Now…I’m not sure, because I have yet to finish the book but…I don’t think I can get mad anymore. I’m just…tired.
I procrastinated reading this a little bit, but once I actually sat down and read it I realised it ended pretty quickly. I had a headache still, but I didn’t get the surge of passion that I got from reading the last two.
I think Scott Snyder has broken me.
I don’t even know how to review this one…I don’t know how to write the synopsis…I don’t know how to judge it anymore. It’s just…it’s fucking nonsense.
This time around I couldn’t bring myself to try and make sense of it. I couldn’t be bothered analyzing what was written. I mean, I still did a little bit, but I wasn’t as nitpicky. I couldn’tbe. I wanted to go to bed at a decent hour and enjoy a good night’s rest.
This issue has so many problems. I’ll try my best to focus on points I haven’t addressed yet, because honestly at this point it’s just more of the same. Capullo’s art is meh, the story is gibberish, Scott Snyder thinks he’s being clever when he’s not, and I feel braindead by the end of the issue. Same story, different issue.
Last week I was getting so frustrated that I ended up disturbing people outside my lab. This week? I just want to throw the damn thing across the room and have a nap. I’m so beyond done…
Sigh. Anyway. I guess it’s on to the review…I apologize in advance if the quality is subpar. This one is…it’s really hard to talk about.
- If this matters to the story, does it account for the stories happening around it, or that have happened before it?
- Is it realistic? Does it get across its intended purpose? Does it flow? Is it consistent to the character speaking? Does it serve a purpose beyond just exposition?
- Does it make sense? Is it easy to follow the sequence of events? Were events properly foreshadowed?
- If there’s a point, is it made and is it made well?
- Is there depth? If not, is there at least some level of intrigue?
- Linework (and Inking)
- How does it look? For inking, is it noticeable? Does it get the job done?
- Do the text bubbles clutter the page, or do they organically work with the art to help tell the story?
- Is it well implemented? Does it fit the tone of the work? Is basic colour theory used? If something experimental is being done, does it work?
- Forms, Proportions, and Perspective
- Do things look the way they should? If not, is this because of a stylistic decision or because of ineptitude?
- Does the artist have a specific style that they like to use, and is it aesthetically pleasing within the context of the work? Is the artist’s style distracting or obnoxious? Dull and bland?
The last issue ended with Wonder Woman and Superman being mummified and us left unsure of what happened to baby Darkseid. We still don’t know, by the way. He could be dead, but considering Darkseid is now a shitty preteen, I guess not. I’d like to think Red Death, the Flash-Batman, tried keeping him as a pet until his daughter/keeper, Grail, poofed in to steal him back.
Anyway, this issue starts with a cute little potluck/concert happening in Clark’s front yard. The adults chitchat and drink while Damian and Jon play the 60s Batman theme song. Clark and Bruce get into a dick measuring contest over their theme songs (which begs the question, does this mean that there are movies and tv shows made about these guys?…did they have to watch Snyder/Whedon’s Justice League?…those poor boys…).
Bruce then tries thanking them for saving him from Barbatos. I guess they defeated him in a tie-in.
Batbatos stabs the shit out of Bruce and Clark starts screaming about how they beat him. Barbatos monologues again and spouts his new catchphrase: “All roads lead back to darkness” (page 3).
Or, “All roads lead back to the dark” (pages 6-7).
Or, “All roads lead to Barbatos” (page 24).
You know…I don’t think Snyder knows how catchphrases are supposed to work.
Anyway, he starts torturing Clark and Diana pulls him out of a purple mess of stuff. I guess it was all just a dream.
Anyway, somehow they managed to escape (don’t ask) and start flying around. A bunch of Doomsday zombies are running around Metropolis – where Soops and Wonder Woman ended up after bring mummified (don’t ask) – and there’s a giant tower of people in the middle of the city.
Wonder Woman tells Soops that Jon is safe but that Lois has been turned into a Doomsday zombie. Angry, Soops goes flying to Gotham, where Barbatos has made his lair, to..I dunno. Beat him up I guess.
There’s another giant tower of people and Barbatos taunts and monologues some more. He also has some weird flying Joker dragon-eels.
