Dark Nights Death Metal The Last 52 War of the Multiverses #1
Written by Joshua Williamson, Scott Snyder, Magdalene Visaggio, James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins, Regine Sawyer, Che Grayson, Marguerite Bennett, Matthew Rosenberg and Justin Jordan
Art by Dexter Soy, Scott Koblish, Paul Pelletier, Alex Maleev, Scott Kolins, Alitha Martinez, Pop Mhan, Inaki Miranda, Rob Guillory and Mike Henderson
Inks by Norm Rapmund and Mark Morales
Colors by Veronica Gandini, Adriano Lucas, Matt Hollingsworth, John Kalisz, Emilio Lopez, Chris Sotomayor, Eve De La Cruz and Marissa Louise
Letters by Tom Napolitano, Rob Leigh, Troy Peteri, Carlos M Mangual, Andworld Design and Dave Sharpe
The Rundown: Nine stories chronicle the end of the DC universe as we know it, but what will emerge from the ashes?
Wonder Woman, imbued with the power of truth, faces off against the Batman Who Laughs who has some dark truths of his own to show her. This is a great lead up to the finale of Death Metal. It puts all the pieces on the board and Williamson and Snyder do an excellent job of tapping into the emotions of both the characters and the reader. There is some great art from Soy and Koblish as well that is sweeping in its scope and details.
First and Last Men
Superman and family fight for the future of the multiverse and Clark tries to appeal to the most dangerous dark version of himself. As dark, powerful versions of Superman take on the heroes, Clark will show that there is still hope and that is all the power he needs, but he will also get an assist from some unexpected sources. A great interlude that reminds the reader of what Superman stands for. Beautiful, energetic art from Pelletier.
The Batmen Who Laugh
Batman continues the fight with his family behind him, but even he has to contemplate his limits and those of the people he loves. After resurrecting the Batman Who Laughs, he takes the villain into battle with him, but soon discovers that his hold on his nemesis is not as strong as he thinks. This is a beautifully twisted and dark story from James Tynion IV. It gets to the heart of the contrast between these characters and creates something truly nightmarish and interesting. Alex Maleev’s art brings that darkness to brilliant light as well.
The scientists of the DC universe come up with a plan that might save the multiverse, but Ryan Choi has his doubts. As the battle rages around them, Terrific and others believe using the Metal Men might be the trick to turning the tide, but Ryan Choi will have to face a dark version of himself and his own fears of failure. A really good story that imbues the character with humanity is his quest to overcome his own fears.
No More Superheroes
Lois Lane faces a dark version of herself filled with power, hate and purpose. Lois confronts a dark version of herself that is filled with all of her fears about a world of superheroes. As a superpowered dark Lois tells her double about the world she created and how she destroyed its heroes, Lois realizes that her plan to kill her husband will require Lois to do what she does when she’s in danger, but Lois Lane is stronger than her fear. A tragic, dark interlude that has a wonderful cliffhanger ending.
Falling Through the Cracks
The Teen Titans find themselves facing their dark doubles and their leader Raven. As the team fights their dark selves, Raven faces off with a version of herself that embraced the power of Trigon and wants Raven to do the same. A prospect the hero will oppose using the one thing that separates the two of them. The story was really good and the art was fantastic. I wish it were a little longer, but it was powerfully told.
Penguin faces off against twisted versions of himself that offend both his sensibilities and threaten his legacy. With the final battle for the multiverse raging, Penguin looks at versions of himself that he is determined to erase from existence. Versions that are the opposite of everything he has fought to overcome and he will discover a new power within him that will shock everyone. An interesting and unexpected story that was captivating in its study of the character.
John Constantine doesn’t normally put himself in the middle of the action even at the end of the world. So when a dark version of himself threatens to kill him, John does what he does best, offer him a drink. While the rest of the battle rages, John and his double find the remains of a bar where they proceed to talk, laugh and drink until the other thing John does well come into play, change the rules. A great story from Rosenberg that is both fun and funny.
Reign of the Swamp King
Swamp Thing takes on his destructive double the Swamp King. ON his world, Swamp King destroyed or consumed everything in his bid to spread life, but the monsters of the DC universe will fight to stop him. Swamp Thing and his forces fight to the creatures home and at the turn of the battle, Swamp Thing uses the one thing his double lacks to find a unique way to stop him. A great story from start to finish with some beautiful art from Mike Henderson.