SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Dark Nights: Metal #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, on sale now.
After months of fan anticipation, two prequel one-shots, and recent teases across several titles, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo officially launch DC Comics' newest event series with Dark Nights: Metal #1. While beginning to reap story elements originally sown as far back as the creative team's run on Batman, the first issue also starts to build on developments seen across DC's line of comics going back to last year's DC Universe: Rebirth one-shot.
Like that introductory issue, Metal #1 spans across a large swath of the DC Universe and beyond, concluding the narrative from Carter Hall's journal as relayed in Dark Days: The Forge and Dark Days: The Casting, and ushering in the start of the darkness that his journal foretold. In fact, this issue delivers a surprise rivaling the magnitude of that jaw-dropping moment from that first Rebirth issue, indicating that the expanse of both Metal and Rebirth reaches even further than anything either storyline has shown to date.
Not Only Is Watchmen Part of DC's Rebirth Continuity, So Is…
During the course of this Justice League-centric issue, Batman breaks away from the rest of the team after absconding with a shard of pure Nth metal, the material shown to be a central element critical to the unfolding mysteries of the Dark Multiverse. While examining the sample in the Batcave, a familiar humming sound is detected elsewhere – The Monitor's vibrational "tuning fork," seen in an underground cavern beneath Superman's arctic Fortress of Solitude in The Forge. The device's activation leads Batman to a discovery long hidden beneath the floor of Bruce Wayne's own study: the actual journal of Carter Hall, which now opens up Hall's time-spanning findings regarding the Nth metal mysteries to the present-day DC Universe. More shockingly, Batman gets a surprising visit from the one character that probably no one expected to ever set foot in the DCU, let alone Wayne Manor: namely that of Dream of the Endless, aka The Sandman.
Yes, that's Neil Gaiman's Sandman, the character (or son of the character, if you want to be specific) who helped launch DC Comics' own separate Vertigo Comics line, sneaking up on the Dark Knight and warning him of a "nightmare that has just begun" which serves as the issue's cliffhanger ending. The unexpected encounter and the revelation that the son of Morpheus and the Endless exist alongside Batman and the rest of the DCU is a moment that's most definitely evocative of Geoff Johns' Rebirth revelation that the world of Watchmen also shares a connection to DC's multiverse. Snyder's storyline so far has hinted at a previously unknown dark dimension having been a component of the multiverse all along, but the appearance of the Sandman also signals that it's connected to other, already established franchises long treated as largely benign and unrelated to the happenings in the DC Universe/Multiverse.