Barbatos says his catchphrase and Soops tells him to shut up. It’s literally only the second time he’s said it this issue and I’m with Superman on this one. He’s so fucking annoying.
Anyway, Soops flies off and runs into Doomsday-Batman, called Devastator, who punches him out of the sky. Superman lands in a snowbank in crime alley, where The Batman Who Laughs is waiting to monologue as well. Superman tries to appeal to all of the Batmen’s Brucey natures to bring the good out and Giggles tells him to fuck off. He explains that the reason they exist is because of Bruce Wayne’s fears, and that all multiverses are spawned from people’s fears or hopes…sure.
Then Giggles waxes poetic and poses the question about whether or not they’re actually born from Bruce’s deepest desires. Whatever.
Devastator then starts kicking the crap out of Soops and tells him that fighting them only make you weaker and you can’t actually hurt them. But they can hurt you…?…sure.
Just as Devastator is about to kill Soops, Barry swoops in via Doctor Fate portal and saves him, dragging him into a place called the Oblivion Bar. It’s a place where super folks can hang out that isn’t actually attached to reality or something. Doesn’t matter.
Anyway, most of the Justice League are there, Nightwing and Damian are there, the dudes connected to the Nth metal are there, and Kendra’s there to be a bitch. Goody.
They fill Soops in on everything that’s happened over the last couple days, like the world being taken over by the Batmen and the Teen Titans dying. Y’know, stuff that happens in the tie-ins and not in the ACTUAL story because who’d want to read about battles and rebellion in a main story? Pfft. Ridiculous. Main stories are for tedious arguing between unlikable protagonists for pages and pages on end! Clearly.
Bickering ensues as they realize that Nth metal can hurt them for some reason. Sure.
Turns out Kendra didn’t destroy it all because Steel, Doctor Fate, and Plastic Man Egg are all feeling vibrations or something. Plastic Man Egg even begins vibrating coordinates for Nth metal locations: deep space, under Atlantis, at the centre of the multiverse, and the Dark Universe.
Superman and Damian want to go after Bruce, who’s trapped in the Dark Universe, and nab some Nth metal while they’re there and everyone else is like “nah”. One, because it’s basically a suicide mission since they have no idea what’s out there, and two, because they only have three guys who can locate Nth metal and there are four locations. This is fixed when Deathstroke turns up because he can do it too now I guess because his sword is made of Prometheum…sure.
Anyway blah blah, four more pages of bitching and suddenly the Dark Knights start breaking into the bar’s reality. Everyone scrambles, breaking off into their groups to look for Nth metal.
We follow Soops and Flash and Steel going to the Fortress of Solitude because there’s an anti-monitor antenna thingy that’s dangerous but can transport things into the Phantom Zone which Snyder has suddenly decided is like a thin membrane between real reality and the dark reality or some bullshit. Anyway, Soops is gonna run really fast into the Phatom Zone and break through.
Hey, if Superboy could punch reality and bring Jason Todd back to life, then why not this?
Hm? What’s that?
We don’t talk about the Superboy incident because it’s fucking stupid?
Well, it happened anyway, and so did this.
Part of the reason Soops wants to rescue Bruce so badly is because during that opening dream sequence he said “Carpe Diem”, which Soops interpreted as this code he, Bruce, and Wonder Woman came up with when they were starting out. He explains to Flash, who asks about the code, that it’s a distress code based on their names:
If Clark needs help: DB
If Diana needs help: BC
If Bruce needs help: CD
Why is Clark’s the only one whose code isn’t in alphabetical order? I dunno. How about WHY THE FUCK HAVEN’T WE EVER HEARD OF THIS WARNING CODE BEFORE?!
Oh fuck, look at that. I can still feel emotions! Yay.
Anyway, Bruce, at the end of the dream but before he was stabbed, said Carpe Diem, right? CD. A call for help, surely!
Flash points out that that’s a goddamned stretch, but I guess Soops is as big of a dumbass as Batman and goes for the plan anyway.
Intercut between Soops, hope-filled and starry-eyed, breaking through the Phantom Zone wall are some panels of the Dark Knights chilling in that bar. They killed the immortal owner and the place is burning around them, but Giggles tells Green Lantern-Batman, Dawnbreaker, to go turn on the jukebox. No idea what song is playing, but apparently it’s beautiful.
