bats and Brabatos.
So the way the Court are talking, it appears that the Strigydae are like Talons in that they’re practically immortal due to Electrum- but they were put under ice for preservation. This may imply that the Judas Tribe learned about Electrum from Barbatos and the Bat Tribe, how to wield it and where to find it.
Batmanium of course dates back to Snyder’s last story arc in the New 52, in which Batman was “dead” and the GCPD teamed up with Wayne Industries to create a new Batman Program- which involved former police commissioner Jim Gordon running about in a Mech suit. It was a weird time.
Anyway, in one issue Jim is talking to a woman by the name of Geri Powers, possibly a member of the Court but she’s definitely related to a Batman Beyond supervillain with the same last name. She reveals that her company was doing an experiment and ended up creating a new Heavy metal, which they named “Batmanium” out of respect of the then slain hero.
The Metal is extremely heavy, they made a Batarang that weighed about two tons and it was only the size of your torso- so a hand sized one would definitely be too heavy to throw. So that explains why they needed the metal in it’s molten form to anoint Batman, in doing so Batman fades away and opens up a portal to the Dark Multiverse.
The Court are excited to meet their Bat God, but what comes out from the portal first are these crazed Robins that eat the Court alive, all the while screaming “Crow” in reference to Jason Todd’s death at the hands of a Crowbar. It’s a horrifying scene, Clark and Diana ask where is Bruce and we get this;
So that’s the Evil Batmen, or “The Dark Knights” or “Dark Nights” if you will. Each of them is a version of Batman that fucked up and became a bad guy, most of whom possess the powers and abilities of his fellow Justice League members- except for one, who became the Joker. And of ciurse there’s Barbatos in the Back.
Each of them got their own solo issue, almost none of them are worth buying unless you’re a collector. I’m gonna churn out their Origins real quick, alongside the Hero/Villain who they are parodying.
So the Red Death is an Evil Batman from Earth -52, the Dark Universe equivalent of Earth 52. In this universe all Bruce’s family (i.e. Son & Sidekicks) are dead and he goes crazy. He wants the Speed force so he can go back and time and stop them from dying, the only problem being the Flash won’t give him access to it.
The Flash’s real name is Barry Allen, a Forensic Scientist orphaned at a Young Age by his Arch Nemesis- Reverse Flash. One day in his lab, Barry get’s struck by a Bolt of Lightning that bonds him with several different chemicals in the room- sending him into a coma. When he awakes he discovers that he has the ability to run incredibly fast, initially at the speed of sound but later at the Speed of Light. He can do this because he’s connected to something known as the Speed Force, an extra-dimensional energy that powers all the Speedsters ability and allows them to travel back in time and to different universes.
So Bruce and Barry fights, Batman wins and ends up tying the Flash to the Batmobile- which he engineered to have the same capabilities of the Flash’s cosmic treadmill- a device that allows him to travel back in time. He literally drives them head on into the speed-force, the result is that Bruce and Barry are now merged into one person- the Red Death.
Bruce goes on a killing spree, murdering all his supervillains. Barry is helpless as he is stuck in the back of his mind. The Red Death thinks he’s one but he soon realises that his world is doomed for destruction- as are all Dark Multiverse worlds. They’re only there to forge nightmares, and once that nightmare comes to full fruition the world self implodes.
That’s the motivation behind almost all the Dark Knights- they want to save their world from destruction. The Batman Who Laughs shows up and offers the Red Death Salvation, he just has to join his army.
Once the Dark Knights arrive on Earth, the Red Death heads to Central City where he channels the Dark Multiverse speed-force to accelerate everyone’s ageing- including Iris West (Barry’s Wife) and Wally West (Barry’s Sidekick, Kid Flash and Iris’ nephew) soon enough Barry shows up and is almost killed- but at the last minute Dr. Fate shows up and saves him.
The Murder Machine is a culmination of both Batman and Cyborg, it’s probably the only issue you should bother reading as far as plot is concerned as it details what the hell happened to this Earth’s Cyborg.
So this villain is from Earth -44, the negative version of Earth 44 in which everyone is a killer robot. What happens to this Batman is that Alfred is brutally murdered by all the Rogues in the Batcave, a grief stricken Bruce is aided by Cyborg in developing something known as the Alfred Protocol. An AI that is in reference to Snyder’s last New 52 Story Arc. The Alfred protocol is the AI that operates the Machine that brings Batman back to life/ restores his memories.
In this version, the AI becomes self aware and starts killing all the rogues because it’s able to form hard light holograms of Alfred that can attack people- an army of Alfreds. The AI goes a little crazy and Bruce merges with it to form a Cyborg body, he now posses the abilities of Cyborg.
Cyborg’s real name is Victor Stone, a Highschool Athlete who suffered a terrible accident that nearly killed him. Fortunately his father was a Scientist working for ARGUS (Labratory/Government Agency) and was able to keep him alive using the various technologies he was in possession of. Victor’s new Cyborg body allows him to hack computers and create weapons out of his body.
He was originally a member of the Teen Titans (Junior Justice League) but in the New 52 he was a founding member of the Justice League- what’s different about him now is that in his chest he possesses a Mother Box, the technology Darkseid and his minions use to create wormholes known as “Boom Tubes” which essentially allow them to transport anything to anywhere. It’s a teleporter essentially.
The Murder Machines ends up slaughtering his version of the Justice League and deploys his Alfred bots all across the globe creating an international police state. But he soon discovers that his world is doomed and that’s when Joker-Batman shows up to recruit him.
The Murder Machine ends up attacking Cyborg, along with all the rest of the Dark Knights, in the Justice League watchtower. They cripple him and take the mother box from his chest, all the while Cyborg’s father listens on the phone in horror. All the while the Murder Machine has deployed his Alfred bots to Victor’s home town of Detroit where they start killing everybody.
Apparently the Mother Box has a special metal in it that could destroy the Dark Knights so they had to take him out, Cyborg’s armour is made of Promethium. The same metal used to anoint Batman, it’s possible that Bruce got the metal for his machine from Victor.
The Dawnbreaker is from Earth -32, the opposite of Earth 32 in which Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. What happens to this sad sack of shit is that his Parents die but immediately after they hit the ground he gets a Green Lantern ring. His willpower is so string that he overpowers it, rewriting it’s internal software so that he can kill the man who murdered his parents.
He tries to bring his parents back to life but that’s not in the rings ability, so what he does is create a light projection of them- a Ghost essentially. He’s capable of generating these powerful light projections, just like Green Lantern but far more deadly. And let’s face it, at one point in his miserable life, he imagined a woman and fucked a light projection- it was bound to happen, let’s just accept it and move on.
I imagine Hal Jordan tried the same thing, but I have the strangest feeling that the Guardians wrote the Ring’s software to explicitly not allow the user to create a light projection to pleasure themselves. That or the Guardians had to rewire the rings after learning Hal successfully did bust a nut using his power ring, meaning he is the first member of the Corps- in the centuries it has existed- that used the great power bestowed to create a bright green sex toy. What a pioneer.
So this grief stricken pre-teen is given a deadly weapon and he spends his entire adolescence and early adulthood just killing people, mostly criminals but he does kill a lot of police- including Jim Gordon.
Things get so bad that the entire Green Lantern corps came to stop him, but by that time he grew so powerful he was capable of literally absorbing all light like a black hole. So everyone elses power rings were useless and he just slaughtered all of them. Afterwards he created this giant power battery, absorbed all its power and became the Dawnvreaker.
But afterward hi s planet imploded, for some reason he remained alive and the Joker-Batman recruited him.
When he got to Earth he went straight to Coast City, Hal Jordan’s home town and started killing people. He got in a fight with Hal Jordan and almost killed him, but of course Dr Fate saved him the last minute. He doesn’t do much after that.
The Drowned is a Batman with the powers of Aquaman, or rather Mera because she’s able to control water and not just fish. She comes from Earth -11, the opposite of Earth 11 where all the genders are switched. So instead of Bruce Wayne it’s Bryce Wayne. I’m sorry, I’m still laughing at the name change- it’s hilarious.
Not many of the Heroes actually have gender opposite names. You could argue that Clark is gender neutrel, Diana could be Dion or Dane- maybe Dean if you were to stretch it. Barry, Hal and Arthur are guy names so the rest of the league is fucked in that regard.
Anyway, what happened to Bryce is that her Boyfriend (Sylvester, the male equivalent of Selina- Catwoman) was killed and she pretty much lost it. When the world discovered Atlantis and it’s inhabitants who were both super strong and could breath underwater, she became obsessed- paranoid that they would wipe her people out.
Eventually there was a war and this happened;
Kind of strange someone would wear heels underwater.
But anyway, the Atlanteans weren’t very happy with Batwoman killing their leader so they flooded Gotham alongside the entire east coast of the USA. This only motivated her to perform a series of surgeries on herself that granted her the ability to breath underwater. She also developed something known as “Deadwater” it’s a type of water that Aquaman can’t breath in.
It also turns humans who encounter it, particularly if they are prone to rage, to turn into a vicious sea monster known as Dead Water.
Aquaman fought several creatures just like this. They’re capable of teleporting via water, even through something as minuscule as a drop. Their hosts turn into these beasts whenever they encounter water, it’s their equivalent of a full moon but much more dire. Whenever they transport through water they access another dimension, a sea of water that Aquaman can’t breath in.
After a few run ins, Aquaman eventually did investigate Deadwater and found that the water originated from a wormhole in the sea that lead to another planet. back then he didn’t know which planet, but now we know it to be Earth -11. If the water is from the Dark Multiverse it must be laced with Nth Metal, hence why Aquaman can’t breath in it and why Mera can’t control it.
So Batwoman, now known as the Drowned, dressed as a drunk pirate and lead an attack on Atlantis with her own Army of Deadwater’s. She slaugheterd each and every Atlantean, thinking she saved the world. While in actuality she fulfilled her destiny as a Nightmare and her world was soon to be destroyed, until Joker-Batman showed up and- you know the rest.
