REVIEW: ‘Dark Nights: Death Metal-The Secret Origin,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dark Nights Death Metal Secret Origin #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal-The Secret Origin #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns, illustrated by Jerry Ordway, Francis Manapul, Ryan Benjamin, Richard Friend, Paul Pelletier, and Norm Rapmund, colored by Hi-Fi, Ian Herring, Rain Beredo, and Adriano Lucas, and lettered by Rob Leigh. Following the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal #6, Superboy-Prime decides to confront The Batman Who Laughs and stop him from destroying all of existence.

This issue is unique in that it focuses on two characters I haven’t really been a fan of. Superboy-Prime’s turn to villainy has always represented the worst elements of fandom for me, specifically the fans who scream bloody murder if you attempt to push a well-known story out of its comfort zone. The Batman Who Laughs represents an aspect of Batman I’ve grown to hate: the Batman who has a plan for everything and always wins. Transforming him into an actual god didn’t do much to change my mind. However, in the space of one issue, Superboy-Prime slowly regains his heroism, and The Batman Who Laughs comes off as a genuine threat. Snyder and Johns’ script leaps back through points in time, chronicling Superboy-Prime’s history and eventually leading to an emotionally charged finale.

Also adding to the emotional sequences is Superboy-Prime’s surprising connection with Krypto the Superdog. Due to Prime’s destructive rampage in the Infinite Crisis storyline, both heroes (especially Conner Kent/Superboy) and villains distrust him. Yet Krypto approaches him and is even saddened when he suffers injuries during his fight with The Batman Who Laughs.

Manapul and Herring illustrate the majority of the Krypto and Prime sequences, with Herring’s warm colors bringing a sense of peace to the otherwise chaotic proceedings. Manapul has illustrated several of the previous Death Metal one-shots, and in The Secret Origin, he trades high-octane action for more contemplative scenes. A solid example is when Krypto first meets Prime. The three panels that make up this meeting consist of little dialogue, but Krypto’s joyful reaction speaks volumes.

Ordway and Hi-Fi illustrate the flashback sequences, while Benjamin, Friend, and Beredo handle most of the fight between Superboy-Prime and The Batman Who Laughs. Ordway is no stranger to Superman stories, having helped illustrate the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. His art hasn’t lost its simple yet striking design, and combined with Hi-Fi’s colors, viewers will feel like they’re reading a classic Superman comic book. Benjamin and Friend make the fight scene between Prime and The Batman Who Laughs feel literally earthshaking, with the latter towering over the former and the former sending his opponent flying with massive punches. Beredo colors The Batman Who Laughs in pure darkness, making him a walking, grinning nightmare that literally sucks all light from the page.

Dark Nights: Death Metal-The Secret Origin #1 is a surprisingly engaging story that features a villain returning to his heroic roots. It also proves that any character can have a moving story in the right creative hands. I highly recommend this for Superman fans or readers who are engaged in Dark Nights: Death Metal‘s ongoing narrative.

Dark Nights: Death Metal-The Secret Origin #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

Dark Nights: Death Metal-The Secret Origin #1
5

TL;DR

Dark Nights: Death Metal-The Secret Origin #1 is a surprisingly engaging story that features a villain returning to his heroic roots. It also proves that any character can have a moving story in the right creative hands. I highly recommend this for Superman fans or readers who are engaged in Dark Nights: Death Metal‘s ongoing narrative.