You can almost hear the riff of the guitar hitting. The band is back together and they’re being joined by some real superstars in DC’s next big event. In this case, the band is the renowned team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo from Batman. This is their first work together after just over a year, and it is shaping up to be something special. Do you like dinosaurs, axes, and fire? It’s all about fun when it comes to Dark Nights: Metal. The crazy thing is that this just the tip of the iceberg.
This is also the beginning of a whole new line of comics called “Dark Matter.” DC has taken the opportunity to pull out some of the big guns for this in terms of both art and writing. Any longtime comic fan will recognize the names associated with these comics. They are icons and their art has been prominent throughout the marketing of major DC characters for a long time. With this line comes new characters for people to explore. There will also be some returning characters over the course of the event and the new line as well. So feel the adrenaline pump and the butterflies in your stomach as you get primed for some Metal.
WARNING: There are spoilers for multiple recent DC Comics titles in this list!
15. BATMAN’S LAST MISSION?
Batman has been through a lot recently. The words of his father during “The Button” crossover have to be plaguing him greatly. We know he has made a marriage proposal to Selina Kyle. Is Bruce Wayne ready to settle down? Perhaps this large, history-spanning mystery that has been alluded to is the last thing Batman needs to take care of, ever.
As unlikely as it may seem, Batman’s direction does seem to be shifting. There are a lot of supporting cast members in place. The regular Batman title is telling a story set in the past called,”The War of Jokes and Riddles.” There is also a future story coming in All Star Batman with the same writer. The amount of hints for big changes for Batman make Metal look like a story with serious ramifications.
14. GIVING NTH METAL ITS DUE
Much of what is exciting about the upcoming stories centers on something that has played a role in the DC Universe for a long time. Nth Metal is an element that has mostly been associated with Hawkman and allows for flight and increased strength among other mysterious abilities. As the namesake for the event, and its obvious connections to some of the main characters, we know this is going to be big.
Will multiple characters get the chance to use Nth Metal’s powers? What are some of Nth Metal’s unknown abilities? The clean slate of Nth Metal and its properties connecting to other universes and the timeline of the DC Universe should be fun to see, and give a push to this element that may even make it surpass Kryptonite.
13. BUILDING UP THE HISTORY OF THE DCU AGAIN
The “Dark Days” prelude stories are going to be set in multiple time periods and look to be establishing a long-running mystery throughout time. Certainly there are early hints of the Egyptian origins of the Hawks, but there looks to a lot more here as well.
Tynion’s Immortal Men is said to detail the story of five siblings who are immortal and were born at the literal dawn of time. New Challengers will deal with a new spin on the original Challengers of the Unknown, and they were sometimes time travelers. There is also the question of memories when it comes to Hawkman and all of his past lives. The amount of restored history here could really take all the work of Rebirth and supplement it substantially without being a cheap retcon. It should be fun puzzle to watch assemble.
12. NEW CHARACTERS TO EXPLORE
Much of the Dark Matter line will include new characters. Creating new characters in comics is always a balancing act in that it is not always easy to know what is going to hit with fans. In this case, DC’s use of top name artists and writers should help bring more eyes to the books than usual. For example, The Immortal Men has a creative team of rising star James Tynion IV and Jim Lee, a comic book legend.
This book will sell and the creative team involved indicates something worth checking out. There are even some seeming variations on concepts from before. Elements of The Silencer sound like Crimson Avenger. Damage is a name that has been used in DC Comics before. And perhaps the most recognizable name comes in our next entry.
11. CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN RETURN
The Challengers of the Unknown are a group of dimensional explorers. They have had multiple iterations over the years. For those who are not familiar with them, their reintroduction makes a lot of sense based on what we know about Metal. The original group consisted of four members with different personality traits who could travel through space and time. They could certainly journey to a Dark Multiverse if need arises.
There haven’t been too many stories featuring the group in years. There was a brief New 52 story, but here we get Scott Snyder and Andy Kubert, which is demonstrating just how big a deal this launch is. There is likely a good chance that this book could be the one that allows for connections between the Rebirth universe and what is introduced in Metal to be fully explored.
10. EFFECTS ON REBIRTH
This is the biggest departure from the entire Rebirth line since when it launched last year. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t still connect. In fact, Snyder has confirmed that he and Geoff Johns mapped this event out and that Metal is even like a reflection of Rebirth.
What all that means remains to be seen, but with Batman and the Justice League’s involvement, as well as some of the returning characters, there is a lot of potential. Is the Dark Multiverse a part of Dr. Manhatten or his possible puppet master’s plan? There is likely to be some important story elements that carry over and affect the next year of Rebirth. Mr. Terrific and Hawkman show up in the preludes, and they are members of a very historically important DC team.
9. LEADING TO A JSA RETURN?
We’ve already got a glimpse at Jay Garrick in “The Button.” It is unclear who his “lightning rod” actually is, but there are certainly more characters with JSA connections making appearances in Metal. In fact, the story of Hawkman and Hawkgirl in Ancient Egypt and their never-ending conflict with Hath-Set began in JSA many years ago.
Those story beats, combined with a role for Mr. Terrific and mentions of Dr. Fate, create the chance for some old team members to get reacquainted. How cool would it be for Hawkman to be the one guy who can bring the team back together because he actually remembers it all? Sooner or later, the band is getting back together, and it might be a great place to expose readers to a team that has been gone from the pages of DC Comics for far too long.