When she got to earth she went directly to Amnesty Bay, Aquaman’s home town by the sea.
Aquaman of course is a man by the name of Arthur Curry, the son of a light house keeper and Princess of Atlantis. Atlanteans were sworn not to interact with the surface world so once his mother gave birth to him, she left him with his father to be raised. He was a lonely kid, felt weird but didn’t understand why, eventually learned he was a Merman. His Dad died, he got discovered and just started swimming about the world until of course he was forced to grow up and become a Hero and later King of Atlantis.
His Wife is Mera, who was originally from Atlantis but it was revealed she was actually from Xebel- an Atlantean prison colony (underwater Australia) and she was sent to kill him but actually fell in love. It’s a nice story, she can kill people with a thought.
So the Drowned is just fucking up Amnesty Bay and then Aquaman and Mera show up. They fight but then she summons up this wave of Dead Water’s- and Aquaman can barely handle one let alone fifty- so Dr. Fate has to save him in the last minute but it was too late for Mera; she was Taken.
The Merciless is a culmination between Batman and Ares, the Greek God of War. This is supposed to be the Evil Bruce Wayne to counterpart Wonder Woman but the two really don’t have anything in common, he doesn’t even have a rope for christ sake.
He originates from Earth -12, the Dark version of Earth 12 where Bruce and Diana marry each other. In this world though Ares launches a War on Humanity with a Helmet that grants him enhanced abilities, making him more powerful than he already was.
On the final battle of the War Diana dies in Bruce’s hands, Ares (for some fucking reason) takes off his helmet. Bruce grabs it, puts it on, and presumes to kill the shit out of Ares. It’s later revealed that Diana wasn’t dead, she was just stunned. Bruce mad with power killed her, in fear she would take the helmet away from him.
Batman, now the Merciless, took the war to Mount Olympus and then killed each and every God. When he was done the Joker-Batman showed up and told him- yeah, you know what happens.
When he got to Earth he couldn’t look at Diana because he was so in love (despite killing her) and then made his way onto Washington DC, where he killed the shit out of everyone.
I don’t want to break down all the characters present because they’re incredibly arbitrary but I did include “Absolutely Everything” in this title so here it goes;
In Washington DC there is a meeting going on about the Dark Multiverse and what to do with this Mount Olympus shenanigans. At this meeting are Steve Trevor (Wonder Woman’s boyfriend), Father Time (Supervillain and the commander of the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive (S.H.A.D.E.), a Patriot Act-funded covert operations group employing metahumans to fight terrorism. His own concerns appear to have at least as much to do with consolidating power as with national security), Amanda Waller- head of Task Force X/Suicide Squad in which she forces Supervillains to be black ops agents in threat of death.
Then of course we have People from the D.E.O which is the department concerned with Aliens and Superpowered beings, they’re like the FBI in that regards. There’s people from ARGUS, which I’ve already explained above. We get General Sam Lane, who is Lois Lane’s father and a for star general.
We meet a Colonel Maria Jonas, who is just there to set up the new spin off book “Damage” which is just a Hulk rip off. Finally we have Mister Bones, a talking skeleton with a corrosive touch- if he touches you he can kill you, he’s a representative of the DEO.
The whole thing is one big dick measuring contest, Sam Lane suggests they nuke Githam while Steve thinks that’s a bad idea. The Merciless shows up and all hell breaks loose. Sam issues an order for his people to nuke Washington to kill this guy.
There’s a plane in the stratosphere that launches the Nuke, it’s piloted by a guy with a cowboy hat that claims to be the Grandson of the Black Eagle- a fighter pilot in WW2 who happened to be black. They drop the nuke but the Merciless absorbs the explosion, they observe the wreckage only to find the Merciless sitting on a throne while everyone around alive worshipping him.
The Devastator, as you can see, is a culmination between Batman and Doomsday- an Alien creature so powerful he killed Superman. He’s from Earth -1, in his world Superman goes crazy, murdered his wife and went on a killing spree- so Batman had to put him down. But of course Superman no longer has any principles so he practically unstoppable, that’s why Batman has to infect himself with the Doomsday Virus to allow him a fighting chance.
The Doomsday Virus is a collection of viral spores that are emitted from Doomsday, which slowly turns those infected into beings like itself if infected in small doses, or killed outright by molecular disassembly combined with extreme burns if the dosage is too high.
With enough concentration and willpower, the transformation into Doomsday can be held back, even reversed, but such effort takes constant willpower to keep up, and may not be enough for everyone. Over time, the infection degenerates the mind into that of a monster of mindless rage.
So Bruce has the willpower to turn into Doomsday and the back into a human. He kills Clark and proceeds to infect the entire world, thinking he’s making everyone stronger when in actuality the virus has driven him insane. He learns that his world is doomed and- you know the rest.
When he gets to Earth, the Devastator (great wrestling name btw) heads directly to Metropolis where he infects Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen (Clark’s best friend) who infect everyone else. The Devestator then fights off Supergirl (Kara Danvers, Superman’s cousin) Superboy (Connor Kent, Superman’s Clone/Son?) and Lois heads home and seals off her son (Jon Kent) in a safe rook to prevent him from catching the virus. The son watches her mother transform right in front of him.
The Devastator then heads to the Fortress of Solitude where he defeats the Justice Society of America (even throws Lobo into the sun) and breaks the Anti Monitor, carries/ jumps to Gotham and rebuilds it. Apparently they need the tuning fork to connect to the Dark Multiverse.
The Batman who laughs is the final and most disturbing member of this entourage. He originates from Earth-22, the opposite of Earth 22- in both worlds the Joker dies. In Earth -22 the Joker kills a good portion of Gotham alongside Jim Gordon, pushing Batman over the edge and forcing him to kill him.
Unbeknownst to Batman, the Joker has a Poison Gas in his heart that is released upon his death- turning his murderer into the Joker. This explains why he wanted Batman to kill him all these years. The reason Joker chose this particular occasion was because the chemicals he was exposed to over the years (particularly the ones that gave him glistening white skin) were killing him- he only had a matter of time.
It’s an interesting theory, though I have to fault Snyder with one detail- why would the Gas be stuck in his heart? There’s no room for it there, it’s just muscles and blood. Surely a better location would be the lungs or the intestines? But then again you don’t want to take the seriousness away by having the poison gas infect Batman via fart- but that would so be in Joker’s character!
Going out with a whimper.
So the Gas made Batman change over time, slowly driving him insane. He brought his family together and consoled in them what he knew, and then proceeded to murder them because they would have stopped him from changing or at the very least knew something was wrong about him. He then goes on a vicious killing spree, murdering his entire world and ending it by infecting Clark with a gas that forced him to murder his Wife and Son before killing himself.
It’s some cold shit. All the while he got some pet robins, infected with some Joker serum and he tortured Damian so much that he drove him insane- so now he has an Evil-Jokerized son. It’s fucked up.
Unlike the other Knights, the Batman who laughs was recruited by Barbatos directly. Ever since then he’s been killing whole other worlds in the Dark Multiverse, waiting for Bruce to open up the door.
He consoles this story into this Prisoner he has, we don’t know who it is because his face is covered in a series of bloodied bandages- but it’s referenced early on in the book.
So Gotham Resistance is very irrelevant, you can go ahead and skip it. All you learn in this mini series is that people from the Dark Multiverse are invulnerable to everything except Nth Metal, one of the most rare metals on the planet.
It starts out with the Batman who Laughs breaking into Arkham Asylum and released the Rogues, giving them these magic cards that warp reality. They in turn went back to Gotham, guarding six different districts in the city. They built up walls and used their magic cards to change the reality of that district i.e. Poison Ivy’s realm was entirely plant based, Riddler’s Realm was a giant puzzle, Mr. Freeze’s realm was a frozen wasteland etc.
The Districts form several rings around Gotham, it’s a direct reference to the Nine Rings of Hell from Dante’s Inferno. Dante’s Inferno was a part of the Divine Comedy, a poem from the 14th Century written by Dante Alighieri. The poem places Dante directly in Hell as he is guided by the Roman poet Vigil. The poem is incredibly significant about how we think of Hell, a lot of the imagery we get of Hell (i.e. Fire and Brimstone, the Devil ruling it) we get from Dante.
There was a lot of Dante references in the 2016 Green Arrow run, so I feel that anyone who’s spent twenty five grand on an English major is putting that degree to good use- hence the use of Dante and other influences of classical literature.
So we cut to Damian who’s leading hos own brand of Teen Titans which includes Beast Boy (Garfield Logan, A boy who can turn onto any animal he wants, he’s also green), Raven- the daughter of a Demon named Trigon- she’s capable of a lot of stuff such as flight, telepathy and teleportation alongside various other magic abilities.
Then we got Aqualad (Kaldur’ahm, he can move water with his mind, similar powers to Aquaman and he’s the son of Black Manta- Arthurs nemesis) alongside Starfire (Koriander, Alien from Tamaran) she’s capable of shooting energy blasts from her hand, is super strong and can fly.
All I’ve just told you is absolutely meaningless because Damian ditches them in the first five minutes to go through Riddler’s maze, while the rest struggle to help civilians. In thr maze Damian meets Green Arrow;
The Green Arrow is a man by the name of Oliver Queen, a Billionaire and Social Justice Warrior who is one of the greatest archers in the DC Universe. If you’ve watched Arrow, you’ll know that Oliver was once a spoilt, carefree rich kid- but all that changed when he was stranded on an island for five years. He perfected his archery skills and developed the skills to survive, testing himself everyday with new challenges.
When he got back to civilisation he had a new found respect for people, particularly the poor- so he became a champion for them- a Robin Hood, if you will. He’s been fighting crime ever since. I highly recommend checking out his Rebirth series, its pretty great.
