SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Dark Days: The Forge #1, on sale now.
Don’t call it a crisis; Scott Snyder tells CBR that the upcoming event series Dark Nights: Metal is going to be as big and as bad as events like Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis, but he’s refraining from using the term because while the DC Universe is experiencing a Rebirth, it isn’t in need of proper reset.
The New York Times best-selling writer believes that DC Rebirth has galvanized the comic book publisher’s fan base (sales and critical acclaim support this belief too) and he wants readers to know that Dark Nights: Metal is about expanding the DCU and the Multiverse and finding new places to explore with superheroes and supervillains that don’t need fixing.
The mega event from Snyder and his long-time Batman collaborator Greg Capullo, which begins in August, kicks off this week with the lead-in, one-shot Dark Days: The Forge #1, which is co-written by James Tynion IV and features an all-star team of artists including Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, John Romita, Jr., Scott Williams, Klaus Janson, Danny Miki and Alex Sinclair.
Snyder shared his thoughts on some of the main cast featured in Dark Days: The Forge including Duke Thomas, The Joker and Hawkman, as well as some fan favorite returning characters that haven’t been active in the DCU for some time, like the original Outsiders and Plastic Man. Yes, Plastic Man!
Currently writing All Star Batman for DC Comics, Snyder also revealed how Dark Nights: Metal will run in parallel with some other major upcoming DCU storylines led by DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns like ‘Doomsday Clock’ and ‘Three Jokers.’
CBR: If there was ever any doubt, Dark Days: The Forge #1 shows us that Batman, not Superman, is the ultimate DC boy scout. [Laughs] The Dark Knight is always prepared. He has some big-ticket items hidden away in deep cold storage for the dark days and nights that are coming and one in particular warms my heart, if I’m right. That’s obviously Plastic Man locked up like a Silly Putty egg in the Lunar Bat Cave… right?
Scott Snyder: Yeah, for sure. That’s him. Plastic Man has a good role to play coming up. I don’t want to say what it is, because it plays into Dark Nights: Metal as well, but you’re going to see where we try to land him afterwards. We actually have quite big plans for him. We have big plans for Mister Terrific, too.
Really, we have big plans for every character featured in The Forge and The Casting (slated for July 12) either in Metal or the stuff spinning out of Metal. It’s all part of one big tapestry that we have been planning to unveil for a while. Above all, what we wanted was for people to pick this up and realize the scope and the zany fun that we want Metal to be and what we want the projects spinning out of Metal to be. We’re going to be announcing a lot of stuff between now and San Diego [Comic-Con International], and the goal is for us that if Rebirth has set us on a path that makes people happy with DC in terms of bringing back connective tissue between the characters, bringing back legacy, then now is the time for us to experiment with new directions, with new characters and to keep that spirit to make sure that we are true to core, making sure that we are not bending the characters, sometimes, like they got bent in The New 52, to far-right of center.
With that in mind, we’re trying to do daring and bold storytelling. A lot of stuff coming out of The Forge and The Casting hopefully speaks to that. We want people to be like, “That was as fun as everything in Rebirth, and yet, I did not expect to see that.”
Batman also has something quite amazing hidden deep under the Fortress of Solitude and he needs, surprisingly, not Superman but Mister Miracle to unlock the door. It’s an Anti-Monitor Tower… and Mister Miracle is not happy to find it there. Is Dark Nights: Metal a Crisis-level event for the DCU?
Metal is largely about the discovery of a Dark Multiverse, a place that is completely unknown. It’s not what you think it is, which is a billion Earth-Threes or just evil versions of our characters. It is truly based on the concept of dark energy and dark matter, this idea that there is this reactive, boiling ocean of possibilities. The Multiverse as we know it very, very small. The same way that in the known universe, the positive and negative in the real world is quite small, compared to the amount of dark energy and dark matter that is all around us. It is almost unperceivable to us. In that way, the Dark Multiverse is this complete unknown and when they open the door to it, by mistake, and it comes to invade in its own way, you’ll see that it is that level of event.
The only reason that I haven’t leaned into that word, “crisis,” at all is because those events are so particular in their function for the DC Universe. They’re great. Infinite Crisis and Crisis on Infinite Earths are two of my favorite reads. Crisis being one of those things that I will never forget having read as a kid, when it came out, because it was so mind-blowing. But they were corrective, also. They did things to the Multiverse and continuity that straightened things out and cleaned things up in different ways, as well as giving brave, new, exciting stories. But where we’re at with Rebirth right now, we don’t need to straighten out our versions of those things. We don’t need to fix a lot.
