Dark Nights Metal #2 Review

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Posted September 13, 2017 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: Scott Snyder

Art by: Greg Capullo, Jonathon Glapion, & FCO Plascencia

Published by: DC Comics

By the time I put down Dark Nights: Metal #2, I legitimately wondered why I bothered to read it. Curiosity? Some sick sense of obligation to the comic book zeitgeist? To be able to make an informed critique of it? I pondered the question for a few hours, off and on. More time than I should have given the question, to be sure. But it bugged me–-the first issue and the prologue one shots hadn’t done anything for me. Why couldn’t I just leave Metal behind there?

In the end, the answer is a simple one: I desperately want to enjoy this book. I want to read a Scott Snyder-penned, Greg Capullo-drawn balls-to-the-wall romp through the weirdest parts of DC’s multiverse. The definitive work from a legendary creative team, the signature at the bottom of the page signifying the importance of their work. One last hoorah with the character that will no doubt define their careers.

This book, unfortunately, is not that. If you were to time travel back to 2013 and give me a copy of this issue, with all the credits scrubbed out, I would be shocked that Scott Snyder wrote it. The fluidity of his indie books and run on Batman is gone, replaced by page after page of exposition, explaining how everything has led to this defining moment.

The result is panel upon panel with more text than art. From a pure craft perspective, it feels messy. The issue is filled with panels that are too small to fit all the text and still leave room for the art, distracting from the storytelling. It feels frantic, as if some of the writing was done last minute and crammed into the issue by a letterer who doesn’t quite know how to handle it all.

Structurally, Metal is an odd book. The first couple pages exist solely to set up the tie-in issues, contributing to the scattershot feel of the issue. Rather than build excitement about events to come, these panels induced groans. They don’t contribute to the narrative of this book, and hence feel like dead weight. As teasers for the tie-in issues inserted at the end of an issue, they could have worked. As the introduction to the issue? They fall flat.

It doesn’t help but that the next scene bounces from Justice League member to Justice League member. The attempt to fit all of the core characters into this issue results in a lack of focus, and none of the character moments do enough to justify their presence. Oh, and Swamp Thing appears out of nowhere for a single panel and is then forgotten about, so that’s lovely.

While the League is busy chasing all the former Robins through a jungle, Kendra is meeting with a secret society of immortal beings. Again, Metal’s focus shifts. The experience of reading this book is jarring, and the transitions left me with a distinct feeling of whiplash.

The final sequence brings all of the book’s faults to bear. There’s too much going on–Dream, Darkseid, the Court of Owls, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman are all present. This sequence is also the most tonally inconsistent in the entire book. The fact that I can’t tell if I’m supposed to be chuckling at the absurdity of the events or taking “Batmanium” seriously is a strong knock against the quality of the writing.

Ultimately, Metal #2 is just a bad comic. It’s overwritten, tonally inconsistent, and the narrative is poorly told considering the medium. There are almost no redeeming qualities, especially considering Greg Capullo isn’t given the space he needs to truly shine.

At the very least, there can’t be any more setup in this event, right? I’ll give it one more issue. But after that, I’ll at the very least stop bothering to write about it.

 

Dark Nights: Metal #2




Dark Nights: Metal #2


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Final Score

5/10

    Pros

    • Capullo's art is solid as always

    Cons

    • Lack of focus
    • Overwritten
    • Fourth consecutive issue of setup
    • Tonally inconsistent



    About the Author

    Jean-Luc Botbyl

    Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.