REVIEW: DARK NIGHTS: METAL #2
Author: Ryan Lower (Follow @LOWER_RYAN)
Date: September 13, 2017

SYNOPSIS: As Superman and Wonder Woman hunt for a missing ally, Batman investigates a mystery spanning centuries. When The World’s Greatest Detective discovers a foe even greater than the Justice League could possibly imagine, will Earth’s heroes be ready?

In my review of Dark Nights: Metal #1, I had one request at the very end: “Don’t turn this into Batman and the Omega Sanction, Part 2”.

Verbatim.

In issue #2, Batman says: “I’m going to use the Omega Sanction to go back and do it again.” I was worried, and slightly annoyed.

Luckily, the issue took a different turn.

Let’s rewind.

Dark Nights: Metal #2 is just as confusing, fun, frustrating and exciting as its first issue. More layers are added, more explanation is needed and more Batman being Batman seeps into every panel. In a nutshell (a big, crazy nutshell that is), the Justice League is in hot pursuit of the Dark Knight, who has stolen one of the most powerful weapons in the world. Apparently, he’s scared out of his mind that something is coming for him, and is trying to prevent that threat from getting to Earth. If that sounds pretty standard, there’s a lot to fill you in on. He distracts the Justice League by having the Batfamily lead them in different directions (using a face modulator back from Batman #1 in the New 52). Kendra from last issue meets in a volcano with Vandal Savage, Ra’s al Ghul, and others discussing a brain and Anti-Monitor. Superman punches through Batman’s heart, only to find out its Clayface. The Court of Owls reappear. Oh, and Barbatos (from Grant Morrison’s The Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries) haunts the entire issue.

Whew, right?

You’ve got to give it up to Scott Snyder. The man has been writing Batman for nearly seven years, always pushing the character and us fans into new directions, revealing layers we’ve never seen from the hero in his 78-year career. It may not always work, but the best writers are willing to try. Snyder is giving us something we’ve never experienced before with Metal. Not all of it works, but elements of Batman are as true as ever. He’s outsmarting everyone. He’s escaped everything. Yet there’s an underlying threat taking him down.

In dealing with The Dark Knight, that is a recurring theme in Snyder’s stories that I’m not a fan of. To me, Bruce Wayne became Batman the night his parents were murdered. It was his decision, and he dedicated his life to become a symbol. I feel in many of Snyder’s stories, it was a “plan” all along, which is also heavily implied by the Court of Owls in this issue. They even say “your whole life has led to this”, which doesn’t sit well with me. To have someone/something come in and take credit is a tough sell for me. Though they aren’t specifically taking credit here, it’s somewhat ignoring the story of Batman and how he came to be, which irks me.

Now as for the rest of the issue, I had a lot of head scratching. A volcanic club of immortal villains? A brain? A baby Darkseid? A POSSIBLE RETURN OF THE OMEGA SANCTION?! Forgive me if I sound like a snob, but not interested. But this is where Snyder is genius…he sort of makes it work. He elevates the material introduced to us last issue, connecting to work he’s done before and it makes just enough sense, while still leaving an intriguing mystery to bring us back. This story is nuts, as promised. There’s enough Batman in it to keep me going, while also introducing a new group of villains that are straight from a horror comic (the Batman Who Laughs looks fantastic).

Let’s take a look at the art by Greg Capullo now. Hands down, some of the best work in comics today. The man is a pro and just keeps bringing his A-game. I love his versions of these DC characters. They’re easily identifiable, but have the Capullo charm that makes them stand out above the rest. Now take into account the different setting we jump to in these 23 pages. Space, the jungle, a volcano, a creepy dungeon: all of it looks great. While some of us may be on the fence over the story, its unanimous the book looks great.

My review doesn’t differ much from last issue: I’m in, cautiously. The story moves forward, revealing answers and more questions. It’s frustrating to follow, while also being entertaining and loyal to the character of Batman.

Dark Nights: Metal #2 remains an intriguing story with gorgeous art and enough to like to keep me around.

Just please, no more "Omega Sanction" talk. - Ryan Lower

GRADE: B

A lifelong Batman fan, Ryan Lower grew up in the midwest
reading, watching, dreaming of The Dark Knight.
His favorite Batman stories are
THE LONG HALLOWEEN, THE DARK KNIGHT
and anything from
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.
He currently resides in his own Batcave in Chicago.
Follow him on Twitter @LOWER_RYAN.


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