Geoff [Johns] has big plans for Doomsday Clock that will explain Rebirth and what Doctor Manhattan has done. All of the mysteries that were brought up in DC Universe: Rebirth are going to be answered there, so for us, with this, it’s a chance to bring in a vast new area of the DC cosmology and to explore it and create new characters, new tracts and new allies. The characters that are really involved in this story — Batman, Hawkman, the entire Justice League — really are the stars, but everyone from Doctor Fate on is in it in one way or another, and the spirit of it is exploratory. It’s meant to be about how the how the great torch of exploration has been carried through different heroes throughout time. Batman, even as a detective now, is about discovery and finding answers. Sometimes, you find answers to a mystery that you have been following that suddenly throw you backwards and make you feel terrified and yet you have to keep pushing through and seeing what’s on the side. That’s partly what Metal is about too. In that way, yes, we want it to signal that it’s a story that spans the Multiverse, it explores the origins of the Multiverse, it explores the origins of everything, from the Monitors and the Anti-Monitors and so on. It’s that big. But again, I’ve avoided the word “Crisis” because I didn’t want people to think that we are about to reshuffle continuity again in any way.
The Forge, The Casting and Metal also serve as a continuation of the work you have been doing personally with Batman over the past six or seven years. The Forge teases that the Court of Owls have a role to play, we’re going to get more Duke Thomas — and he may possibly finally get his superhero name.
Yes, his name and his role are coming out. I was going to do it in All Star Batman and then they gave us the option of playing him harder into this, so I thought we should do it here. By the end of The Casting, you’ll see his new role, you’ll know about his new book, all of that stuff.
There is also a big reveal in the final pages of The Forge, which is that Batman has also been keeping The Joker on ice in the Batcave. You talked about all of the dark energy and dark matter in the Multiverse, and it doesn’t get any darker than the Clown Prince.
That’s the whole reason that we wanted to use him. Geoff was great about walking us through what the plan is for upcoming “Three Jokers” storyline and giving us the breathing room for what we wanted to do. Just to be clear to readers, this is not going to answer the “Three Jokers” question. That’s really for Geoff — he has a big story planned for that — but what it will do is show us the way that The Joker, like he did during my entire time on Batman, is always there as the Greek chorus of the book, saying to Batman, in one way or another, “You’re doing it wrong” or, “You’re doing it right.” “This is what needs to happen. This is who you are.”
He featured in one way or another in every story that I did with Batman. He even made an appearance at the beginning of “The Court of Owls,” and haunts the Court of Owls in different ways. He’s always lurking, in one way or another. In that way, we felt there was nobody better to be the person that has more answers than anybody. Because The Joker has been there through all of it, and because he discovered bits of the mystery along with Batman that has to do with Metal about different sorts of metal across the DCU that radiate energy beyond any analysis, including the dionesium that we’ve used in our run. He would be the one who would sit there and I say, “I know what’s coming. I know the answers and you don’t want to go down this road.” He provides an incredible source of information for Duke and Hal [Jordan] and yet, at the same time, because he’s The Joker, he’s lying. [Laughs]
He’s always full of mystery, so you don’t know if what he is saying is true or not. He remains a great menace to Batman and actually sets up part of the mystery. He’s really fun. I don’t want to lean into him too hard, because I have used him so much and I have had so much fun with him – and I have more stories planned for him – but he’s always a special character that comes in. I like to use him in really calculated ways.
Finally, there was also a nod to The Outsiders in The Forge and it was the classic lineup of Metamorpho, Black Lightning, Katana, Halo and Geo-Force. Are we getting the return of The Outsiders too or we going to see a new all-star ‘black ops’ team for Batman that includes Plastic Man, Mister Terrific, Mister Miracle, Hal Jordan and Duke?
We definitely have plans for the [original] Outsiders. I wanted to actually re-introduce them about a year ago, honestly, but we couldn’t due to other plans for certain characters. James Tynion has plans for those characters in Detective, and there are also plans for them beyond that. We are excited to integrate those characters back into the Bat-mythos and the DCU as a whole.
Dark Days: The Forge #1 is available now.