8. SCOTT SNYDER’S FIRST EVENT
If Geoff Johns is the architect of the DC Rebirth universe, Snyder is the man behind Dark Matter. In fact, when it comes to the high-impact, largest-selling stories of the past few years, it is Snyder’s work that really stands out alongside Johns. This should be something different from what we have seen from him before.
The closest story to this and the one that may connect most with it was “Endgame,” in which we saw a Jokerized Justice League fighting with a mech-suited up Batman. We know from solicits that the Joker plays a role here and so do the Justice League. We also know that this is not meant to fix things in the DC Universe, so much as to build a whole new world of new toys for creators to play with in stories. Buckle up for what should be a wild ride.
7. DUKE THOMAS GETS A BIGGER ROLE
Way back in “Zero Year,” Duke Thomas debuted, helping Batman in his battle with the Riddler. Since then, he has slowly progressed as a character through the We Are Robin days to his recent emergence with his yellow-and-black costume and role as the protector of daytime in Gotham.
It’s been refreshing to see DC take their time with Duke’s development. There was a point following Damian’s death during the New 52 that he seemed destined to be another Robin, but the story took a different turn. Snyder has made many statements to the effect that Metal will be Duke’s coming out party. He seems to feature prominently in the “Dark Days” preludes and it feels like it is about time.
6. BOMBASTIC BLOCKBUSTER ACTION
What has been made clear by the discussion of the main event here is that we are not getting as dense a story as a Crisis on Infinite Earths. This is about fun and action. It is really playing to the strengths of the artist in Greg Capullo. There have been talks of dinosaurs. We have already caught glimpses of Batman duel-wielding axes as he marches through fire.
The name of the event is not just foreshadowing an element in the DC Universe, but also an attitude that sets a tone for the type of story this is going to be. Snyder and Capullo are a special pairing. Snyder has the cerebral side covered in his writing but he has been able to form a bond with Capullo, who can do the dramatic and the over the top craziness this story looks to be reaching toward.
5. ARTISTIC SHOWCASE
While the main Dark Nights: Metal event features superstar artist Greg Capullo, the Dark Days preludes and the new titles in the Dark Matter line feature many of the industries’ biggest artistic names. Artists like Jim Lee, John Romita Jr. and Andy Kubert feature prominently. These are superstars who have been making the highest-selling books for both of the Big Two publishers (Marvel and DC) since the ’80s.
Some comparatively newer blood like Kenneth Rocafort and Tony Daniel are involved in projects as well. DC is countering Marvel’s recent faulty statement that artists do not sell books. It should be fun to see how the preludes use each artist in a different time period and how this flows into their work with the new Dark Matter titles. No matter what part of this event or new line you are looking at, it will look awesome.
4. THE RETURN OF THE JOKER?
It has been a long time since we have read about everybody’s favorite clown prince of crime. Maybe there’s been a fake in Harley Quinn, and we will definitely see him in the past in “War of Jokes and Riddles,” but this looks to be some version of the character in the present or perhaps even the future.
Jim Lee’s cover art and the solicitation for “Dark Days: The Casting” include a Joker. Is this a Joker from the Dark Multiverse? Is this something that will feed into the long awaited story of the three Jokers? Snyder almost always has a Joker presence in his Batman stories, and they are always interesting and well written. Check another box in the column that indicates how pumped we should be just to get a chance to see a classic villain in some form once again.
3. EMPHASIS ON A GOOD JUSTICE LEAGUE STORY AGAIN
Regardless of your opinion of Rebirth as a whole, it is clear that the Justice League title has taken a back seat until now. While it was front and center during the New 52, Bryan Hitch’s run has felt oddly detached from what is going on everywhere else, and largely inconsequential to the overall narrative.
That could change, but for those looking to see the Justice League dealing with a big-time threat and some familiar villains like Mongul, Metal is the place to be. Not only that, but also it is going to involve so many talented individuals getting to jam on classic characters and new characters alike in varying settings as well. New relationships may emerge with characters like Duke Thomas meeting some of the League members for the first time. The word fun just keeps popping up.
2. DEBUT OF THE DARK MULTIVERSE
The Dark Multiverse is the part of this event that could potentially have the biggest longterm impact. DC has long been known to use the multiverse in various ways in their publishing line and their storytelling. The concept of an existing “dark” version of this opens an unlimited amount of storytelling options.
Since so little is known as of yet what this means, there is only speculation and piecing together of clues. Obviously we are looking at a long history of this new multiverse, likely in new titles like Immortal Men. It could also allow for versions of characters we already know to appear, and even potentially merge with the current Earth in which DC’s Rebirth line exists. This is to say nothing of the settings that it gives all of these amazing artists a chance to create.
1. RETURN OF HAWKMAN
When a story promises to reveal a mystery that spans the history of the DC Universe, one character that immediately comes to mind is Hawkman. As a man who has lived many lives, constantly reincarnated only to lose his life when he finds and falls in love with his soulmate, Hawkman knows a lot about history. He also know an awful lot about Nth Metal, one of the key reasons for the title of the event.
Interaction between the world’s greatest detective and an archaeologist who has lived during many eras should be a joy to behold. What mystery could these two not solve together? How many different iterations of Hawkman will we get to meet during the story and its preludes? The winged warrior being a major player in a major event is something that has been a long time coming.
Are you psyched for Metal? Check out Dark Days: The Forge on Wednesday, June 14th and let us know in the comments what you are looking forward to.