Review: ‘Dark Nights: Death Metal’ #4 Is A Solid Issue, But With A Lot Of Plates Spinning

by Olly MacNamee


Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman travel to worlds in crises only to find that not all is as it should be. While Batman struggles in a sea of emptiness, Wonder Woman has a heart-to-heart with Superboy Prime and Superman comes face-to-face with Darkseid. It’s looking dark for our heroes in an issue that certainly feels like a midway point with its reliance of exposition and dialogue. But, a solid issue nonetheless made all that bit more brighter by Greg Capullo.


The DC trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman head out to face crises worlds only to find darker versions awaiting them and the return of meta-hero, Superboy Prime. And, just as his creator Geoff Johns used him to pass comment on the fanboy community out there, so too does Scott Snyder here. Although, since the last time we saw Superboy Prime the world of comic book fandom has come undone and has remained very much a divided community. If you know anything about Superboy Prime’s allegorical dimension – or metatextual status –  then you won’t need to guess too much as to which toxic part of the comic book community he represents. Especially when you see the world he has created. A world of Silver Age naivety and ideal representations that seem so out of touch with our modern multi-cultural world today. But, as the book progresses there is some hope for him, even if there is very little hope in reality for the particular portion of the ageing comic book readership he speaks for. 
It’s another issue that, while catching up readers on the action of the ever-growing number of tie-in one-shots, is beginning to feel like a book you buy as a compendium piece and not necessarily the main event. Add to that all the various cutaways we get as we speedily dip in and out of the various team-ups occurring all across the multiverse, or what’s left of it and it certainly feels like a book midway through it’s run. Setting characters up and aiming them in the right direction ahead of the last furlong of this marathon race that Snyder has been masterminding for the past half a decade. You certainly need a good working knowledge of the DCU, past and present, to get the most out of this series. Which is a shame, really, but maybe to be expected given that readership is still dominated by long-term fans like myself.

Of course, this is a huge event and as such has a lot of plates to keep spinning. But, with each tie-in, it can feel like Snyder is only adding to an already dizzying and precarious array set-up. But, with a heavy reliance of dialogue – something I have always enjoyed in my comics – Snyder keeps this issue grounded. Wonder Woman debates with Superboy while Snyder seems to relish the horror of the Robin King. 
All the while Greg Cappullo and Johnathan Glapion make every page a stellar spectacle to behold whether it’s the shiny, bright impossible world of Superboy Prime or the gruesome dark depths of the Dark Multiverse and Swamp Thing and Harley Quinn’s brush with the Robin King. With the bombastic, all encompassing and high-concept script from Snyder and outstanding art from Capullo, this certainly has all the trimmings of a great series in the making and one I’m still invested heavily. Between the two of them, and with the recent revelations that Snyder will be more or less leaving DC Comics behind to pursue other projects, this reads even more like a love letter to the DCU he and I both grew up with. And now with the tantalising tease of DC Future State rolling out of this series, I’m even more excited to see what comes next.
Dark Nights: Death Metal #4 is out now from DC Comics

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