Damian is lost in the maze and Oliver claims he left a trail of Arrows to mark his way, but Robin notes that due to the heavy magnetism in the area the arrow heads have been dragged along- meaning they’re lost. To make matter worse they meet up with Harley Quinn and Killer Croc;
Harley Quinn of course is the Jokers Girlfriend, or at least for now, Ex Girlfriend. Original name is Harleen Quinzel, she was a Psychiatrist at Arkham looking to make a name for herself- so she thought “Hey, I’m gonna cure the Joker” but in actuality she fell in love with him and became a supervillain. They have a pretty toxic and abusive relationship. For some reason she’s apart of the Suicide Squad.
Killer Croc is a blatant rip off of the Lizard from Spider-Man, except he’s more human based and more poorly written. His real name is Waylon Jones, he has this extremely rare skin disease that makes him have green, rock hard skin strong enough to repel a stray bullet. He was raised in Alambama with his abusive Grnadmother (who he later killed and ate, yes, he’s a cannibal) he lived in a Swamp most of his life. So he’s a great swimmer and can hold his breath for a long time.
He was in the Circus for a while, then moved to Gotham to commit petty crimes and work as muscle for Mob Bosses. He usually lives in the sewer and eats people. Honestly? Croc can be a really great character if he’s written well. Take his appearances in Batman Eternal, he’s this street smart brawler with a heart of gold- not some rambling monster.
I just wish more people understood that.
So they all team up to fight the Riddler in his mech suit and then move on to the next district/ring of hell- Mr. Freeze’s domain. Where they run into Nightwing;
So Nightwing and the gang fight a few Ice Giants. When they stop for a rest Damian raises his concerns about his Father’s safety and then acknowledges that Dick has this giant gash on his forehead with black blood. Nightwing says that he was recently in a fight with Deathwing (Crazy Zombie that thinks its Dick Grayson) who is under the manipulation of Dr Simon Hurt, who is actually an acsetor of Bruce Wayne who travelled forward in time to masquerade as his father. He’s some kind of evil genius.
Anyway, he has this special knife called “The Black Blade” which is made of Nth Metal. The gash refuses to heal as the Nth Metal has triggered the Electrum in Dick’s blood, allowing him to have visions of the Dark multiverse- where he can see Bruce being tortured.
They fight again, until they uncover a secret armoury for the Court of Owls which just so happened to be right under a pile of snow they had moved. For the sake of a coherently plot I’m going to try and imagine that the reason this particular armoury was so easy to find was because the extreme quantities of Dark Energy and Nth Metal have manifested this area that should, by all means, be hidden away underground like all the other Court’s hideouts. But due Mr Freeze’s magic card the location has shifted, hence the ready availability and why it was so easy to find.
That or it’s poor writing, I’ll take either or.
The heroes figure out that the Armoury features weapons made of Nth Metal. So they say “Fuck it” and put on as much shit as possible and so we get this;
It’s a stupid scene for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, why is Harley wearing less clothes? In a fucking Winter Wonderland? Does she not understand how Frostbit works? It’s bad enough with the guys exposing their hands and arms to the cold, but come on- this is stupid.
Also, why the fuck is she wearing a mask? Does she think she has a secret identity? Why does Damian have horns? Why doesn’t Croc have any weapons? Why- y’know what? Fuck it. Let’s move on.
So of course they fight freeze, win and then move onto the next ring.
Mr Freeze of course is Batman’s ice villain (literally everyone has a villain who can control ice) original name Victor Fries, a scientist who was working on freezing technology and other doctor stuff. I don’t know, eventually his wife got this incurable disease and Fries had to put her under ice- hoping that he can find a cure before she wakes.
However a few years after putting her under ice, Victor’s boss tried shutting down the lab but he refused- there was a fight which resulted in a lab accident that exposed Victor to these chemicals that altered his body heat. His blood is now so warm that if he enters a room above sub zero temperatures he will suffer a heat stroke.
So he builds himself this suit that he can survive in (like a space suit, but to keep him cold) alongside with a freeze-ray gun and he tries to seek revenge on his former employer. Batman stops him, he goes to jail. Occasionally breaks out hoping to save his wife and to commit petty crimes in order to pay for his research, everything he does is for the pursuit of the betterment of his Wife’s condition. There’s no cure for him, but he doesn’t care. He just wants to save his wife, even though they could never be together again.
That’s what makes him such a compelling villain. It’s such a dire shame that he’s often written so poorly.
Meanwhile the Titans meet up with the Suicide Squad (who I’ve mentioned above) a black ops team of super-villains such as Deadshot, the greatest marksman/assassin in the world. Boomerang, the greatest boomerang thrower in the world and Australia personified (like Jim Jeffries but he throws boomerangs and doesn’t even try to pretend he’s a feminist) followed by…y’know what? You’ve probably seen Suicide Squad. You get the jist.
Anyway, they get in an argument and get bombarded with this army of Jokerised-Cannibal-Robins. Eventually they too get jokerized (for those who aren’t familiar with the term, Joker has this laughing gas he can use to make people laugh/go crazy/kill/control people with and the Joker Batman has a version of this gas he uses to control people) and are now under the control of Joker Damian.
So we cut to the next issue where the team are driving across this desert wasteland (one of the rings of Gotham) being chased by a group of Man-Bats, which are essentially Werewolves but instead of turning into a wolf you turn into a giant bat. The original man-bat was this guy called Kirk Langstrom, a biologist who was going death so he created this serum made of bat dna to revert this incoming deafness. But he actually turned himself into a giant bat monster that ate people.
Anyway, for some unknown reason the team let Harley drive the bus and she literally drove them off a cliff;
I can’t remember who the artist is but they’re definitely very talented, especially with faces. I haven’t been reading the Suicide Series’ (because I’ve heard the New 52 run was liquid shot and this was just slightly above it) and from what I seen in this issue and the rest of Gotham Resistance, I don’t want to.
I mean, I like the idea of the Suicide Squad. It makes perfect sense. If the US Government had access to these Super-villains, who are highly skilled, they would definitely find a way to control them and force them to do covert black ops missions. But why, in the love of God, is Harley Quinn there?
I understand having Deadshot, because he’s an expert marksman. I understand having Boomerang, for comic relief and to throw crazy boomerangs. I understand Enchantress because…magic. But why Harley? She’s a crazy person, with a mallet. She’s not an expert marksman, or an explosive expert, or really anything other than a nuisance on an overt mission- why is she there? Who in their right mind puts someone like this in a situation like that?
I mean I know why she’s there, she’s there to sell comic books because she’s a fan favourite. That’s it.
There is no tactical reason for having Harley Quinn on the suicide squad. The best argument I saw of otherwise was in the animated Suicide Squad movie; Assault on Arkham. In which they needed Harley to break into Arkham. Which, by the way, is a stupid premise because Arkham is notorious for it’s escaping inmates. It happens bi-monthly.
The DCEU live action movie just had her for no reason. It’s not as if she was required to “get into the Jokers mind” since he wasn’t the main antagonist of the movie, a mistake so large that even the director acknowledges that he should have done that- among other things.
And it’s not like she couldn’t have a good reason for being on the team. She’s a highly intelligent and skilled villain, she almost killed Batman for christ sake. So it’s make sense for her to be the tactician for the Suicide Squad, the person who studies and hunts the target down, creates an intricate plan that the Suicide can follow (and then fail, obviously) and carry through. But of course she’s crazy, so you have to solve that issue. I’d suggest by having Waller give her a ton of Meds and subject her to intense therapy where she’s relatively sane- but could snap at any minute. It’d be an interesting way of looking at mental health.
But of course none of that is going to happen, if you look at the panel above its obvious DC is trying to push Harley as their own Deadpool. Hell, most people don’t know how to write her and many fans are uncomfortable with her vulgar depiction (particularly when shes murdering children with the Joker) because she was literally created for a kids TV show and it’s very hard to make that character work outside of the show. Not impossible, but difficult.
So anyway, their falling to their deaths but thankfully they fall upon these jungle branches that shield their fall. Their in the realm of Poison Ivy now, Batman’s plant based villain (everyone has a plant based villain) her real name is Pamela Isley, a biologist an environmentalist who was exposed to these chemical that gave her the powers to control plant life, release pheromones that can control men (and eventually women) and can produce poison in he saliva- which she can transmit via a kiss.
She’s become a very powerful villain, seeing as she can control all plant matter on earth. She’s an eco terrorist suffering from Misanthropic tendencies, always seeking to eradicate or control the human race in order to preserve the Green. She’s also best friends with Harley, though recently DC confirmed that they were in a Gay relationship, so that’s the context you’ll need for the scene.
Anyway, the magic card Ivy has been given has driven her insane (or more insane) and when Harley confronts her she doesn’t feel shit. She tries to kill them but then they get attacked by the Jokerised-Titans/Suicide Squad. There’s a giant fight, Croc sacrifices himself so that the others can flee.
They end up in Mad Hatters domain, a man by the name of Jervis Tetch. A neuroscience and inventor who can mind control people via his hat. He’s a crazy asshole obsessed with Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland and he has these weird tea parties in which he kidnaps these women and forces them to play the parts of Alice.
Anyway, he doesn’t pose much of a threat in this scene for some god found reason and the team rest. Nightwing gets some more visions, spreads some exposition explaining the Dark Robiin/ Evil Damian and in turn they process their shit;
This miniseries is four issues long and so insignificant I barely felt the need to screenshot anything. I mean in the main Metal series I take roughly twenty odd screenshots on each goddamn issue. But with this series? It’s like six screenshots for fours issues. Fucking worthless.
Anyway, Harley says something about how this altered Gotham feels like something Joker would do (she’s not wrong) and then they find another T-sphere flying about and run into Mr Terrific. Who in turn offers more exposition as they leave, basically re-inciting shot we already know but the characters (at this moment) are ignorant of.
They run into the last ring, which is Bane’s quarter. Bane of course is this steroid induced, martial artist, tactical genius- this guy you really don’t want to mess with. He’s from a place called Santa Prisca, raised in a prison where he received a classic education from an imprisoned priest. He learned various languages, learned how to fight and about the various sciences and technologies. He was experimented on and given this steroid known as “Venom” which made him very strong but it poisoned his body- meaning if he doesn’t receive regular doses of the venom he will get very ill and die.