The point of this sequence is to pump up the twist ending, cos guess what? Carpe Diem was a trap all along, set by Batbatos!
You see, Barbatos wants to drag the Earth into the dark world cos then he wins – it all has something to do with the Earth being the lynchpin to reality or something (don’t ask) – but he needed to power his weird tower things with a battery. That battery was Superman!
So now he has Superman in his clutches, and in the clutches of millions of other Supermen who are all zombified and clawing at him. Bruce is hooked up to the battery too because reasons (don’t ask) and explains that it was Barbatos who sent the Carpe Diem. Bruce sent a reverse warning of ‘DC’ to Clark through the “nananana Batman” song Damian and Jon were playing.
I mean…right? Pffft. Fucking idiot. How could he not know that the “nananana Batman” song is made up of the D and C chords, and that THAT was the warning, because VIBRATIONS are the only thing to break through to the real ‘verse, remember? Because Snyder mentioned vibrations with the metals? Get it?
Does it make sense now, you morons? You plebs? You dumb little comic fans?
No it fucking doesn’t…
This is so fucking dumb.
Again, Pinkie keeps telling me that this is kind of like a bad movie, right? It’s like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. I genuinely adore that film because it’s total junk food. You turn your brain off and you just experience the insanity.
This is the first issue I could kind of almost do that to, but it wasn’t because I was having fun. It’s because I didn’t want to go to bed with a massive headache. It didn’t work, but I tried my best.
Even just skimming through this piece of crap I couldn’t help but feel that same condescending voice of Snyder’s going, “LOOK HOW FUCKING SMRT I AM”. Like, Jesus Christ. Shut UP for fucking once.
Speaking of needing to shut up, Barbatos is a goddamned joke. He’s not fucking scary, and I’m going to address the point I brought up last time about giving a voice to monsters in this review.
This issue also reveals one of the biggest problems I have with this story: over/misuse of tie-ins.
These are the two topics I’ll be focusing on, since trying to rip into the “logic” is just a waste of time. I’d be here blathering for ages, and I know I blather for long enough. This fucking review doesn’t need to be a ten-hour read, so we’ll just skip over that. One thing I would like to address along the same vein is the explanation behind the dark universe and how it comes about… I’m not going to get TOO into it, but I need to pose a couple of questions.
I guess I should just dive in now…
I’ll give Snyder points for this – it was a faster read than the last two.
It wasn’t more enjoyable, it’s just he’s done this bullshit two times now already so I now feel I can skip most of what the characters are saying and get the gist of what’s happening.
Most of the issue is taken up with arguing in the freaky deaky bar, whatever it’s called. I’ve already forgotten. It means literally nothing to the story.
And like…great, and all, but the Earth is being no-so-slowly turned into a nightmare realm by a dark god. Would it not be, I dunno, more interesting to be SEEING that instead of TALKING about that? Show don’t tell?
And on the topic of SHOWING and not TELLING: Barbatos.
So, in my second year of university, I took a course on Medieval and Renaissance literature. Towards the start of this course, we covered the poem Beowulf (maybe you’ve heard of it; I’ve mentioned him before)! In this story, there are exactly three monsters: Grendell, Grendell’s mother, and a dragon.
Something interesting my professor brought up during our seminars on this tale was how the monsters functioned.
Beowulf, as a character, talks a lot. He boasts, he brags. The monsters he fights, on the other hand, have no voices to speak of. They never once get a line of dialogue. Instead, we get descriptions of their actions and how hard Beowulf has to work in order to defeat them.
What my professor ended up talking about was how monsters usually don’t speak if they’re meant to be scary. Sure, there are some examples of characters who talk who can be terrifying, however the truly horrible comes from things that WE CANNOT COMMUNICATE WITH.
This is something that’s pretty primal. I mean, the logic is that if you can talk to it, maybe you can keep it from killing you. If it doesn’t talk or is incapable of speech, it is therefore incapable of being convinced to spare you and is therefore more threatening.
