DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL #6/ Story by SCOTT SNYDER/ Pencils by GREG CAPPULLO/ Inks by JONATHAN GLAPION/ Colors by FCO PLASCNCIA/ Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Published by DC COMICS
It’s a tricky thing reviewing the middle chapters of an event comic book. Such issues rarely stand on their own and require some intensive exposition. Dark Nights: Death Metal #6 is no exception to this truism.
I enjoyed this book, but that enjoyment comes from my having been following the story so far through several years of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion collaborating. Coming into this issue now without that knowledge is a bit like coming in three-quarters of the way through an action movie; you may be able to figure out the gist of what is going on, but a lot of the nuance will be lost.
This issue is almost entirely all action, with little in the way of character development or plot. It is the beginning of the end, quite literally, as a Superman and a Batman lead an army of heroes, villains and general survivors from many worlds against the nightmarish followers of The Batman Who Laughs. At the same time, The Batman Who Laughs, now elevated to godhood of a sort, does battle with the goddess Perpetua, the architect of the multiverse, in a bid to unmake all reality. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman, accompanied by an army of Lobo clones, makes a desperate pilgrimage to the Forge of Worlds – the one place in the Multiverse where salvation might be made.
Confused? I’m afraid there’s little I can do to explain beyond that and there’s not much to this issue beyond a lot of high-octane action sequences. If you want something more thoughtful and character driven, check out last week’s excellent The Last Stories of the DC Universe. While Snyder can do great character work, his focus here is on cranking the volume to 11 and wailing at the walls until they collapse.
Capullo and Glapion match that attitude with a number of excellent multi-panel two-page spreads, showcasing the battlefield as what may as well be All of Hell breaking loose. As one would expect given their long history together, Capullo and Glapion work magic and this is one gorgeous, if rough-looking book. This suits the story perfectly, however, and is ironically contrasted with the bright colors chosen by FCO Plascencia. Looking at some of the character designs, one would expect their costumes to be faded and worn. Yet in the darkest hour of the DC Multiverse, they shine – hero and villain alike.
I hate to describe Dark Nights: Death Metal #6 as a high-action book, as that makes it sound more thoughtless than it really is, even if most of the thought behind this series came in earlier chapters and this is all climax building to the grand finale. It’s an appropriate build, however, and the creative team is firing on all eight cylinders. As a part of the finished product, it may fare better, but on its own this issue is good, but not great. That’s not damning with faint praise; merely the reality of reviewing the penultimate chapter of anything.