Anyway, he broke out of prison. Built this cult of personality, overthrew the dictator of his island and became the ruler of Santa Prisca. He runs a criminal empire and eventually went to Gotham, where he went toe-to-toe with Batman ad broke his back. In doing so he gained the approval of Ra’s Al Ghul, but lost it when Bruce beat him in a rematch.
He’s a very compelling villain, when written well. Most writers treat him as a wrestling enthusiast on steroids, or worse- hired muscle. So of course he’s the victim of bad writing, because his domain is literally a giant wrestling ring where everyone- and I mean everyone- is on steroids and fighting each-other.
Anyway, they find this giant-robot-spider-contraption that is carrying the Titans and Suicide Squad towards the mountain at the centre of Gotham. Apparently it’s like a tuning fork connecting them to the Dark Multiverse, hence they are seeing these awful visions. The plan being that you put these people, these human batteries, onto the mountain and use them to power the device to plunge the earth into the Dark Multiverse.
So the team try to intercept the machine but are thwarted by Dark Robin, who they end up killing. The Batman who Laughs shows up and…Seduces [?] Harley for like ten seconds before she’s like “Hey, your cannibal robins are biting at my ankles-” and then they kidnap her. The rest of the Dark Knights show up and the team seem like they’re at the end, but of course Dr. Fate shows up to save them at the last minute.
A pointless storyline all for this one panel;
So now we’re back to Dark Nights Metal #3 (We’re only halfway btw) and it opens up with a great scene of Lois, Clark, Diana and Bruce back in smallville listening to their kids play music;
So they’re chilling after their apparent victory over Barbatos. But of course none of this is real, it’s actually a nightmare Clark is happening. Barbatos bursts out of Bruce and starts killing everyone. See, Clark has been subdued and has been strapped to this tower where he’s subjected to these nightmare visions of the various worlds and possible worlds where he fights barbatos and always loses. Barbatos echoes the line “All roads lead to Darkness” which is a great line repeated throughout the series.
Anyway, Wonder Woman ends up saving Clark from the tower;
So Clark has been strapped to this Dark Multiverse lighting rod/conductor for like seven days. Meaning all the stuff with the other League members and Titans have already gone down. It’s an excuse for “where was superman?” he was subdued in a state of nighmares. However there is a loose end here, how did Wonder Woman get free? Did she free herself? How did she find Superman? How- y’know what? Fuck it.
Also that symbol in the last panel at the top right hand corner always bothered me. That’s the symbol for the Evil Batman-Doomsday villain; the Devastator. Why is it in the sky? Originally I thought it was like a beats or a flying machine. I considered it might be the villain- but why would he be a symbol when he fly’s? I concluded that most likely it’s some perversion of the bat signal. But then where is the beam of light shooting it into the sky? There’s too many issues with this one page.
But yeah, Metropolis has been contaminated with the Doomsday virus. Those uncontaminated are strapped to the conductor, the rest roam about as mindless monsters. Like Jimmy Olsen;
I love how he has Ginger Horns. It’s adorable.
So Wonder Woman provides the exposition, summing up what happened in the Devastator solo issue that I talked about above. She says that he’s too weak to face Barbatos but he pries loose of her grip and flies to Gotham.
He sees Barbatos, this giant Bat-Demon with Joker dragons (yes, Joker dragons) flying around him. He hears Bruce’s voice and sees that he’s falling through the sky. Superman flies towards him but soon realises that it isn’t his Bruce, it’s actually Doomsday-Bruce who turned back into a human to trick him.
So the Devastator tackles him down to Gotham and they land in Freeze’s realm, where hey are greeted by the other Dark Knights;
So there’s an interesting concept that the Batman who laughs talks about, stating that the Dark Multiverse is created explicitly by this universe and this earth, which means there wouldn’t be a Multiverse created by the whims of the inhabitants of the planet Thanagar for example- earth is special in this regard, mainly because the core is full of Nth metal that connects both to the Dark Multiverse and the rest of the Multiverse. It also raises the question upon whether or not each universe in the multiverse has their own Multiverse or if it’s just this universe, food for thought.
Anyway, the Devastator almost kills Superman but of course the Flash and Dr Fate saves him at the last minute and teleports him to the Oblivion bar; a bar located in a pocket dimension only accessible to those with powerful Magic, it’s also the base of the supernatural team known as Shadowpact.
Nightmaster, real name Jim Rock. He has this magic sword that warns him of incoming danger (like a spider-sense) and can make people tell the truth (like the lasso of truth) he’s the proprietor of the bar and a member of Shadowpact. So is Bobo, otherwise known as Detective Chimp- a chimpanzee who gained self awareness and extreme intelligence after drinking from the fountain of youth. He’s as detective and he has his own origin story explained later on in the story.
So Dr Fate has been gathering the last remaining heroes and sheltering them in this bar, where they spend their days waiting in pity and defeat;
So as you can see the previous mini series has been summarised in a single speech bubble.
So Barbatos plan is to make this super conductor i which he can sink the world into the Dark, and once they’re there he can bring forth his army. See this isn’t just a Batman story but rather a Justice League crisis event. Barbatos used Bruce so that he can move himself into the universe while transporting the Dark knights, possibly the most deadly beings from the dark.
The engage in a bit of exposition, summarising the fact that people from the dark can be killed with Nth metal. Mr Terrific reveals that Dr Fate, Steel and Plastic Man have been getting strange vibrations/visions of the Dark Multiverse. The plastic man egg vibrates some co-ordinates; one under Atlantis, one at Thanagar, one at the Rock of Eternity. Superman decides to venture into the Dark because he has a hunch that Bruce is still alive and that he can save him.
However Dick isn’t so optimistic, which leads to a confrontation with Damien. Everyone’s at their wits end, and when everything is most dire this happens;
Deathstroke is an elite assassin, real name Slade Wilson. He’s Nightwing’s arch nemesis. He’s basically this super soldier turned rogue who has one eye, he’s one of the best Assassins in the DC Universe. As Wonder Woman says his armour and sword are made from Promethium, most likely gained from Hephaestus himself when Slade was tasked with killing an old Greek God; a Titan.
So from my understanding Promethium is the metal used by the gods. Aquaman’s trident and Deatstrokes sword is formed out of the same material, however as Slade has more of an abundance of the metal he’s required to visit Atlantis. So the league split up into teams; Deathstroke and Aquaman head to Atlantis, Mr Terrific and Green Lantern head to Thanagar alongside the Plastic Egg, Wonderwoman and Doctor Fate head to the Rock of Eternity alongside Kendra and Superman, Steel and the Flash head to the fortress of Solitude to propel Clark into the Dark.
Everyone escapes except for Jim Rock, who sacrifices himself to keep the knights at bay;
Ok, that last quip was clever.
So Superman and his team head to the fortress of solitude to find a gate way to the Dark Multiverse. They use the Anti-Monitors tuning fork (this issue takes place before that scene in the Devastator solo issue), the Phantom Zone projector (the phantom zone is this pocket dimension created by Kryptonians to store their criminal population, the projector opens up a doorway to the dimension. It essentially helps create wormholes) and the Flash’s speed, which emits speed force particles.
They launch Superman into the Dark but when he arrives in the Dark Multiverse, he finds that it was all a trap. Apparently Bruce warned him about this in a very stupid way;
That warning from Batman may have been the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. I mean, who in their right mind is paying attention to the specific notes in a song? Particularly in a dream about you hanging out with your friends and family. I know Bruce was desperate but come on.
So it appears that the reason the Dark Knights wanted to apprehend Superman was so that they can use the energy in his cells as a battery. Which initially confused me because in the Dark Multiverse they’re are literally infinite amounts of Supermen who could do the same thing, however I realised that they’re all vibrating at the frequency of the Dark Multiverse- so Dark energy can’t power the tuning fork. What they needed was a version of Superman who had light energy, or was made of clean matter from the real multiverse. That’s how I think it matters.
Oh, and when Joker-Batman makes a toast to “the Electrics” he’s talking about Nightmaster, who was originally a rock star for the band by that name. It’s one of those references most people (including myself) overlooked.
The next issue I’m talking about is Batman: Lost, which is essentially a love letter to the Batman mythos written by Snyder. It starts out with an elderly Bruce Wayne sitting in his mansion when his Granddaughter enters the room, asking if he could read her a story. You see, as his memory faded Bruce wrote down all the adventures he had as Batman, saying that “Most of them contradict eachother, yet they all happened” which basically means that each and every Batman story is a part of one big life. It’s an ode to all these forgotten stories.
So he starts reading this story, one of his earliest stories (Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics in the 1940’s, to be more exact) called the Case of the Chemical Syndicate, an apt name. He’s somewhat confused that it starts off with a window as that’s not how he remembered it (the window represents the portal to barbatos) the story is about a murder mystery and a mad scientist.
Batman is in his classic costume and he sneaks up on this nervous guy in his apartment and says “I know you didn’t kill that girl” and swear that he’ll solve the mystery. But upon saying that a bird crashes into the window. Apparently this is a regular occurrence, the slant of the window makes it that the birds can’t see it- so they always end up crashing into it and killing themselves.
Upon learning this Batman is transported to this strange, neolithic period. He’s standing on a hill watching all these cavemen in a battle, it’s the tribes of Bats and Birds fighting it out and we get some nice exposition;
So we don’t know who the woman is, she’s some kind of figment of Bruce’s imagination. She’s basically talking about Bruce’s experiences travelling back in time, in which he was a cave man for a brief amount of time and how his presence altered time. He basically influenced a tribe into adopting his symbol and becoming the bat tribe, which later started to worship Barbatos- a Bat demon. When Barbatos initially tried to enter the world he was fought back into the Dark, so he had to restrategise.
He’d use the same guy, Bruce Wayne, that he noticed travelling through time as a portal- or a window- for him to enter via the Dark Multiverse. The hyper adaptor she talks about is basically this monster Darkseid unleashed to find and kill Batman before he could jump back into the future. It’s later revealed that the Hyper-Adaptor is actually Barbatos, and that the only reason Bruce was able to return was because he let him return.
