DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 By Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia
Scott Snyder's writing shines once again in DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3, the latest installment in the Dark Multiverse event. With the phenomenal, creepy, yet powerful artwork by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO Plascencia, this issue is another fabulous entry in this series despite some plot struggles.
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Scott Snyder has delivered one roller-coaster of an event with DARK NIGHTS: METAL. Between several comic book tie-ins, this Dark Multiverse has truly taken the DC universe by storm. Scott “Sledgehammer” Snyder and his extensive team, which includes Greg “Chaos Bringer” Capullo, Jonathan “Grim Reaper” Glapion, and FCO “Overkill” Plascencia, further deliver upon this insane, grandiose event with DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3.

DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 finds the DC multiverse at a crossroads. After the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL #2, our heroes must physically and mentally regroup to access the threat of Barbatos. They have a limited time to think up a plan to destroy the Dark Multiverse. Following the end of “Gotham Resistance,” DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 looks to set up further crossovers tie-ins between DARK NIGHTS: METAL and some of our favorite heroes. Yet this issue isn’t just a set-up, as it fully commits to the twisted but incredibly exciting tone of Scott Snyder’s crossover.

DARK NIGHTS: METAL #2 Review: The Batmen Cometh

DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 begins where DARK NIGHTS: METAL #2 left off, with Superman and Wonder Woman trapped in the thralls of Barbatos. The two are able to escape but only after a dangerous confrontation with Barbatos and his nightmare Batmen. Said nightmare Batmen have been real standouts from the DARK NIGHTS: METAL event. Their individual anthology series explaining their origins have been psychologically haunting. The knowledge of how these versions of Bruce became the monsters they are now heightens the sense of unease when reading this installment.

All Roads Lead Back To The Dark

The Batman who has the largest role throughout this crossover is the Batman Who Laughs. This is easily my favorite of all the nightmare Batmen. He seems to have complete apathy for everything Earth Prime’s Batman stands for. When facing-off with Superman, the Batman Who Laughs declares that he’s over his parents’ death and done protecting Gotham. He’s much more satisfied watching the city burn as he hands its protection over to former Arkham inmates. Superman, of course, refuses to believe that there isn’t any good in this Bruce. Scott Snyder makes it quickly very clear that there is no redemption for these Batmen.

DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

This is where we receive another snippet of an explanation for the Dark Multiverse. The Batman Who Laughs tells us: “You fear or hope for something, and it births a world. They tell us we’re your Bruce’s great fears come to life.” While I have no idea how this would work on a cosmic level, I really enjoy this idea. We already knew that the nightmare Batmen represented Bruce’s various fears. However, this confirms it as a literal connection. Perhaps most interesting is that these Batmen treat fear and hope as synonymous. They argue that the things we fear the most are secretly our darkest desires. They’re wishes that will make us stronger in the long term.

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Team-ups Galore

While DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 is an intensive, exciting issue, I don’t think it packs the punch that DARK NIGHTS: METAL #2 did. The beginning and end of this comic are exhilarating. However, the middle section slows the action to a crawl. Snyder is likely using this section to set up individual tie-in comics in the coming month. It’s understandable that crossover events like these are going to need some moments to recalibrate and plan the next few issues. I also never found this section mind-numbingly boring, as it still consisted of splendid Snyder dialogue and fascinating character interactions. It just feels like the pace of this comic comes to a halt during the Oblivion Bar scenes.

Through these pages, Snyder once again shows what a huge DC nerd he is with appearances from D-list DC characters Detective Chimp and Nightmaster. Furthermore, just as I love “Gotham Resistance” for its amazingly unusual team-ups, this issue teases several unbelievable upcoming pairings. It shows team-ups of Mister Terrific with Green Lantern, Flash with Steel, Aquaman with Deathstroke, and Wonder Woman with Doctor Fate. These are some intriguing partnerships that I can’t wait to see play out in future installments.

DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 page 14. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Once again I wish that Snyder made this issue a little less about establishing these teams and more about the action. He makes up for most of it with Superman’s quest into the Dark Multiverse to free his Bruce. This segment of the issue returns to the horror-fueled, psychedelic wonder that DARK NIGHTS: METAL has done so well. There’s also a solid reveal here. It doesn’t quite compare with the twist at the end of DARK NIGHTS: METAL #2, but it still makes me excited for upcoming issues.

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DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 plunges the reader further into the uncanny, ghoulish world of Snyder’s creation. Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO Plascencia create exceptional panels which give readers a combined sense of wonder and unease. There’s a lot of gothic and eerie imagery throughout this issue. I particularly enjoyed when the nightmare Batmen arrived on armored horses, flanked by fire on all sides. It reminded me immediately of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The nightmare Batmen are clearly a horrifying sight but also there’s a lot of fun to them. Snyder and team are delivering on a creepy concept, but they are not taking themselves too seriously. Barbatos’s reveal as a towering, hooded bat-figure is both unsettling and amusing. The visuals in DARK NIGHTS: METAL are so over-the-top yet so self-aware that they perfectly coincide with Snyder’s writing.

DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 page 26. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Perhaps the greatest testament to the masterful art in this comic, however, is the closing pages. Here Superman tries desperately to break into the Dark Multiverse. The image of Clark pushing against the very curtains of his reality and snapping into the Dark Multiverse is beautifully depicted in several panels, which show the force of crossing dimensions. You can feel the anticipation and tension build as Clark tries to burst through to rescue his friend. Then when Superman finally does arrive in the Dark Multiverse, the vast amounts of colors delivered by FCO Plascencia flash and nearly blind your eyes. It’s a gorgeous sensation only cut short by the realization of what the Dark Multiverse brings.

Final Thoughts

Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO Plascencia bring out another win for DC with DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3. As someone who’s read all of the tie-in issues in this event, I can unequivocally say that this installment of DARK NIGHTS: METAL has been fantastic. It truly shows the strength of Scott Snyder, his team, and their strong vision which fully comes to fruition here. While this wasn’t my favorite issue of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, I found it enlightening to discover more about the Dark Multiverse. DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3 also does a terrific job getting me hyped for the future of this event. So sad we’re going to have to wait two months for the next issue, but I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait!

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