Much has been written about Dark Knights: Metal #1 before now, including some fairly heavy spoilers. I will avoid any commentary upon these points in this review, as I managed to remain unspoiled and think it is to the benefit of all involved that any other potential readers approach it with a clear mind.
So what can I say?
Dark Knights: Metal #1 expands upon the ideas presented in Dark Days: The Forge and Dark Days: The Casting, telling a story that is about The DC Comics Universe. Indeed, it puts the ‘meta’ in ‘metal’.
After an opening interlude in which The Justice League are forced to fight on Mongul’s new-and-improved Warworld, the team returns to Earth to find Gotham City in chaos. Their investigation into the cause leads to their crossing paths with the new Blackhawk Squadron, who inform The League of their creation by an archaeologist named Carter Hall.
It was Hall, we learn, who devoted his life to studying a mysterious substance he dubbed Nth Metal, which he believed to be the ultimate source of all superhuman abilities. The League is also informed of Hall’s efforts to map out the universe and his belief that the Nth Metal came from somewhere beyond that… from an unknown dark multiverse!
If it seems like I’m going back on my word to not spoil the story with this summary, understand that I am barely scratching the surface. Such is the depth of the story which Scott Snyder has woven here. I am resisting the urge to cheer and sing for all of the classic elements of the DC Universe lost in The New 52 that Snyder restores so casually in this issue. What makes it all the more miraculous is that the story proves accessible to new readers even as it makes reference to Snyder’s earlier Batman books and Aquaman’s hook-hand from the 1990s.
Unsurprisingly, Greg Capullo puts just as much detail and daring into his pencils. There is a reason why Capullo’s run on Batman with Snyder is well-regarded and that reason is visible in every panel of Dark Knights: Metal #1. Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plascencia provide the perfect finishes and Steve Wands should win an Eisner for his work on the lettering for this book.
It is a rare thing for an event book to live up to its hype. Dark Knights: Metal #1 is such a rarity. The DC Comics Universe has been changed before but for once it doesn’t seem like hyperbole to say that nothing will ever be the same again!