“Not All That Glitters Is Gold” – Reviewing Dark Nights: Metal #6

by Oliver MacNamee

What started off as such a promising series for us hardcore DC fans, and with such a pedigree too, seemed to lose it’s way halfway through and, for me, never really recovered. With delays and later issues reading as nothing more than old-school JLA team-up and beat up fights, and countless tie-ins that I failed to show any interest in, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s big event book started with a bang and ended up as a damn firework. And yet, it had all the ingredients of the makings of a great epic.

Elements of DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths mixed in with more modern moments from DC’s history: the musicality of the multiverse established by Grant Morrison, Barbatos, the dark god of the Dark Multiverse, another borrowing from Morrison’s mad run on Batman, and the inclusion (once again) of multiple Batmans from various elsewhere series that seem to crop up more often than not these days, making the whole affair a little less special with each appearance. Is it still a crowd pleaser to see Miller’s Dark Knight and Millar’s Red Son Batman pop up? Again? Personally, the inclusion of multiverse Batmans in the Bat-mite starring Brave and The Bold cartoon series is my all time favourite appearance of these overused Batmen. If you can’t top that, don’t bother.

It doesn’t help that several New Age of Heroes titles have already launched, so when you do get to the ending of this issue, it’s all a little too predictable, as the groundwork for these series are hastily tagged on as as a clunky and clumsy epilogue that not only paves the way for the Hawkman relaunch, but also hints at dangers to come ahead of Snynder’s JL magnum opus, Justice League: No Justice. It seems that this was always going to be a book that made way for newer titles. And it didn’t even do that well in the end.

It hurts me to write such a negative review. I mean, there are so many comics out there for me to be selective with my choices. But, I’ve followed this from the start and so couldn’t leave this final issue hanging. Even though it was tempting. But, in comparison to Snynder’s other writing gigs, this one seems a rare misstep for him. He proved he could do mythical on his Batman run, but on this title, he seemed to be at the mercy of where this had to end, rather than where he could take it. That, and the fact that sometimes (most times) Batman is better as a street level vigilante. Leave the cosmic for the likes of Green Lantern, Superman and others.

Capullo seemed to have fun though, and on a scale he isn’t used to in terms of DC characters. And each issue was, as always with Capullo’s art, a delight to behold as he deftly draws the sublime and the gothic with equal gusto. His bad guys are bad to the bone, and grotesque with it, while his Superman exudes both a naivety about his face and rock solid strength, too. A man who sees the best in everyone.

Having said that, I’d be mad not to pick up his Justice League work, and look forward to seeing what he can accomplish in an ongoing, rather than a limited series, that in my opinion could have been even more limited. By about three issues.

A gleaming, shiny start, but a tarnished ending for me. Proving, as my header states, not all that glitters is gold. Sometimes, it’s just the foil covers.

Dark Knights: Metal #6 arrived on March 28th, 2018 from DC.