WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Dark Nights: Metal #4 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, in stores now.
Over the course of just three issues, Dark Nights: Metal has proved to be an event that wouldn’t just concentrate on Batman. Although the caped crusader is at the center of the story, the overarching plot involves the entirety of the DC Universe. (As well as the Multiverse, and the Dark Multiverse on top of it) Popular and obscure characters have been sharing the page, from various Justice Leaguers to Deathstroke, Plastic Man, Nightmaster and Dream of the Endless.
The latest issue in Snyder and Capullo’s sprawling event continues that trend. It features the surprise appearance of a character perhaps few expected to show up, though in retrospect it makes sense. Black Adam, who hasn’t been seen in the pages of a DC comic book since Rebirth arrived, has joined the fight.
It’s been over two months since the last issue of Metal was released, but issue #4 picked up right where #3 left off. The various members of the Justice League are scattered across all of reality, searching for weapons made of Nth metal to use in their hopeless battle against Barbatos and the evil Dark Knights. Green Lantern and Mister Terrific are now on Thanagar Prime, Aquaman and Deathstroke are on the outskirts of Atlantis, and Wonder Woman, Doctor Fate and Kendra Saunders are in the Rock of Eternity, the cosmic center of the Multiverse.
It’s in the final locale where things get really interesting, and where the issue devotes the most time. As Wonder Woman and her two allies enter the Rock of Eternity, they face off against its protectors, the seven monsters that personify the seven deadly sins. After defeating the creatures, the three heroes continue their search for Hawkman’s mace — but their plan goes awry when, once again, Barbatos and his legion prove to be at least one step ahead at every turn. Before they can make their escape, a blast of lightning reduces Doctor Fate to ash — an attack that comes directly from Black Adam, a character that is a big part of the mythology surrounding the Rock of Eternity.
Black Adam reveals that he is part of the group known as the Immortal Men, who we have briefly seen in Dark Days: The Forge and Metal. This group counts among its members The Immortal Man, Morgaine the wizard, Vandal Savage, Phantom Stranger and Ra’s Al Ghul. With issue #4, we can now add Black Adam to that list. But while this group appeared to be devoted to their cause — to destroy the Dark Multiverse and safeguard mankind’s future — Black Adam proves once again to be a despicable villain. In fact, he and Vandal Savage have joined forces to forge their own deal with Barbatos.
Black Adam is a complex villain. Throughout his immortal life, he has learned there is no hope for defeating what comes next. The only chance he sees to survive is to make a deal with the devil from the Dark Multiverse, a deal that is likely to put him directly in the crosshairs of the Justice League — if they’re ever able to manage to fight back.
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