Dark Nights: Metal # 1, Review (with spoilers)

It all starts here: DC Comics event Dark Nights: Metal, by the creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. It's supposed to be an epic, multiversal roller-coaster ride filled with awe-inspiring moments.  In June and July we were treated with not one but two prologues, Dark Night: The Forge and Dark Night: The Casting, that put all the pieces on the table – or so we thought. The mythology was laid bare to prepare us for what was coming. However, what the authors gave us in this first issue was an even bigger canvas where we will be amazed and entertained in.

(from here on out there will be spoilers)

Let me say one thing before continuing: I’m a big fan of comics in general, super-heroes in particular and DC Comics is my favorite universe of this subgenre. I love the archetypical nuances of its characters and the religion-like cosmology that seems to tie all its stories together. Conscious or unconsciously, some of the storytellers that worked for this company in the past three decades want every single issue of its 75-year-plus history to count for the tapestry that is the DC multiverse. One of the biggest names is, of course, Grant Morrison, but also Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, et al. All of them tried, for lack of a better term, to tie everything together. Now you can add another author: Scott Snyder. He goes into full cosmology mode and it’s a wondrous sight to behold.

I love it when super-heroes go cosmic. Don’t get me wrong, I want to read Batman and Daredevil as much as the next guy, the street-level story, but when these characters travel to the end of time, battle impossibly-dark-and-evil-Gods and unravel reality, that’s when I love them the most. That’s why Morrison’s JLA is one of my all-time favorites. Speaking of the mad Scottish writer, he is one of the Snyder's spiritual gurus. He gets a lot of love in this first issue. Be it the Multiversity Map or the reference to Batman’s travel to the far past at the end of Final Crisis, Snyder references these cosmic stories in big and revealing ways. Hawkman’s lore is also a huge part of what it’s trying to be achieved here – don’t forget that this comic is called Metal and one the most important parts of it is the Nth Metal

It’s, of course, still too early to judge the story's quality. We’re at the beginning, but one thing is certain: this is not for the initiated in DC mythology. You have to be knee-deep into a lot of the cosmology minutiae that is part and parcel to this universe (or multiverse, if you want to be accurate). That is, of course, part of its charm but it will, for those less adventurous, be a strenuous read. Think of it like I did when I was on my early teens and read Crisis on Infinite Earths: marvel at the colorful menagerie of characters and geographies that populate the page; absorb every detail with child-like awe; maybe if you drop the adult-vision you’ll be rewarded.

Finally, that last page (huge spoiler ahead). Super-heroes comics revel in the use of surprise endings. Metal has a doozy of an ending, similar to last-year’s DC Rebirth Special: Neil Gaiman’s Sandman pays a visit to Batman – the Daniel version, not Morpheus. It is very similar to adding Alan Moore’s Watchmen to the regular DC multiverse (on the above mentioned DC Rebirth) but not as radical, though some people seem to think so. Don't get me wrong, it’s a huge thing and if done right adds gravitas to the story (I’ll judge its quality in the end). But, if you were paying attention to Grant Morrison’s Multiversity Map, you’ll find that the Endless and Sandman were already an integral part of DC’s cosmogony. Furthermore, Daniel was also used in Morrison’s JLA. So, there’s that.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo promised us a grand ride. If the following chapters are to be judged by this one, we’re in for one. So, please, fasten your seat belts. 

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