Batman is then transported to a desolate wasteland, where a group of young savages cheers the return of their hero. Batman comes to his senses and reminds himself he’s trapped inside the Dark Multiverse and needs to find a way out. Suddenly, the savages are gunned down by a Hawk Patrol, led by none other than a Dark Multiverse version of Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son. Damian tells Bruce that he made the bat the symbol of doom, and orders to open fire on him.
Bruce’s grandaughter (Janet, again transporting him to another scene) urges Bruce to wake up, getting him back to the first story: The Case of the Chemical Syndicate. Batman is trapped in a bell jar, as he has discovered that Stryker, Lambert’s partner, had framed Lambert Jr. so he would seem the murderer and Stryker himself would’ve gained control of their company. Batman wants to find a window to escape, but Janet convinces him to follow Stryker down a ladder, which takes him to a satanic ritual, transported yet again to another scene.
Bruce is identified as Thomas Wayne by his associates and is urged to sacrifice a girl to complete the Ceremony of the Bat. The earth shakes, as Barbatos’s arrival is announced. Bruce gets near the woman, to save her. She wakes up and tells him she’ll die in that cript, and over her grave they’ll build the great city of Gotham. She’s just a pawn in the plan to make Batman who he is supposed to become so he may be the vessel for Barbatos.
This scene is another reference to the storyline of Bruce travelling back in time. Apparently Bruce’s ancestor, Thomas Wayne (Black Hand) committed a satanic ritual with some US politicians and various other rich cunts (I believe Thomas Jefferson was there) in order to summon forth Barbatos. It worked, they summoned this giant bat creature. But it wasn’t enough to bring him into our world, all it did was christen the land and pave the way for Gotham city.
The strange thing I noticed is that the girl they’re sacrificing looks eerily like Selina Kyle (Catwoman) I don’t know if that was intentional but I imagine it’d really fuck over Bruce.
Once again, the setting changes in unpredictable ways: Batman finds himself in a Gotham where Joker has become mayor and has dictated only one rule: that there are no rules. Beside him stand a man dressed as Green Arrow and a kid dressed as Batgirl: they are being hunted by psychopaths dressed as the main rogues in Batman’s rogue gallery. Bruce is tired to play, so he says he won’t run anymore, to the astonishment of Janet.
Back to the Case of the Chemical Syndicate, Batman follows Stryker in a chemical factory, ordering Stryker to tell him who he is. Stryker turns around, with a big smile on his face, says “Heh. You know. You’ve always known“, then jumps into a tank of acid. It implies that Stryker is infact the Joker, because that’s how the Joker typically gets his white skin- by falling into a vat of chemicals.
We then cut to this scene;
Through owl-shaped binoculars, Bruce sees inside the steel Wayne Industries produce to build most of the buildings in Gotham “something terrible”, inferring that the Tribe of the Bat is still operating. Suddenly, a Talon from the Court of Owls attacks him (refferring to Alan Wayne) and says that the Court has bigger plans than he thinks. Bruce/Alan is now in the middle of the street, in daylight, raving about bats, owls and being Bruce Wayne, to the bewilderment of local policemen. The scene closely resembles the opening of one of the issues from the court of owls storyline in Snyder’s New 52 Batman run.
Similarly, after seeing a vision of Wonder Woman, Bruce/Alan falls into a manhole, disappearing. In the Court of Owls storyline it’s revealed that the Court tortured Alan to death by throwing knives at the joins in his bones, establishing a long and agonizing death while being nailed to a wall.
Now he finds himself in a space fight. In his spaceship, he finds himself ally with Harley Quinn, who tells him she followed him to avoid the Justice Wars on Earth. Bruce breaks the window of the spaceship, flying out with no intention to keep Janet’s story straight anymore.
At the end of The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, Batman refuses to follow the normal course of events, saying that this is the story: the one of bats and birds. He realizes the birds keep crashing against the window because they are attracted by metal vibrations, thus helping him remember what is going on: he is Batman, he’s trapped in the Dark Multiverse and he needs to find a window to get out;
The reason Batman is getting all these visions is because Barbatos is showing him all the versions of himself in the Dark Multiverse, all the places where he fails. A similar thing happened in the last story arc of Snyder’s New 52 run; “Heavy Metal” in which Bruce loses his memories and needs a machine to essentially re-traumatise him in order for him to become Batman again. But when he’s attached to the machine he keeps seeing all these other versions of himself dying; that’s visions of the Dark Multiverse. It even goes as far back to Snyder’s storyline “Endgame” where Bruce is laced with fear toxin and sees all these visions of himself dying horrible deaths; he’s having visions of the Dark Multiverse- because these are his fears.
Janet is upset by the changes in the story, so she transforms into a demonic version of herself, crawling up the ceiling, as old Bruce, now aware of Barbatos’ deceit, tells him to come out and face him.
Barbatos answers, putting Bruce against the harsh reality: his every movement, since his first case, was shaped by the actions of birds and bats, working in the shadows to make him what he needed to become. Barbatos has always been present, making Batman’s story since he saw him when he fell through time and chose the bat as a symbol of hope.
Barbatos is the bat, the father, the very reason Bruce solved every case he was faced with in his career. It’s a reference to the Batman Year One story, in which Bruce can’t seem to find a way to scare bad guys and he decides he needs a symbol- but he can’t find a symbol. Until a Bat crashes through the window, landing on a statue of his father- to which he says “Yes, Father. I shall become a Bat” it’s a great scene.
So this whole revelation is a complete mind fuck and Old Bruce can’t stand the speech any longer, so he throws himself at the window, breaking it. Bruce is now in the Dark Multiverse.
A gigantic Barbatos with his own face stands in the middle, surrounded by countless corrupted versions of Batman and of negative worlds. These represent all of Bruce’s fears and failings, everything that could’ve happened if not for Barbatos’s help. He has picked from the Dark Multiverse what he calls the “true versions” of Bruce as now they are subduing his friends of the Justice League. Bruce is overwhelmed by all this, admitting he doesn’t want to know the truth anymore. He gives up, as he goes back to reading stories to Janet from the beginning.
So this is how Bruce is being tortured, living through the same events again and again all the while unaware that he’s stuck in an endless loop. It’s a great story, great segway. What follows isn’t so great.
Ok so back in the real world the league are divided up into separate teams to visit different sights of Dark Energy emissions, but of course like most major crossovers we have to get that shitty tie in that literally exists for no fucking reason outside of selling a few more books.
The only real reason you should read this tie in is to find out what happened to both Cyborg and Raven, and I’m going to tell you what happened so you don’t even have to bother. It’s so pointless that I took like three screenshots out of four issues- four issues! I took like a dozen screenshots for Batman Lost alone for crying out loud.
So the story starts out with the Justice league going off in various destinations, when all of a sudden they’re magically transported into these various Batcaves (yes, the Dark Knights somehow found the time to build their own bat caves) and have a fight with the Dark Knights.
The flash get’s chased by the red death (who’s in a batmobile for some fucking reason), the Drowned has morphed Mera into a sea monster and forces her to fight Aquaman, The Merciless has this giant penny (Batman has a giant penny in his Batcave, it’s a trophy and no it isn’t from a Two-Face storyline) that apparently has all the souls of the Amazons he’s killed- which I’ll admit is kind of clever as it’s a reference to the river stixx and how you have to pay the guy a coin to cross into the afterlife. Anyway, he summons all these ghosts to fight Wonder Woman while decrying how much he loves her.
Hal Jordan fights off against the Dawnbreaker, who’s trying to mind fuck him by talking about his failures but Hal is like “Pffft, I ain’t afraid of Batman” and he actually does something quite smart. You see, the Dawnbreakers ring can absorb light but Hal was smart enough to set his ring to flash mode- so the light in his ring turns on and off automatically. Therefore evil batman can’t absorb the light that is already gone.
All the while they’re talking to Cyborg who has been torn apart and connected to this machine. Cyborg retreats back into his mind and encounters the mother box, who for some reason begins talking to him. The box tells him that the only way to save his friends is to connect with eachother and thus connect to the Multiverse, but there’s this Raven symbol floating about telling Cyborg not to do it but he does it anyway.
So Cyborg connects to the Mother Box, which contains something known as Element X- the Tenth Metal- the purest metal, the metal of creation. It allows him to connect to the entire multiverse;
So Cyborg breaks out of the machine and finds Raven, who was talking to him via the Raven projection I was talking about. Cyborg breaks her out and then save the remaining Justice league, all the while Cyborg is blasting these sick beats which…I can’t hear.
Ok, little rant. Writers need to stop including music as a central component to their literature; this is the wrong medium to appreciate music. If it was a film or tv show or a radio show- sure, you can blast away some sick tunes. But when you’re dealing with the written word, my wheel house, and you insist upon including a song- to which the reader has to create it’s own rhythm and beat and voice- then you are wasting words. Normal readers don’t know shit about musical compositions, you can’t just write out a few song lyrics and say “Imagine this song in your head” it’s ridiculous. F Scott Fitzgerald did the same thing in Gatsby– and we need to stop.
Cyborg then launches a boom tube that transports them inside of the Multiverse;
So Flash pretty much summarises what the Hypertime is, Victor’s plan is to move towards the centre of the Multiverse and hack it- that way he essentially controls reality and can push Barbatos back into the dark. We also get a glimpse of Mr T, Deathstroke and Kendra- who up until this point where forgotten.
Seriously, Mr Terrific was flying through space and the only thing protecting him was Green Lantern’s ring. So once Hal disappeared he should be dead.
Those little images you see on the hypertime are references to other storylines. So the one with Superman in a T Shirt references the New 52 storyline where Superman almost lost his powers, the Batman Beyond picture references Future’s End- a storyline I can only refer to as liquid dog shit, bottom right hand corner is a reference to Flashpoint.
