Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Dark Nights: Metal” event is here again with a cover that would make for some amazing heavy metal album art. Check our review to see if the contents of the issue are as good but be warned that there are a spoiler or two.
Written by Scott Snyder
Pencilled by Greg Capullo
Inked by Jonathan Glapion
Coloured by FCO Plascencia
Lettered by Steve Wands
Superman is pulled into the mystery of the Dark Multiverse while the Justice League follows the trail to a weapon that could keep the forces of the Dark Multiverse at bay!
One of the best things about this series is how the creative team feasts with the dark elements and has fun with them instead of making the tone dead serious. It is evident in this issue too. Our heroes are in a dire situation, especially the ending scene where Snyder utilizes Grant Morrison’s idea of the role of vibrations in the Multiverse is a dark moment. A lot of the fun stuff of the first and second issue, like Batman riding a dinosaur and baby Darkseid are sadly absent from this part. Nevertheless, there are warm heartfelt scenes, and even humour present.
The tones of the opening and ending scene are a great contrast to each other and both of them include the 1960s Batman theme, which apparently exists in the DCU, and which Batman has memorized the notes to and uses in his plan. That itself is like something out of the Batman show that the song was made for, and therefore ridiculous and at the same time ridiculously awesome. Maybe the “ridiculous” weights over the “awesome,” because it is so unlikely that this plan ever could have worked, because it required Superman to also know musical notes, pick them up from a song and realize there’s a secret backwards message in them. Of course this is the World’s Finest we are talking about, so anything is possible, but it can hardly be called a clever “I should’ve realized that!” moment.
There are new additions to the large cast again, but all of the characters have a clear position with Superman having the most important role this time around. The story jumps around but is focused on the same group of characters and the same goal, so it doesn’t get overly messy. It’s interesting to see what decisions the characters make and there are some quite touching small moments included between many of them. What brings this issue down a bit is the pacing. Near the beginning the story just kind of rams forward and Superman’s meeting with the evil Batmen is disappointingly short (and I’m saying that as someone who’s pretty damn tired of seeing Superman punched by Batman or copies of Batman.) Then Snyder suddenly halts the storytelling for many pages with the characters hiding in the Oblivion Bar. Them sitting around at the bar wouldn’t be a problem if the scene was more of a breathing space for the reader too, but instead it is filled with explanations. While there isn’t just as much too word-heavy exposition done as in the past issues, there’s still a lot of stuff crammed in there, from backstory to deciding and explaining future plans.
Greg Capullo has crafted a great look for this issue. In some scenes Capullo manages to create an almost claustrophobic feeling with the panels being filled with small details, horror elements and rain, energy bursts and lightning. The layouts, however, don’t add to that feeling since the pages aren’t crammed full with small panels. Barbatos and the Joker serpents look terrifying in a fun way. For some reason Capullo uses quite a lot of lines when drawing Clarks’s face, which makes him look more rugged than Bruce, who looks very smooth and fresh-faced in the opening scene. Jonathan Glapion’s inks give the artwork a dynamic edge that fits this fast-paced event. Colourist FCO Plascencia has mixed a wide colour palette with a lot of black and the result might be far from harmonious, but suits the dark energetic feeling of the comic. There are a lot of different fonts for the evil Batmen and letterer Steve Wands manages to differentiate them well. “Dark Nights: Metal” #3 is really a shining example of what happens when all the creators of a comic know what they’re aiming for as a team and all manage to add something of their own to the overall aesthetic, and the great reading experience is only brought down a notch by the pacing of the issue and the overload of exposition it contains.Continued below
Final verdict: 7.3 – If this issue was a song, it would be an enjoyable but slightly dragging heavy metal number performed by a classic but still innovative band.