There’s a reason some people fear animals. There’s a reason Jason and Michael Meyers don’t talk. There’s a reason most depictions of vile and violent serial killers in TV and movies go quiet when they attack. It’s because if you literally can’t communicate, then you can’t save yourself. The only option is to fight, and if the opponent is formidable then you know you’re fucked.
Again there are exceptions, and sometimes talking can be intimidating, however I find the best villain speeches that function as intimidation still function as a sign of non-communication. It’s Hannibal Lecter refusing to give up details you want in favour of mocking your own mental anguish. It’s the Joker telling knock-knock jokes as he strips the skin from your face, showing his total disconnect from what’s actually happening. It’s not incessantly trying to remind your victims, “HEY ASSHOLE, I’M SCARY! FEAR ME! BOOGAHBOOGAHBOOGAH!”, which is ALL Barbatos’ dialogue feels like to me.
He’s supposed to be a dark bat god. Instead we get a pale grey Batgod nazgûl thing that just bitches and bitches and bitches!!!
What happened to this being some “beast”, like Kendra claims in the first issue? What happened to him being a bat? What happened to him being the physical embodiment of NIGHTMARE? Fuck, if my nightmares were like this asshole, I’d probably never have a bad dream again!
The way this “dark god” was written is honestly embarrassing. I can’t take anything he says seriously. I can’t believe our favourite heroes all got duped by this fucking clown. And, honestly, the panels with Barbatos on display are SO MUCH BETTER if you just take your hand and cover up his poorly lettered dialogue. Immediately, Capullo’s art is at centre-stage and he looks kinda creepy. Still not god-like or beastial or bat-like, but at least I get a similar level of unease looking at him that I do looking at something like the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth.
Hey! There’s another goddamn terrifying thing THAT DOESN’T FUCKING TALK. How’s about that?
Next up on the chopping block story-wise would be the tie-ins.
Now, I subscribe to the belief that tie-ins to an event should be used as icing on the cake. The story should be the substantive, main course, and tie-ins act as that little bit of garnish that makes an already fun, good story just that much better. It’s not necessary, but it improves upon the experience.
What does Dark Nights: Metal do? It FORCES you to have to go out and buy the MANY tie-ins in order to make the story sensical!
I can’t tell you how many times I asked Pinkie a question my first time reading this thing and his response was, “Well, it’s explained in a tie-in…”
BAD. FUCKING. STORYTELLING.
I shouldn’t be forced to spend money on EXTRA shit in order to make a MAIN EVENT readable!
Want to know how much Dark Nights: Metal costs? If you want the WHOLE story?
Well, there are FOUR books: Dark Nights: Metal, Dark Days: The Road to Metal, Dark Nights: Metal: Dark Knights Rising, and Dark Nights: Metal: The Resistance.
All of these books are currently on sale at Indigo.com, HOWEVER if you look at the actual print prices on the back of the copies: Dark Nights: Metal is $40, Dark Days: The Road to Metal is $40, Dark Nights: Metal: Dark Knights Rising is $40, and I’m assuming Dark Nights: Metal: The Resistance, the only one I don’t own as of writing this, is ALSO priced at around $40.
SO, DC wants you, the comic book fan, to spend $160 (plus tax) in order to complete one of their events…
In context, Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis, which is 2-3 times thicker than Dark Nights: Metal, is $26 and it includes EVERY piece of the story you need for the event.
That’s REALLY fucking fair, right?
This is insulting to the fans as it’s SUCH a blatant cash grab. DC has been pumping out SHIT since Didio took over, and so this comes across as, “Welp…gotta make our money SOMEHOW”. I mean, that “Wedding Album” of yours isn’t selling shit, now is it DC?
And you may be asking, “Well, how do you know the tie-ins factor to the story”. I mean, beyond huge chunks of story missing and characters filling in details of stories we haven’t seen? Well, the lovely editors Eddie and Tay ADVERTISE the tie in that explains how Nightwing went from Dick Grayson to Kit Harrington. Real classy, guys. Really nice. I hope you’re fucking proud of your hard work there.
Maybe, if y’all had DONE YOUR GODDAMN JOB AND EDITED SOMETHING, this story wouldn’t be a nonsensical fucking mess!
