REVIEW: ‘Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of The Multiverses #1,’ Issue #1

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Dark Nights Death Metal The Last 52 War of the Multiverses - But Why Tho?

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of the Multiverses #1 is a one-shot set in the Dark Nights: Death Metal event published by DC Comics. The book features multiple stories all taking place within the same battlefield, Themyscira. Each story has a separate creative team, focussing on one hero and their part of the battlefield. 

Perpetua is dead, killed by the Darkest Night. Within this one-shot, he begins his final assault on all of creation, with his army of despicable monsters. Every being left in the Multiverse meet him on the battlefield in one final alliance to protect their existence. They are split into groups. The titles and creative teams are as such:

“Fight!” follows Wonder Woman. Written by Scott Snyder and Josh Williamson. Dexter Soy and Scott Koblish and the artists. Colours by Veronica Gandini and letters by Tom Napolitano.  “First and Last Men” is Superman-centric. Written by Magdalene Visaggio. Pencils by Paul Pelletier with inks by Paul Rapmund. Letters by Carlos M. Mangual. “The Batmen who Laugh” This story is focused on Batman. Written by James Tynion IV. Art by Alex Maleev with colours by Matt Hollingsworth. The letters are by Rob Leigh. “Unstable Atoms” features the Atom. Written by Kyle Higgins. The artist is Scott Kolins. John Kalisz is the colourist.  Letters by Tom Napolitano. “No More Superheroes” centres on Lois Lane. Written by Regine Sawyer. Alitha Martinez is the penciller, Mark Morales on Inks. Colours by Emilio Lopez. letters are by Tom Napolitano.

“Falling Through The Cracks” follows Raven and the Teen Titans. Written by Che Grayson. Art by Pop Mhan. Christ Sotomayor on Colours. Carlos M. Mangual is the letterer. “Apicius” is all about the Penguin. Written by Marguerite Bennett. Inaki Miranda on the art. Colours by Eva De La Cruz. Letters by Carlos M Mangual. “Armageddon Blues” features John Constantine. The writer is Matthew Rosenberg. Art by Rob Guillory, Marissa Louise on colours. Andworld Design does the letters. “Reign of the Swamp King” stars Swamp Thing. Written by James Jordan. Are by Mike Henderson. Colours from Adriano Lucas and Letters on Dave Sharpe.

Below covers a few selected stories.

Fight!

Wonder Woman is attacking the Darkest Night head on. She has been given a power boost to be golden and just as tall as he is. As they battle, her foe taunts her, mocking her for her hope. Around the two giant figures fighting are a variety of clashes. Different universes’ representations of Speedsters, Lanterns and Titans tackle the monstrous forces opposing them. At the same time, a flashback shows a younger Themiscyra and Diana, as they witness the death of a warrior.

Williamson and Snyder bounce between the scene and fights quickly, but they give the reader a glimpse at each personality as it passes. Some have longer presences, but the individual skirmishes usually finish. The pick of the bunch was a murderous, gun-wielding Wally West. Koblish and Soy give each character details and individuality. Even in a cameo, the characters all have an identity. The evil Wally West has half a metal mask formed to his face, making him stick out against his heroic doppelganger.

Gandini’s colours make it easy to distinguish each character among the fire and devastation around them. They also beautifully change their palettes to switch between the flashback and present-day stories. 

Wonder Woman’s determination is evident here, influenced by the flashback story. And the taunting that comes from her enemy is spine-chilling.

Fight! shows Diana’s aversion to death and starts the chaos rolling within Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War Of the Multiverses #1.

First and Last Men

Superman and his allies face off against the Darkest Night’s squadron of Kryptonians, Superiors of the Ancient House of El. Outnumbered, weakened and running out of time, Superman still believes he can reach the soul of a character that seems all but lost.

Visaggio’s story takes what could have just been a fight issue and adds heart to it. Superman barely throws a punch, desperate to convince his enemy to join his side. The character he is trying to reach is terrifying, but yet the Man of Steel still tries. The egos of the evil Kryptonians is a delight to read.

Pelletier draws fantastic Kryptonians. Their natural strength comes across from their physiques and attacks, showing just how deadly they can be. This particular Superman is very different in look to the one readers are more aware of, with long hair and a prosthetic arm. Many of these characters are essentially derivations of one, so it is fascinating to see how much diversity can be made from one iconic design. Lucas provides so much variety and beauty to the costumes. The large SFX that appear every time Superman takes a punch helps to show the impact. Each swing feels like it can shatter mountains.

First and Last Men is another story based on hope in the face of dwindling odds, and shines while telling it.

The Batmen Who Laugh

A Batman, unclear which one, leads his family against an invasion force, led by a version of the Batman Who Laughs. Batman’s group is getting tired though, and are starting to reach their limit.

Every chapter within this collection is dark, but this one seems creepier than the rest. Alex Maleev’s scratchy art combined with the desert setting creates a gritty atmosphere. Batman’s inner monologue about getting tired prefaces the story, before the dialogue takes over. 

As they fight, The leaders of each individual army become the sole focus of the issue, Their fight is incredible in its choreography, and Tynion’s script makes the reader’s skin crawl when the Batman Who Laughs speaks. This is enhanced by Leigh’s interpretation of the villain’s unique word balloon, featuring red lettering on a black background. However, chilling as it is, it is also sometimes hard to read.

Like with the other stories on this list. The diversity of combatants and their designs are superb. Nightwings, Batgirls, Ivy’s. And the best of all, a huge Joker dragon flying in the sky above. Hollingsworth covers the background of this gruelling fight in orange light, indicating the brutal heat that zaps at their energy.

For the first time in this comic, it’s hard to find hope within this story.

No More Superheroes

Lois Lane is taken captive by a version of herself, one that has Superman’s powers. But this one is a murderer and has a hatred of superheroes. She could scream for help, get Clark to come to her aid. Or another hero. But with a brutal, unstoppable killer and an anarchist army armed with Kryptonite, does she want them to come?

This is a dark but well-written story. Lois comes up against a version of her that has suffered the worst possible trauma, then inflicted it on others. Both Lane’s are characterized brilliantly. Our Lois, the good one, is defiant and considerate even in the face of terror. Despite being powerless, it terrifies her to put her beloved at risk. As for her opposite, she gets a villainous monologue as she tells her story, justifying her choices. Out of all the villains that have joined this battle, she might be scariest.

The art is beautiful as Martinez and Morales have to differentiate the exact same woman. Evil Lois is now huge and muscular, with a thick braid of hair running down to her hip. Our Lois is completely helpless against her, much smaller and more fragile.

The same woman, two different lives. No More Superheroes is as dark as it gets, but yet love is at the core of it.


Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of The Multiverses #1 is a fantastic idea with superb execution. The story has so many interpretations of the same battle, allow so much more to be covered than what may be seen in the main event. The different creative teams result in contrasting tones for the stories. Some have comedic elements, others more grotesque. A few focus on hope while there are some much darker. Brimming with content and detail, this is a must-read book.

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of The Multiverses #1 Is available where comics are sold.

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TL;DR

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of The Multiverses #1 is a fantastic idea with superb execution. The story has so many interpretations of the same battle, allow so much more to be covered than what may be seen in the main event. The different creative teams result in contrasting tones for the stories. Some have comedic elements, others more grotesque. A few focus on hope while there are some much darker. Brimming with content and detail, this is a must-read book.