spoiler warning: the following article contains major spoilers for dark nights: metal #4 by scott snyder and greg capullo, on sale now.
dc's juggernaut dark nights: metal miniseries took a break in november, but it's back with a vengeance. in issue #4, the heroes of the justice league are still trying to get any kind of advantage over barbatos and his evil batmen. we won't tell you how successful they are (at least not right now), but we will explore all the nooks and crannies of dc lore into which metal continues to poke. as always, once we get into the references and easter eggs there will be spoilers galore, so grab your copy and let's have at it!
dark nights: metal issue #4 was written by scott snyder, pencilled by greg capullo, inked by jonathan glapion, colored by fco plascencia and lettered by steve wands. rebecca taylor was the editor, assisted by dave wielgosz.
better down where it's wetter (pages 1, 6)
while the page 1 image of aquaman riding a seahorse goes back to the silver age of the 1960s, for many readers it may be most closely associated with "super friends" in the 1970s. in that context it fits with the familiar conception of the sea king as too fantastic to be effective. however, alongside metal's various other excesses, not only is aquaman's faithful finny steed presented unironically, deathstroke has one too. in fact, deathstroke may be on a seahorse which traditionally belonged to aqualad. make of that what you will.
on page 6 we learn that these are no ordinary giant tame seahorses. aquaman's finny friend storm first appeared in october 1965's aquaman #23, while aqualad's ride imp (a/k/a sea imp) first appeared in april 1965's issue #20. the grand comics database doesn't list a writer for either story, but nick cardy drew them both.
arion, lord of atlantis (also referenced on page 6) was created by paul kupperberg and jan duursema and first appeared in march 1982's warlord issue #55. the feature was a backup in warlord, but before long arion had earned his own series, which ran for 35 issues starting in november 1982. as an immortal homo magi sorcerer born in 45,000 bc, arion was charged with protecting the not-yet-sunken kingdom of atlantis. because this included the anti-monitor's antimatter wave, arion got a decent amount of exposure in crisis on infinite earths. apparently it wasn't enough to keep his own series from being cancelled; but arion's legacy lived on, touching heroes from aquaman (duh) to power girl (don't ask), guy gardner, wonder woman, hawkman and superman. that star-shaped symbol on the coffin manifests itself whenever arion uses his powers.
coincidentally, there's an ancient thanagarian goddess named ar rehon (or ar rheon). as far as we can tell, her only appearance was in september 1991's hawkworld issue #15 (written by john ostrander and drawn by graham nolan). we don't think there's a connection between her and arion, but these days you never know.
we're not quite sure about aquaman calling arion atlantis' first king. we thought atlantis' first king was orin (for whom aquaman was named). still, who are we to doubt aquaman?