SPOILER WARNING: Do not read this review if you have not already read Dark Knights: Metal #2.
Flash Fact: Newton’s Third Law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Flash Fact: Everett’s Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics asserts that for every decision, there is a parallel universe where the opposite choice is taken. This is also called the Many Worlds Interpretation or MWI.
Flash Fact: Anything that can happen, will happen somewhere. Even if only as an Imaginary Story.
Imagine a whole multiverse full of stories that were never meant to happen, except as a hypothetical – an expression of the road not taken.
Imagine an infinity of worlds where the hero arrived a second too late. Where the villains won. Where the heroes became greater monsters than the villains they fought.
Imagine a world in Crisis, where a desperate Batman stole the power of The Speed Force and all but murdered The Flash in a bid to try and avert the end of everything he loved.
This is The Dark Multiverse. And they have seen The Light…
More than any of the Dark Knights: Metal tie-ins to date, Batman: The Red Death #1 makes the basic concept of the mega-event clear. It was uncertain to some readers if the mysterious figures seen at the end of Dark Knights: Metal #2 really were, as they claimed, the Batmen of other universes. Batman: The Red Death #1 reveals that at least one of them – the titular Red Death – was telling the truth, as this issue concerns itself with his origins and how he came to learn the nature of The Dark Multiverse.
It is worth noting that despite being labeled as a Batman book, this issue is equally concerned with The Flash. Indeed, the creative team for Batman: The Red Death #1 consists of the same creators who work on the monthly The Flash title. Perhaps this is why, despite nominally being focused on Bruce Wayne, most of the emotional resonance of Joshua Williamson’s script seems to lie with Barry Allen? In any case, the story of the conflict between the two former allies is stunning, particularly in the wake of The Button.
Carmine Di Giandomenico proves the perfect artist to illustrate this story. His kinetic style, at its best when depicting objects in motion, proves equally capable of capturing the dark spirit of Gotham City and the disturbing applications Batman finds for using The Speed Force to strike at his enemies. Ivan Plascencia provides the perfect finishes, with most of the issue tinted in red and yellows. The colors of The Flash, yes, but also the colors of fire, energy and destruction!
Batman: The Red Death #1 proves a thrilling Elseworlds adventure. Fans who enjoy the monthly The Flash comic will want to pick this one up to see their favorite creators spinning a darker sort of story with the same characters. And it goes without saying that this is essential reading for everyone following the Dark Knights: Metal saga.