And this brings me to my final point: The science, once again, makes no fucking sense.
- Since when do multiverses spring up because of someone’s fears? I understand the idea of multiverses as cropping up from people’s decisions and any crossroads someone faces means there are as many universes as there are branches of decisions people can make. On top of that, as Snyder reminded us LAST ISSUE, DC’s multiverse sprang into being because a dude looked at a hand making everything and it shattered the creation into 52 things or something. So…uh, how exactly does this new multiverse theory fit in again?
- If the Dark Knights are all fears of Batman’s, then why is the Aquaman version of Batman a woman? Now, I haven’t read her backstory yet, so I can’t delve too deeply into this, but allegedly Bryce Wayne turns evil because an Atlantean killed her husband, Sylvester Kyle…so…the woman on the team is evil because she couldn’t handle the death of her husband…and this is apparently a fear of Bruce’s…? See, if this was a NORMAL multiverse, and it was just a randomly occurring possible reality, then having her on the team wouldn’t seem as blatantly token-y or sexist as it does right now. And yes, I can claim these things because this goddamn book shows concept art of Aquaman-Batman, and the first design was A DUDE. So it’s not like they planned from the start to make one of the Bruces female. Someone just thought, “Yo, why not make a chick?”
- Why did Batman come up with such a convoluted scheme to get a warning across planes to Clark? Why use the stupid ‘DC’ code, that Snyder literally made up and has never been a thing before despite him claiming it was totally a thing before, and instead use something a little more OBVIOUS, like Morse code or the Cluemaster’s Code? Something Clark might ACTUALLY recognize? You could say it’s because he needed to be subtle or else Barbatos would catch on, but it seems to me like Barbatos the all-knowing god would be able to tell anyway. In fact, he DID know about the plan because the Dark Knights knew about the plan and Barbatos clearlybknew that VISUALS and more OBVIOUS auditory warnings would be BETTER. Since that’s what WORKED. So Bruce is still a fucking idiot. Great.
- Why does Barbatos suddenly need Superman? All we’ve gotten so far is Batman, prophesy, Batman, prophesy, Batman Batman Batman. So now, out of nowhere, he needs Soops? Since when? I thought the danger lay with Barbatos getting his hands on Bruce, and once that happened it was game over? Now, all of a sudden, to bring the Earth into the Dark Universe, he needs Superman to act as a battery to a thing…what even is the thing? Since when did Barbatos’ plan involve dragging Earth into the Dark Universe? I thought the threat was bringing the Dark Universe to the Earth and spreading from there like a virus? WHAT THE FUCK IS EVEN HIS PLAN? WHAT’S THE PURPOSE OF THIS PLAN? ACTUALLY, IF HE’S A GOD, WHY NOT MAKE HIS OWN EARTHS TO FUCK WITH? WHY FUCK WITH THE NORMAL WORLDS? AND, IF HE’S ALL POWERFUL, WHY DOES HE NEED BATTERIES!? ARGH.
- Why do they need Nth metal to hurt the Dark Knights? It might kind of make sense for Barbatos (maybe?), but if the logic is that they can only be hurt by something that rings at the same universal pitch as them…wait, wouldn’t your vibrations change once you enter a new universe? Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to stay there, like in Spider-Verse! The other Spider-Guys couldn’t stay for long in Miles’ universe because their atoms didn’t mesh. Wouldn’t that be the same here, only with vibrations? Is THAT why Barbatos has to drag Earth into the Dark Universe? But if that’s not the case, then why can’t the Dark Knights be hurt? Because they’d be at the same level as everyone else now…and, while I realize I haven’t read too many cross-universe DC stories, I don’t recall any instances of people not being able to get hurt because they were in a different universe. I mean, that would make Injustice: Gods Among Us a really easy game if that was the case…and if this IS the reason Barbatos is dragging the Earth into the Dark Universe, WHY NOT EXPLAIN THAT THEN, MISTER EXPLAINY-PANTS!?
- IF, like he says, ALL roads lead back to him, THEN HOW IN THE FUCK CAN ANYONE EVEN ATTEMPT TO BEAT HIM!? Unless he’s lying about being all powerful and scary and whatever…Put a pin in that.