So anyway, they split off back into their teams and literally end up back where they started. This whole tie in was pointless outside of Cyborg and Raven’s locations, everyone else had a shitty fight with their Evil Batman and just went back to their starting positions. All the while it’s revealed that what Cyborg believed to be his ace in the hole was actually apart of Barbatos’ plan;
I think this little tie in would have been more durable if they had some good writing. But everything just felt lazy, dispassionate- a hack job. Who thought that the Dark Knights having their own mini Bat caves was a good idea???
And the fact that almost nothing of value came out of this story really hurts me. The fact that there’s almost nothing that influences the story as a whole is remarkably pathetic. But let’s get on to something better, the next issue of Dark Knights;
So Dark Knights #4 starts out pretty strong. Batman and Superman are trapped in the Dark Multiverse, Bruce has aged very quickly due to the fact that time moves faster in the Dark Multiverse. Anyway, he’s getting picked on by these Evil Supermen, one of whom is wearing some Batman tech which evidently is a bad idea;
So Batman has his own Infinity Gauntlet specifically used to Kill Superman, called the Five Finger Death Punch…see, this is why I fucking love Scott Snyder. Who else is gonna make this shit up?
But yeah, Bruce summons forward Dream/Daniel to rescue them as the Dark Multiverse is a place of Nightmares and thus is within his purview. They escape from the Dark Multiverse.
We then cut to the Justice league. Wonder Woman, Dr Fate and Kendra are in the Rock of Eternity- home of Shazam- in search of some Nth Metal. Kendra says she destroyed almost all traces of the metal on earth, except for Hawkman’s mace- which is located somewhere in the rock.
Aquaman and Deathstroke are under Atlantis, in the tomb of the ancient king of Atlantis- King Atlan;
So the tomb of Atlan is actually a portal to the centre of the earth, the core has high levels of Nth Metal that can be used to plunge the world into Darkness or be used to defeat the Dark Multiverse.
Green Lantern and his crew have arrived at Thanagar and meet the current ruler, a guy called Onimar Synn, who is this extraterrestrial demon and an enemy of Hawkman and the Justice League. He’s very knowledgeable about how Nth Metal works as he’s as old as the planet itself, he’s capable of lots of great feat of strength but we never see this in the series. If anything he’s just a stooge for Starro;
Starro is a Justice League villain, he’s this alien creature that resembles a giant star fish. Basically he’s able to control people by deploying mini star fish that attach to their victims faces and thus allow Starro to connect to them. But as he says above, he no longer needs these spores to control people as he can just stare and focus on them. He’s in this series for literally no other reason than to present an inconvenience for Green Lantern and to set up Scott Snyder’s new Justice League series.
Anyway, Green Lantern and crew get thrown in jail and they can’t escape because Starro is in their head and thus prevents them to concentrate. The villains give some exposition about how they have this big canon charged by super metals that can raise the earth from the Dark, if it were to fall. The plan is to use the Plastic Egg to charge it.
Meanwhile, Batman and Superman have been teleported to a realm known as the Sandman’s library, where all the dreams everyone has ever had is stored. The nightmare section of the library is known as Lucien’s library, which is currently on fire due to the Dark Multiverse turning the nightmares into reality.
The Sandman gives some exposition that explains the lore of the Universe and some backstory on Barbatos;
So Snyder introduces us with a creation story for the Multiverse. He doesn’t lay out specifically how it began, but he clarifies about what came afterwards. In the top left hand corner you can see the Over-monitor and to his right you can see the Anti-Monitor. I talked about them earlier on, both of them existed in their respected universes- one made of Matter and the other made of Anti-Matter. Both of them ventured back in time to witness the beginning of the Universe, the one in the regular matter Universe was endued with power and became the Over-monitor. The one in the Anti-Matter universe experienced the same stuff but because his universe was made of Anti-Matter he became the Anti-Monitor.
Snyder introduces a new character who we’ll refer to as the “World-Forger” who literally forges worlds for the Multiverse in this giant volcanic forge…it’s a little hard for my suspension of disbelief. Since planets are ridiculously complex things made of of a variety of chemicals that you can’t just forge, but fuck it.
Anyway, this world forge has a Dragon that devours the worlds that aren’t working out. However the dragon killed the world-forger and now these worlds aren’t being destroyed, which forms the Dark Multiverse. Basically the Dark Knights are fighting to save their respective worlds while being completely oblivious to the fact their deity is the one whose destroying all these worlds, because they all exist to fulfil a nightmare and once it reaches fruition it self destructs.
So the Sandman opens up this portal to the world forge, but it only works if the people travelling through it have hope in their heart, which Batman (after being stuck in hell for 30 years) doesn’t have. He’s been showed all these versions of himself from the Dark Multiverse and he just feels like a terrible person that only makes things worse. But Superman gets through to him in the end;
Again, it’s great to see Snyder acknowledge the importance of family in Bruce’s life.
I know a lot of fans love the idea of Batman being this loner and have criticisms about the Bat-Family becoming a little too crowded, but the kids are a valuable set to Batman’s character. It’s just Bruce trying to recreate the family that he lost so many years ago. It’s about the struggle because often times he’s too broken and fucked up to deal with people and thus he tends to push both friends and family away, but on the other hand he needs people to keep him in check and for emotional support.
Batman is nothing if not a family man. But anyway, back to the issue at hand.
So Wonder Woman and crew are at the Rock of Eternity, at this portal that leads straight to the Dark Multiverse. Kendra betrays Diana and incapacitates Dr Fate in her plan to throw the Anti-Monitors brain into the Dark Multiverse to blow it up and thus eliminate the threat of Barbatos.
However Black Adam shows up to stop her and fight Wonder Woman, revealing that the immortals and various other Super Villains have made a deal with Barbatos to spare themselves and their interests. Black Adam is basically an evil version of Shazam, he was the original champion of the Wizard but he turned evil. He’s the ruler of this middle eastern country known as Kandhaq, which he is protecting by his deal with Barbatos.
Due to the Nth metal prevalent ion Kendra’s DNA, she is corrupted by the Dark Energy of the portal and turns into this;
She looks pretty damn cool.
Lady Blackhawk isn’t just the evil version of Hawkgirl, but rather her own character. She was a part of the original Black Hawks and then joined various other groups such as the Birds of Prey (A female vigilante group featuring Batgirl) but we haven’t seen much of her since the New 52.
Anyway, a fight ensues and that’s all we get out of them for this issue.
Batman and Superman arrive at the world forge only to find that it has gone cold forever, no more worlds are being created and thus the Multiverse is doomed. They also find out what happened to Carter Hall;
So Barbatos has used the Dark Energy to corrupt Carter Hall, due to the fact he has Nth metal in his genes, turning him into this monster. Barbatos’ plan isn’t very clear but I think he wants to create his own Multiverse in his own vision, to become a God.
Carter has become his servant, the Dragon and World Forger for his Dark Multiverse. He doesn’t create world anymore or…I don’t fucking know. Snyder sucks at laying out his villain’s motives. Almost none of them seem to have any kind of endgame, this was a major criticism during the Night of Owls storyline where the Court were assassinating key figures in Gotham- for no clear reason.
This kind of vague motive works for people like the Joker, who is literally insane, but not so much for a Secret society or a Demon looking to take over the world. There has to be some logic, or at least a method in the madness. A reader cannot abide by intricate monologues alone.
We never actually learn how Hawkman became this giant monstrosity, but we do get a tie in comic called “Hakwman Found” which is super-duper meta and offers little to nothing to the overall story. It’s so insignificant I didn’t even bother to take any screenshots.
The art isn’t even particularly memorable, it’s as stale as anything you could find in the 90’s. The story revolves around Carter Hall waking up after a a dream that turns to a nightmare, in which he’s flying through the air but his wings fall apart and he plummets to the ground. He wakes up in this cave, he and a lot of other men are imprisoned in this canyon.
Every day these Hawk Creatures come down from the sky to capture one of the prisoners, on this day Carter apprehends one of the Hawk creatures and flies himself up to the ship. Upon reaching the ship he starts to remember who he is (oh by the way, apparently he had amnesia or some shit- he doesn’t know who he is) and he’s in the armoury, touches this mace and immediately remembers who he is.
He then fights an evil version of himself, kills him when he mentions Kendra name (power of love and all that shit) and then recalls everything about the Dark Multiverse and how he ventured there to find Challengers mountain. About how for a while he became the World Forger, but he was subdued by dark forces. He puts on these wings and begins flying, only to fall back down to earth.
So all of this has occurred in Hawkman’s head. He’s oblivious to the monster he has become. This is is hell- he is doomed to climb only to fall. All these other prisoners that look on at him, lifeless, are other versions of himself that also climbed and also failed.
But anyway, in the next issue of Metal we start out with some extracts from Carter’s journal. He talks about how at the end Barbatos releases this screech known as “Anti-Music” which sinks the world into the Dark and calls upon his armies. All the while Batman and Superman are in the World Forge, they’re avoiding Hawkman’s hammer blows all the while trying to restart the forge.
Aquaman and Deathstroke are down at the centre of earth, uncovering this ancient Atlantean technology that harnesses the Earth’s core. Apparently it was used by the first king to save Atlantis after sinking. The tech is a mix between Atlantean tech and Nth metal.
Meanwhile, Green Lantern and Mr Terrific are stuck on Thanagar;
So they’re in jail, can’t get out because Starro is fucking with their minds. However they soon find out that Martian Manhunter is there and he breaks them out of prison.
Martian Manhunter is a refugee from Mars, he has a variety of super powers such as telepathy, super strength, shape shifting, ability to phase through objects and flight. He’s a very powerful person, only can be killed by brute force or fire. On Mars he was a police officer known as J’onn J’onzz (pronounced John Jones) known as a Manhunter. He lived in peace with his family until his people were wiped out by the White Martians, who soon desolated the planet which forced him to flee to earth.
