REVIEW: “Dark Nights: Death Metal– Legends of the Dark Knights”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dark Knights Death Metal, Batman Comics

Dark Nights: Death Metal– Legends of the Dark Knights is a one-shot published by DC Comics. Within these pages, readers will find six different stories covering all things evil and dark within the DC Multiverse as written by all-star teams of Scott Synder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Peter J. Tomasi, Marguerite Bennet, Frank Tieri, Daniel Warren Johnson, and Warren Ellis; drawn by Toni S. Daniel, Riley Rossmo, Jamal Igle, Francesco Francavilla, Daniel Warren Johnson, and Joelle Jones; colored by Marcelo Maiolo, Ivan Plascencia, Chris Sotomayor, Francesco Francavilla, Mike Spicer, and Jordie Bellaire; lettered by Tom Napolitano, Rob Leigh, Dave Sharpe, Andworld Design, Rus Wooton, and Rob Steen.

Synder’s Death Metal has been an absolutely wild ride. When I heard about this one-shot, I knew I needed to have it. I haven’t felt entirely excited about DC Comics for a real but I really have been so reinvigorated by Death Metal. However, Legends of the Dark Knights takes things to a whole new level and I loved it. Throughout this entire book, there is a thread of fun and campy that I have not seen DC embrace for a while. Synder, Williamson, and Tynion IV set up foundational information in, “I am Here”, to catch readers up to the events that have spawned different types of villainous Batman throughout the DC Multiverse.

This vignette makes this one-shot feel welcoming to newer DC readers who may have never read the initial Dark Night Metal that paved the way for this event.  With Daniel’s dynamic art visually illustrating years of different characters and events and Maiolo’s bright-lightening and muted colors, “I am Here” helps even a veteran comic reader like myself keep up with The Batman who Laughs evil-doings.

The book shifts immediately in tone and leans heavily into the camp and chaos that I have been so thoroughly enjoying. In “King of Pain”, Tomasi writes a dark and grimy version of Bruce Wayne who is obsessed with death from birth. This dark and macabre version of Bruce leads into the creation of the Robin King. Rossmo and Plascencia bring this murderous fiend to live in a distinct animated style that reminds me of the cartoon mayhem and mischief in Jhonan Vasquez’s Invader Zim. The lettering done by Leigh truly brings the murderous actions of the Robin King to live and makes his first written story a treat and well worth the six dollar price tag.

This same type of fun is found through the event book, taking me by surprise. Bennet, Igle, Sotomayor, and Sharpe take readers into the mind of B. Rex in “Batmanasaurus Rex”. A villainous Batman who is also a Tyranasarous Rex may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is matched with a Batman who is a sentient Batmobile. In “Road Warrior”, Johnson, Spicer, and Wooton take us into a fiery, orange-colored desolate land that is roamed by Batmobeast. Tieri brings that extra flair by writing one of the best short stories in the book with a satanic sacrifice of a Robin to help Bruce take back Gotham.

Isolated, Dark Knights: Death Metal– Legends of the Dark Knights seems nonsensical and a deviation from standard Batman comics. It will not be for everyone and that is alright. I have been waiting for comics to feel not so serious and to explore the medium in a way that readers can feel the excitement and giddy from creative teams on the page. Legends of the Dark Knights has all of that and more with it’s bombastic, campy feel, it’s stylized lettering, distinct art styles, and atmosphere coloring. I may not be a fan of comic event books, but fans of Synder should pick this one up. 

Dark Knights: Death Metal– Legends of the Dark Knights is out now wherever comic books are sold.


Dark Knights: Death Metal-- Legends of the Dark Knights
4.5

TL;DR

Legends of the Dark Knights has all of that and more with it’s bombastic, campy feel, it’s stylized lettering, distinct art styles, and atmosphere coloring. I may not be a fan of comic event books, but fans of Synder should pick this one up.