Dark Nights: Death Metal has been an interesting event so far. The “Crisis” by another name has had a main series and story that has bounced around in tone. Then, there’s been a series of tie-in one-shots. They’ve been both key in the storytelling and far superior to the main series. Each of those one-shots is pretty important to the story. They don’t quite stand on their own but also are not easily woven into the main series. Dark Nights: Death Metal Rise of the New God is another example of that. It feels like it introduces really important aspects to the main story but would be difficult to work into the series.
Written by James Tynion IV, Dark Nights: Death Metal Rise of the New God focuses on the battle between the new version of The Batman Who Laughs and Perpetua. It’s occurring on a cosmic scale with the two hurling planets at each other, a concept both awe-inspiring visually and a bit silly at the same time.
The comic though is more focused on Chronicler, a new character to me, whose role is to… watch. Yes, Chronicler is DC”s version of Uatu, Marvel’s Watcher. Its role is to travel the omniverse gathering stories of various realities and their history. With this reality on the brink of destruction, the Chronicler is going to do the same with this universe.
The concept presented is an interesting one with a slight twist more focused on the meta aspect of a storyteller watching a story. The Chronicler becomes obsessed that a reality with such rich stories feels unfinished and so travels around gathering more information. We as readers learn more about the history of the DC Universe and the current situation. In a way Dark Nights: Death Metal Rise of the New God acts as another entry to try to make sense of the current event.
What it does do is add another layer to the already complicated history of DC Crisis events adding in the Omniverse to the Multiverse. It also might be a hint as to what’s to come once Dark Nights: Death Metal is over. It again points to a “new DC universe” driven by this event, one that may return to the classic good vs. evil tropes of classic DC stories.
The art is amazing at times. Jesus Merino is joined by Vicenete Cifuentes on ink and Ulises Arreola on color. The imagery as Chronicler makes his way through the galaxy is just jaw-dropping at times. It’s titans battling in a cosmic way and delivers visuals I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before. Chronicler himself feels like a mix of DC’s history with aspects of classic and modern design mixed together. There’s also some great use of panels and splash pages to really emphasize the epic and titanic nature of what’s happening.
A back-up story takes us to The Bleed where a ship of survivors needs to figure out what to do next. Written by Bryan Edward Hill, the segment has the remaining Green Lanterns unsure of their next move. They know time is not on their side and they’ll eventually be destroyed if they stick to their path. Much like the main story, it too leaves you hanging with whatever to come in another issue elsewhere. It also feels like a segment that couldn’t be fit into the main series, so had to be added somewhere.
With art by Nik Virella, color by Hi-Fi, and lettering by Andworld Design, it’s a decent chapter. The art team is able to mix the desperation the survivors feel with that moment when they decide to fight. While it doesn’t quite hit the level of inspirational, the characters and designs are interesting. It too leaves the reader wanting to see what’s next though this finishes with a more curious “end.”
Dark Nights: Death Metal Rise of the New God is an interesting comic. It has a lot of concepts that could work really well. But, as a comic, it doesn’t stand on its own. It feels like a chapter in the event that without the event, it’d make no sense. As is, it’s inclusion is head-scratching until we read more of what’s to come. It’s a setup of things, clearly, but until that pays off, what’s presented can be a bit confusing and mixed. It has concepts without payoff and new ideas that until this issue hasn’t played into Dark Nights: Death Metal.
Unlike other one-shots, this is one you will likely need to continue to read the event to enjoy. But, if DC is willing to step out into the Omniverse as this comic hints, it’s a sign of some exciting things to come when this event is finally over.
Story: James Tynion IV, Bryan Edward Hill Art: Jesus Merino, Nik Virella
Ink: Vicente Cifuentes Color: Ulises Arreola, Hi-Fi Letterer: Andworld Design
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.35 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review