All roads lead...to Darkness!!! (Cue amazing guitar solo that shreds your face off.)
What's up, you masters and mistresses of the Dark Realm? It's your metalhead pal Whitney Moore here to chat you up all about the latest issue of DARK NIGHTS: METAL! Number four has definitely revealed a lot more of the core story as well as some amazing surprises, so throw on some Merciful Fate and let's get started!
If there is one thing that Synder and Capullo's Metal series isn't, it's a cut and dry, simple story. Metal has more twists, turns and side stories to keep you busy for a long time. If you're looking to catch up on all the canon, I definitely recommend reading the one-shots, like the just released HAWKMAN: FOUND, that are coming out in addition to the main Metal comics. They'll fill in some of the context behind the events that happen in Metal, which come at you faster than a blast beat drum solo in the main series. That said, if you haven't been following those, no worries! I'll fill you in on what's been happening in the main story so you don't miss a single badass beat.
The events of issue #3 left Batman and Superman being tortured in the Dark Multiverse by Barbatos' cronies, with the rest of the team split into pairs and searching for Nth Metal in hidden pockets of the universe. Nth Metal is, so far, the only thing the team knows that can hurt Barbatos and his monsters, so they're fighting tooth and nail to try to win back not only Gotham, but the universe as we know it.
In issue #4, Snyder has graciously given us some well needed context for this sprawling story via a visit from Dream himself. According to the history of, well...everything, the Forger of Worlds, the being who resided within the heart of the Dark Multiverse, had a pet, a Great Dragon that was tasked with destroying the unstable worlds that should not make it to the Dark Multiverse’s Orrery. Turns out this dragon is Barbatos, and he killed his master so that these dark and twisted worlds would survive. And in an especially surprising last panel (SPOILER ALERT!), we see that Carter Hall has become what Barbatos was to the Forger—a dragon keeper of the Dark Forge.
Hawkgirl also goes through quite the change in this issue as well, as a sinister version of Lady Blackhawk. In an interview with Newsarama, Snyder said, "With Kendra, she has felt his [Barbatos'] influence over time. They both were stabbed by Nth Metal in the past. Trying not to give too much away about what you'll learn, the remnants of that blade in Kendra were much worse than in Carter."
Will Carter and Kendra be able to fight off Barbatos' power over them? Only time will tell, but the story seems to get bigger and bigger with each issue. All I can say is I particularly appreciated the nod to Metallica as Lady BlackHawk shoots a bolt of lightning at Doctor Fate and proclaims, "RIDE THIS."
Another surprise comes from villains that the members of the League are having to deal with in addition to Barbatos and his monsters. In this issue, we meet Onimar Synn and a very sassy Starro, who capture Green Lantern and Mr. Terrific. Though Metal moves so fast, it lingers only on each duo's struggles for a few pages, the addition of power hungry evildoers also chasing after the Nth Metal makes the story that much more exciting. Oh, and did I also mention that Aquaman and Deathstroke found a freakin' portal? Within the tomb of Atlantis' first king, Arion? And leading to destinations unknown?!
I bet we'll find out where in issue #5...
As fast as the events in this issue of Metal transpire, Capullo's art really makes you feel like you're a part of the action. A story as epic as Dark Nights: Metal deserves some equally epic art, and boy does he deliver. The way the realm of The Dreaming and Lucien's Library is illustrated captures the psychedelic mystique of the ancient stories Dream tells Batman and Superman, while the action scenes feel grounded and real. And while the story certainly moves quickly and doesn't linger too long on any one event, Capullo's illustrations make the landmark events in the story memorable.
Issue #4 of Dark Nights: Metal sure does get even more grim, but an inkling of hope still exists among the chaos. If you're looking for some metal jams to listen to while you read this issue, I definitely recommend something progressive and spacey to accompany the Multiverse vibes. Try “Clairvoyant” by The Contortionist!
Let me know what you think of Dark Nights: Metal #4 by tweeting me to @TweetneyMoore, and I'll catch you again for issue #5!