He became a hero soon after and joined the justice league. He’s coincidentally on Thanagar because he too was investigating the Dark Energy of Nth metal, but mainly because he’s being set up for Snyder’s new Justice League book. Hell, the only reasons Mr Terrific is here is because he gets his own team book with Plastic man.
But anyway, they break out and Green Lantern swears that he’ll kick Starro in the ass. The others suggest that, as a Star Fish, Starro doesn’t have an ass. Green Lantern responds “Oh, I’ll find one” and he does. That’s Hal Jordan, folks.
So Wonder Woman is fighting Black Adam back in the Rock of Eternity. She smashes into a wall, finds Hawkman’s mace and knocks Black Adam cold with it. She’s then shot by Joker-Batman, who has a gun filled with bullets made of eighth metal. He goes on this petty little monologue talking about the various worlds he’s destroyed and how on some of these worlds the two of them ended up together and had kids and that these kids were fierce- but he killed them anyway cause he’s baller.
Anyway, he takes the Mace and fucks off. Wonder Woman then wraps her lasso around Kendra to snap her out of her evil phase, which works. But all the while everything is going to hell. Aquaman and Deathstroke are ambushed by Black Manta;
So if I understand this correctly, Aquaman and Deathstroke and the other Justice League teams are finding these traces of Dark Energy/Nth Metal in a hope that they can prevent the earth from falling down into the Dark Multiverse. While in actuality they are helping Barbatos, by delivering them into these various locations alongside the necessary equipment.
For those of you who don’t know who Black Manta is, he’s Aquaman’s arch nemesis. Real name David Hyde, a treasure hunter and deep sea explorer. He’s this complete and utter psychopath who has this vendetta against Aquaman and his people after he killed his father.
He can be a very cunning and powerful villain if written well. His suit makes him super strong, break under water and can swim fast. His helmet allows him to shoot lasers from his eyes. He’s also a black guy, if you were confused. He’s one of the many black super heroes/villains that has the word Black in their name i.e. Black Panther, Black Lightning, Black Mamba- the lists goes on.
Meanwhile, back in Thanagar Green Lantern’s crew reaches the Canon only to discover that it has been reprogrammed to sink the earth into the Dark Multiverse and they too are ambushed by the Dark Knights;
So they fight. Joker Batman carries on with his incessant monologue about Barbatos’ scream that’ll raise his armies. The laser is fired and the earth sinks into the Dark;
Bruce and Clark find a part of the forge that is still lit and jump into it for hopes they can fix everything. I don’t fucking know, it still baffles me they think its a good idea to jump into lava. I think they’re trying to connect with the metal in the magma (tenth metal) and restart the forge.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl teleport to Challengers mountain and are confronted by Barbatos’ army. They charge with a battle cry, hoping to reach the mountain. That’s the end of the issue.
What we get next is…weird. Even by Snyder’s standards.
It’s a last minute tie in that didn’t even make it onto the Reading List published a month or so before the event;
You see? There’s no mention of the Wild Hunt. Which is very strange because it’s been set up in the Bats out of Hell mini-series in which the Flash, Cyborg and Raven are travelling through the Multiverse in the hopes they can hack it. It’s a little strange something that important wouldn’t make the reading list.
But anyway, the issue starts out with Detective Chimp recounting his origin story about being a once normal chimp in captivity, until a friendly man freed him (and was then sub-sequentially killed for it) and the Chimp met a talking wolf who lead him to the fountain of youth, which contains super metals that made the Chimp super smart and thus he became a detective.
Now with the Earth sinking into the Dark, the Dark Energy is affecting the super metals in the chimp’s DNA and thus he’s losing his super intelligence. He’s on Black Hawk island with people like Professor T. O. Morrow, a Supervillain who created Red Tornado- the robot that can generate tornadoes.
Professor Morrow is a part of something known as the “Science Squad” which…is arguably the dumbest name I’ve ever heard for a group. Then again it sounds exactly like something a bunch of Super geniuses that have never been touched would name themselves. Which includes Doc Magnus (creator of the Metal Men), Egg Fu (new character), Professor Ivo (STAR Labs employee), Thaddeus Sivana (Magic expert, Shazam villain) and Veronica Cale- who is a business woman and enemy of Wonder Woman.
So the scientists realise fuckery is afoot so T.O. Morrow brings everyone in to show them an experiment;
So the boiling point of Water is 100 degrees Celsius, the Dark Energy of the Multiverse has corrupted the laws of Physics. Also, it’s adorable that Comics are trying to claim their shit abides by the laws of physics.
So the Flash and his crew are moving towards the House of Heroes at the centre of the Multiverse. Its basically the home of the heroes who have to look after the Multiverse, it was prominent in Grant Morrison’s Multiversity series. As was the ship the crew are using, the Ultima Thuun- which is trying to return to its Master- the Superjudge, who’s like the Overmonitor but evil- not as bad as the Anti-Monitor though.
Anyway, they’re sending S.O.S signals to the House of Heroes when they are attacked by the Dark Knights who are in their own ship, which by the way, is powered by a caged baby universe that’s kept from expanding by this machine no writer knows how to operate. The Evil-Batmen launch a few missiles and we get a few good panels with them;
So the Dark Knights are seemingly having a few doubts on their vocations, kind of brawling with eachother. The Batman who Laughs crashes his ship into the Flash’s ship. As the two ships fall out of The Bleed, Cyborg hatches a plan to stop the Carrier: free the baby universe inside the ship, thus cutting the ship’s power and releasing enough positive energy to help stabilize the Multiverse.
As The Batman Who laughs opens a portal onto the Thule, Vic has Barry teleport to the Carrier to do what needs doing. As he prepares to engage the Murder Machine, Raven faces down The Dawnbreaker and The Drowned. Raven teleports around to avoid their attacks, but she uses the time they need to regain their balance to take over Dawnbreaker’s constructs and sic them on their creator.
I think this panel shows just the amount of Damage this storyline could have on the perception other heroes have of Batman. Like beforehand Bruce was revered as this impeccably professional and stoic hero that you don’t fuck with at all, but now that respect can be lost as Raven can just say “Hey Bruce, remember that time you almost accidentally unravelled the fabric of the Universe and an evil version of yourself tried to kill me? Go fuck yourself“.
Cyborg goes another round with Murder Machine, but his new connection to the Multiverse lets him fry his foe’s systems. Meanwhile, Raven distracts Dawnbreaker with his constructs long enough to kick Drowned back to the Carrier. Aboard the Carrier, Flash reaches the baby universe and the Merciless. Before Merciless can even ready a strike, Barry disables the universe’s cage, creating an explosion of positive energy, just as Red Death arrives.
The wave of positive energy has a side effect on Red Death. Now clad in a golden armor, he is reborn as the Barry Allen of Earth -52. With the psyche of that version of Bruce eliminated, Barry immediately asks how he can help his Prime Earth self. He tells him he can start where they are.
Aboard the Thule, Dawnbreaker manages to fell Raven while Vic is busy with Murder Machine. On the Carrier, Barry wants to return to the Thule, but if they leave, the Knights will simply recapture the universe and restart the ship. The only way to finish the job is for someone to stay and allow the universe to expand until it can’t be contained, but whoever stays will definitely die. Back on the Thule, Murder Machine senses the loss of power and teleports away. Dawnbreaker wants to torture Raven, but with Cyborg free to back her up, he is forced to flee as well. Earth -52 Barry convinces Earth 0 Barry to leave him as Devastator arrives.
Raven and Cyborg then sense that despite driving the Knights back and crippling their vessel, the music controlling the Thule is now completely disrupted, and Victor’s control of the ship is shot. Back on the Carrier, Laughs is telling Red Death that he knew Barry would regain control, and he allowed it because it would give the heroes one last taste of hope. He then reveals two things: that all the positive energy that turned him is going to destroy him, and that each warhead they had contained a baby dark matter universe selected by Barbatos. He then cries out, realizing exactly what is going to happen after he is gone. As Barry explodes, the rest of the Knights watch, emotionless.
Meanwhile, despite the damage, the Thule is still on course for the House of Heroes. As they relay the news to Blackhawk Island, everyone is satisfied at the victory, except a still devolving Detective Chimp. He tries to relay his doubts, but he is having a hard time forming a sentence. Inside though, his inner detective realizes that their journey to the House of Heroes felt rehearsed and unimaginative because they simply followed a course the Challengers mapped out.
To know for sure, he reactivates Red Tornado, who goes into the same frenzied state he had shown before. Morrow tries to shut him down, but Tornado has already blown the room apart before he collapses from damage to his frame. Morrow calms his creation down and gets him to explain himself.
Red reveals that the Challengers tried to get to the House of Heroes, but they realized they opened the door for Barbatos to arrive through. Realizing the danger that they posed to the Multiverse, the Challengers shut the door and returned home. He then explains the enemy’s endgame: launch a dart into the heart of the Multiverse powerful enough to kill everything.
The path to the House was a trap, and he remembers that it was prophesied that he would be awakened to witness the first sign of the end…an unheeded call for help. As if on cue, Detective Chimp muster what little intellect he has left to ask them for help.
You know things are fucked up when the Robot commits suicide.
Meanwhile, Barry returns to the Thule to see the bridge demolished. Raven reveals that they can’t steer, which means they can’t turn from the House. Their entire ship is now a dart, headed straight for the center of everything. Barry realizes that this was what the Knights wanted all along. Cyborg receives the warning from Blackhawk Island, but it arrives too late for them to do anything. On the Carrier, Drowned and Devastator want to teleport to safety, but Laughs orders them to stay put to see the end. He then demands that his prisoner be brought to watch too. As Laughs gloats at having “the most powerful being in the Multiverse” at his feet, Dawnbreaker picks up a signal to the Thule from a 53rd universe, even though there should be no such universe. As he boasts some more, Laughs calls for a portal as the Thule crashes into the House of Heroes, annihilating it. On Blackhawk Island, everyone can feel the end in their bones. As everyone shares last words, something teleports Detective Chimp away. He ends up in a room full of various super-chimps.
