SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Dark Nights: Metal #6 by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion, on sale now.
Since the very beginning, Dark Nights: Metal, the epic event series by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, has been more than just a story. It has served as the secret history of the DC Universe, and in this week's finale, its story has opened up the entire DCU with incredible revelations and setup for the future. Perhaps the biggest single secret revealed, though, was the identity of the Batman Who Laughs' prisoner.
As revealed last November in The Batman Who Laughs #1, the evil inter dimensional Dark Knight has been holding a mysterious figure hostage. The prisoner's identity had been kept a secret, hidden beneath the bloodied bandages that concealed their face. In Metal #6, those bandages finally came off, and it was revealed the captive was none other than the Over-Monitor himself, aka the original Monitor from Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Dark Nights: Metal Was a Crisis After All - More Or Less
The original Monitor is back -- but how can that be possible? He died during Crisis on Infinite Earths and hasn't been seen since. After the recreation of the Multiverse during Infinite Crisis, 52 new Monitors were born to look over 52 universes. Then, in Final Crisis, all those Monitors were eliminated, leaving Nix Uotan as the last.
Or so we were led to believe.
Metal brought things full circle. Since this is comics, it would appear that the Over-Monitor got better. Perhaps spurned on by the elimination of his "children," The Batman Who Laughs mentions that the original Monitor had "only just started to re-form after the last multiversal crisis." This also likely helps to explain how he was easily captured, since he's probably still pretty weak.
As it turns out, The Batman Who Laughs wasn't holding him hostage just for the fun of it; he's been concealing the Dark Knights' final weapon, a doomsday weapon. Seeing that the Justice League had succeeded in uncovering the Tenth metal from inside the World Forge, Barbatos knew the heroes had the power to defeat him. It was then that he enacted his endgame that would have destroyed everything but the Dark Multiverse.
Remember early on in Dark Nights: Metal, when the world's immortals wanted to fire the Anti-Monitor's brain into the Dark Multiverse in order to destroy it? That's kind of what the plan is here, as well -- only this time the weapon would be fired by the villains. By mixing positive matter (the Over-Monitor), antimatter (Anti-Monitor's brain) and dark matter (the evil Batmen), Barbatos would have been able to destroy everything. Thankfully, Batman saved the day.
The DC Universe is Expanding
Dark Nights: Metal ends with the heroes literally ripping a hole through reality and expanding the DC Universe into new, unexplored territory. This all seems to be part of the publisher's plan to increase the scope of the cosmic landscape, introduce new threats, and create an entire hierarchy of characters. It would seem that the return of the Monitor is the perfect jumping off point for things to get truly wild out there.
DC's list of cosmic entities is growing exponentially in the wake of Dark Nights: Metal and what is to come during Justice League: No Justice. The return of the original Monitor may even signal the imminent return of other cosmic characters of the past; after all, where the Monitor is, the Anti-Monitor is sure to follow. As for Nix Uotan, he's likely still around somewhere, since his ship the Ultima Thule played a part in the finale of Metal. No longer the last of the Monitors, he may want to catch up with his "father" at some point.
Scott Snyder mentioned at Wondercon that the Over-Monitor will be appearing in his run on Justice League. There's no telling where the DC Universe will go from here, but it appears that the Monitor will be overseeing all once again.