There are more things I could likely bring up, but again, I don’t want this fuckin’ thing to be ages long so I’ll stop here.
One nice thing I’ll say is that I liked Giggles handing over sections of Gotham to different villains. The idea of Mr. Freeze owning some of Gotham to make his own personal Jotunheim with frost giants is kinda sick. However, we never see Mr. Freeze or these frost giants, so you only get half a point for creativity.
It’s in Dark Nights: The Resistance?
The one book of tie-ins that ISN’T actually necessary to plot, and therefore is pretty well useless to buy after spending an additional $80 on books you actually need?
Continuity – D-
Dialogue – D-
Coherence – R
Conciseness – D
It’s certainly not Capullo’s best, but again he wasn’t given much to work with. It’s another long issue of talking and arguing. That must be SO MUCH FUN to draw.
Still, even when Capullo actually has stuff to do and tries it just seems half-hearted. Like, what the fuck is Barbatos’ design? Someone gives you “create nightmare” and all you can come up with is a grey dude with a hood and bat wings? Wooo…scary…
And shame on the colourists for not helping with the spook-factor AT ALL. I mean, grey? Really? Light grey and neon purple…yep, those truly ARE the colours of terror.
Did ANY of you go to school for art?????? You should KNOW BETTER. Hell, there are talented self-taught artists and colourists who know fucking better! There are people who make webcomics as a HOBBY who know fucking better!
Hell, GOOGLE horror and see what colours come up. When I do it I’m seeing a lot of black and red and some really cold blues and sickly yellows. You know what I don’t see? GREY AND FUCKING PURPLE.
Here, I’m going to share an image with you all. It’s something Pinkie sent me. It’s Capullo and the same team of colourists as DN:M:
Now, it also uses grey and purple, but notice the difference? For one, it’s actually scary, and two it’s ACTUALLY FUCKING DARK.
Also there aren’t obnoxious words plastered everywhere like neon signs down the red light district.
The letterer SUCKS in this issue. All he seems to do is cover up Capullo’s art. And there are a couple of instances of characters whispering and the writing goes grey? What the fuck IS THAT? It looks like a defect! Honestly, I didn’t even realize that this was meant to represent whispering at first. I really just thought the printer ran out of ink or something. It looks like GARBAGE.
Actually, looking at these panels again, the characters aren’t even fucking whispering. They’re, like, speaking in low or sombre voices. THERE IS NO REASON FOR THIS.
Christ, this is just embarrassing.
It’s good for any would-be comic artists and letterers out there: here’s what NOT to fucking do if you want something to look GOOD.
Linework (and Inking) – B
Lettering – R
Colour – B-
Forms, Proportions, and Perspective – A
Style – C
I did manage to get angry. So…good. Emotions eventually returned. That is a good thing, I’m told.
I just…on its own, this issue isn’t horrendous. It’s still bad and annoying, but it’s made so MUCH worse knowing that the other two issues came before this. It’s like Snyder just keeps doubling down on this shit and, instead of trying to fix it or, I don’t know, MAKE IT GOOD he just keeps writing whatever nonsense comes to him in the middle of the night.
It’s just exhausting at this point. I keep waiting for the thing that’ll make me go, “OOOH, now I understand why people like it so much”, and it just isn’t happening.
I can’t see this shit as anything but lazy and insulting to one’s intelligence. It feels like Snyder thinks we’re dumb and will just accept whatever lazy bullshit he throws at us and us comic fans will eat it up because it has the Batmans and some METAL.
This shit is insulting to the term metal. This isn’t metal. It’s not hardcore. It’s not intense or exciting or spooky or gritty. It’s just…a fucking headache.
I just…I don’t know what to say anymore.
FINAL GRADE: D+
Lots of new stuff coming soon. Been working hard behind the scenes. I mean, it hasn’t ALL just been me avoiding Metal.
If you’re curious about what’s coming up soon, check out our Instagram!
Until next time.
- Mr. Freeze's Jotunheim adventures is something I'd want to see
- My head canon of Red Death taking on baby Darkseid as a pet amuses me
- Story telling is WEAK on ALL fronts
- Barbatos is NOT scary when he ought to be...
- The lettering is AWFUL