So yeah, we have a world in which all the Heroes are actually hyper intelligent chimps…I ain’t even mad. That’s just…I don’t know what this is for. I mean there’s no books coming out for these characters, very few people would recognise them, they don’t really influence the rest of the plot- what the hell is the point of this?
But anyway, that’s this issue done. Onto the final issue of Dark Nights metal. Thank God. We’re are at 29,372 words right now. I’ve been writing this article for like a month on and off- it has been exhausting.
So the issue opens up with the Batman who Laughs revealing who his hostage is (the hostage’s head is covered in bloody bandages) and reveals it to be the Overmonitor;
So he hasn’t been seen since the first Crisis event, which surprisingly is still canon. Joker-Batman’s plan is to use him, the Anti-Monitor’s brain, himself and a bit of Nth Metal to blow themselves up. With the culmination of regular matter, anti-matter and Dark Energy the whole multiverse will be destroyed- including the Dark Multiverse. So Joker Batman will have essentially killed everything that had ever existed. Which I imagine is his perverse dream.
I’m not too sure where this Evil Batman had the time to find the Over-Monitor, but that doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
So most of the Justice League has been defeated and only Wonder Woman and Lady Blackhawk still stand against the hordes of the Dark Multiverse, who have now invaded Earth. They’re fighting off these hordes and we get this panel that I found fucking hysterical;
I’m sorry, there’s just something about Wonder Woman getting rammed by a version of herself that has the head of a Minotaur that makes me so god damn happy.
Of course she’d later behead the Minotaur, cause y’know…she’s Wonder Woman.
Anyway, Kendra advises Diana to clash her Eighth Metal bracelet against the Ninth Metal mace that once belonged to Hawkman, so that she may be heard by the other members of the Justice League. The idea works, as Hal, Aquaman, Mister Terrific and Deathstroke wake up and fight back against the Dark Knights. Terrific manages to convince Plastic Man to wake up from his egg form, giving a huge advantage to his allies.
As Diana and Kendra fly over the battle, Plastic Man hints at the presence of a source from the Dark, which the duo spots near Barbatos himself. Diana jumps inside the hole leading to the Dark Forge, while staying linked to Kendra through the Lasso of Truth. When Diana reaches the ground, she’s confronted by Barbatos’s Dragon (Carter Hall), who actually seems to start getting his conscience back as soon as Kendra arrives and calls him by his true name: Carter Hall.
Barbatos promptly subdues Carter, reminding him of his role, when suddenly behind him comes Flash and Cyborg aboard the Ultima Thule, carrying with them reinforcements from other realities, including the newly discovered Earth-52.
Oh I know that this is just blatant fan service but hOLY FUCK THAT WAS GREAT. I mean we got the Batman from Frank Millers “The Dark Knight Returns” who, let’s be honest, really isn’t cut out for this kind of activity- he’s a sixty year old man for crying out loud. It’s like getting a sixty year old Mike Tyson to fight a mob of Body builders. The Batman in the hat is the Bruce Wayne from Red Son, in which instead of landing in America, Superman lands in Soviet Russia and is raised as a Communist who would later encounter a Russian Batman fighting against the Soviet regime. He’s also a little unqualified to be here.
Then we have the Batman from Bloodstorm, in which Bruce Wayne fights Dracula only to become a Vampire himself. It’s a weird else-worlds tale. Then the final batman is a little hard to make out- I think judging by the collar that it is the Batman from “Gotham by Gaslight” in which Batman is active in the Gotham City of the Victorian era and he fights
Diana resolves to go even deeper to find Batman and Superman, while leaving Kendra with the Lasso to deal with Carter. Kendra screams his name again, this time managing to reignite the Forge of Worlds.
Barbatos isn’t concerned by this, though, since he deems it impossible for them to win down in his territory. However, Wonder Woman resurfaces with Batman and Superman, all of whom are dressed in a glowing metal: the Tenth Metal, coming directly from the Forge of Worlds. Barbatos manages to strike the Thule down, but Cyborg says he’s spotted the Cosmic Tuning Fork, which the Trinity can use to channel the Tenth Metal.
Batman punches one of the Joker-dragons attacking them and tames him, so that he can get to the Tuning Fork faster.
He then strikes Aquaman and Green Lantern with Tenth Metal Batarangs, which give them the same armor as their friends. In fact, the Tenth Metal is the prime constituent of the Forge of Worlds, meaning it is pure possibility. Meanwhile, Doctor Fate leads a team tasked with freeing everyone from the Fork.
Oh and since no one asked for it, here’s what happened to the Gotham Resistance;
It’s a great panel, not so tie in series.
As Barbatos watches all of this unfold, he decides he’ll use the final measure to definitively lower the Earth into darkness: simply scream out his anti-music. Before he can build up his cry though, Carter Hall rises from the Forge and attacks him.
That was fucking awesome. You can just imagine the rock music playing in in the background to this scene. I love it.
Barbatos, enraged, calls for the help of The Batman Who Laughs, who’s now freed his prisoner from his bandages: he’s the Over-Monitor, who’s only starting to recover from the last Multiversal Crisis. He fills him in on his diabolical plan, something even Barbatos may be oblivious to..
Suddenly, Batman turns up behind Who Laughs, but his armor isn’t working in the enemy’s cave because the dark energy cancels it out. The two Batmen fight until Who Laughs shoots Batman in the abdomen, saying he’s the one winning because he’s free from Batman’s moral code. Unexpectedly, though, Who Laughs is shot himself in the back by… the Joker, who for once sides with Batman.
There’s a little awkward moment after this because Joker suggesting that he’s going after the face is a reference to Snyder’s storyline “Death of the Family” in which Joker cut his own face off and tried to kill the Bat family. The reason he currently has a face is solely because of the exposure to Dionesium, which healed him after falling through a cave system.
As the Batman who Laughs is prepared for anything Bruce Wayne would be prepared for, he’s surely not prepared for a team-up with his own arch-nemesis: as he approaches the lever that will activate the machine, Who Laughs, realizing his position, starts laughing maniacally. He’s assaulted by the Joker, while Batman runs away with the Over-Monitor.
Outside, the Justice League, armoured with Tenth Metal, manages to defeat the remaining Dark Knights, and defeat for the each individual member varies drastically. For Superman it’s a punch, but for Aquaman…
That’s why I love Aquaman, he doesn’t fuck around.
Diana throws a piece of Tenth Metal at Kendra, who grabs it and flies through Barbatos, ripping a hole in his chest. While Barbatos is down, Batman arrives with the Over-Monitor, who says they don’t need the antenna to raise the Earth back up.
Since every living thing has trace amounts of Tenth Metal in it, they can use the spark retrieved from the Forge to connect the traces in everyone on Earth, reveal a path out of the dark, and raise the planet as one.
The League unites in an embrace and they let the power of the Tenth Metal flow in everyone. The power spreads across the Earth, putting it back in its proper place and destroying Barbatos’s power. On top of that, it lets them reach the Source Wall, the extreme limit of the Multiverse, and shatter it.
So they literally just held hands and wished that things were better and that’s the problem solved. That’s the end of the issue. Yeah, Snyder kind of sucks at endings.
Ok, so the source wall is mainly a construct that concerns the Green Lantern storylines. Basically in Space, at the very edge of the Universe, there is this wall that marks the end of existence. Any being who touches it becomes a part of the wall themselves. It’s revealed in the epilogue that the wall was holding back various cosmic energies from entering the Universe and by breaking it, the Justice League has opened up the Universe to various new threats.
That white hand in the bottom right hand corner is what the Over Monitor and Anti-Monitor saw when they travelled back in time to the dawn if creation. This big ass hand (probably the hand of God) and if you get to close to it you see everything and are thus cursed to observe, or Monitor, the Universe/Multiverse for eternity. That’s why the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians believe that it is forbidden to observe the beginning of the Universe.
So in the Epilogue the Justice League are all having dinner at Wayne Manor, it’s revealed that Hawkman is safe and sound- he compleetd his journal before going into a coma. Barbatos is locked away under the World Forge, awaiting the return of the True Forger and the House of Heroes is being rebuilt as they speak.
All the while Bruce is giving this speech that basically bemoans “Hey guys, thanks for helping me save the world- totally sorry about almost accidentally unravelling the fabric of the Universe…kind of, I don’t know. Ooh, also, I broke the source wall and now we’re in mortal danger- let’s party!”
So Aquaman summarises this whole Source Wall thing as essentially “Our Universe is a fishbowl that’s just been dropped into the Ocean” which is an apt description of events. But everyone isn’t worried at the moment because they just survived all this shit and it’s time to party (Bruce literally has a disco in his house, it’s so uncharacteristically nice of him) so he, Clark and Diana talk about the stuff that they didn’t even bother to tell the League and the final panel of the book reveals that they’re planning on building a hall of Justice, which is basically like their UN headquarters.
I don’t know if a tourist attraction is going to fix the fact that Batman almost doomed the world, but whatever.
So this event sets up a lot storylines by introducing a few new characters, setting up two new Justice League titles, three or four different team books, an Aquaman storyline in which Atlantis is raised from the bottom of the Ocean and a new Green Lantern storyline with an Ultra Violet lantern and something known as Dark Stars.
Snyder also teases the Dark Pantheon, who are these Deities from across the Source Wall who come to destroy the Universe. They’re basically like four different Galactus’.
So that’s it for Dark Nights metal, this completely absurd, stupid yet awesome story that I simultaneously loved and hated. I think the best sumarisation of this event came from Snyder himself; in which he talks about how the Modern world is just so hectic and he wanted to create something awesomely stupid- like a summer block buster mixed with a heavy metal tour. In which people could escape everything for a brief shimmering moment and focus on something seemingly childish, but definitely necessary to many people.
I think this story emphasises how crucial it is to have Fiction in writing, to have escapism. People lament about how silly Superheroes are, and don’t get me wrong-they’re are, but they’re also important. Because fiction like this is something non partisan, something anyone and everyone could relate to- something that can unite us. I think that’s a valuable thing to have in this world, and that’s why Batman is important.