‘Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of the Multiverses’ #1 portrays the elongated prequel to the grand finale from the point of view of several very prominent superheroes and their evil counterparts. Some of the interludes work, will others don’t. After so many tie-ins and showdowns this may well have been one tie-in too far for this jaded reader.
If you’ve been following Dark Nights Death Metal then I imagine you’ll want to pick up Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of the Multiverses #1 which follows on immediately after the unfolding events of the penultimate issue. In the red corner we have the good guys, while in the blue corner we have the god-like Batman Who Laughs and his twisted multiverse full of horrors. And as Diana faces off against this darkest of dark knights, we get the beginnings of the final battle between the two before switching our attention to other combatants and their evil doppelgängers from another universe. And, in refocussing the readers attention onto others we get a series of spectacles from a variety of DC Comics creators that result in an elongated battle sequence across the course of this comic book.Some of it works, some of it doesn’t. But, at the centre of it all is the one message: hope. A hope that only really exists in the colourful world of comics, and one that we know from past crises will win out in the end. It’s a common theme that the whole book seems to revolve around as Superman, Batman, The Atom and more take their turn facing their darker doubles. The only significant difference this time round is that Wonder Woman will be saving the day and not Superman. A reflection of the times we are living in and DC Comics endeavours to reflect this.
While this one-shot offers up a more detailed, episodic presentation of this final, epic battle, I’m not too sure it actually adds anything new to proceedings. And, coming after so many, many tie-in one-shots, is this a one-shot too far? It’s certainly starting to feel rather repetitive. I mean, take that central message of hope. How many times have we heard that old chestnut? How many times have we already seen Earth’s heroes face off against spikey, dour doubles from another universe? Frankly, it left me feeling somewhat battle fatigued by the halfway point. But then, football – well soccer anyway – is a game of two halves. Thankfully the second half (or third and fourth quarter for all my Colonial cousins reading this) was the better half and saved me from walking away from this one. The better strips pop up nearer the end of this one-shot. And just in time. It did keep my attention and saved it in the end after a few strips I, frankly, skimmed over.
The likes of Mike Perkins, Rob Guillory (in a hilarious Hellblazer instalment scripted by Matthew Rosenberg and that stands out from ALL of the other strips by a country mile) helped save this from being another crass cash grab (although, it is most definitely that as well). But, in a comic this large, I would have preferred a few more stand out stories than there are in this book. I’ve already made mention of the John Constantine strip by Rosenberg and Guillory but there’s also the Swamp Thing portion that rounds off this comic book, written by Justin Jordan and illustrated by Mike Henderson. If ever Ram V and Mike Perkins need a stand-in when coming to produce their upcoming Swamp Thing series in March, they need look no further than this duo.
A book that opened with much promise, as Wonder Woman took on The Batman Who Laughs, then immediately fizzles out before grabbing this reader once again before the finishing line. Like I said, a fan of the series would probably want to add this to their collection, but it’s not a must-have comic for me on this occasion.
Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of the Multiverses #1 is available now from DC Comics