Review: Horror And Dark Humour, ‘Dark Nights Death Metal: Legends of the Dark Knights #1’ Has It All

by Olly MacNamee

As tie-ins go, Dark Nights Death Metal: Legends of the Dark Knights #1 is a pretty essential read and I would certainly recommend you pick it up, if you can still find a copy that is.
For the past 4 years, Scott Snyder’s Dark Multiverse has cast its vast shadow  on the DCU and is now on the teetering edge of engulfing it all. It’s been one Hell of a ride, and in the lead story of this one-shot special we get a concise summary of all the events that have come to pass this far. That’s some impressive long-term plotting and planning on Snyder’s part, and testament to his talents and vision. It’s what made his batman run essential reading as he expanded the Batvesrse to include the Court of Owls and much, much more.
Meanwhile, check out Tony Daniels’ art on this story – laid out in energetic, dynamic double page spreads – which elevates this from what is, essentially, a well -written summation, but a summation nonetheless. But, even as a long-time reader of the Dark Multiverse across the original series as well as across Snyder’s Justice League run and beyond, I was thankful of this story. It can be hard to keep track with an epic saga  that’s taken almost half a decade to tell. Other creators visions have come and gone, but Snyder’s firm, determined, fan-appealing plan has seen off all comers to be the one true path that the DCU will now be taking, with Doomsday Clock and 5G resigned to the scrap heap of history. It’s a shame he’s decided he’ go8mg to be stepping way from more work at DC to concentrate on more creator owned work, but what a legacy he’s going ton leave. Unless they’re looking to fill Dan Didio’s shoes, that is. Hmmm, that’s certainly some food for thought, isn’t it?

What has made this particular one-shot such hot property the week is the revelation of the true identity of the Robin King, in a tale written by Peter J Tomasi and illustrated by Riley Rossmo, which I am happy to report is another killer strip, in a comic with no fillers, recounting the origin of this pint-sized psychopath. Another twisted reworking of Batman’s origin with the young Bruce Wayne of this Earth being a person born evil.
Rossmo’s use of letratone textures in his artwork adds a further layer of grit to an already dark Gotham City. Tomasi once agin shows why he is a writer that has been a fixture of the Dark Knight universe for a good while now, on and off, and I often feel his writing takes second place to whatever is going on on Batman, but I would argue his contribution to Batman lore is on a par with Snyder and Tom King. Go check out Detective Comics if you aren’t already. 

Add to these two meaty tales three shorter, and more darkly humoured, tales involving B.Rex, the Batmobeast and an irreverent take by Garth Ennis, and you have not only one of the most worthwhile tie-ins to any of this year’s event from both Marvel and DC Comics, but one of the best comic books of the week too. 
But, want also placed this at the top of my ‘must-read’ pile this week was the assembled artist too. I have already waxed lyrical about Daniels and Rossmo, but editor, Marie Jarvis, must be get a special mention for bringing together some of the best horror artist out there, including Franceso Francavilla, to complement the great writers also assembled. 
A big book that’s big on drama, tragedy and humour to balance it all out. And, a ‘must have’ for any DC fan.
Dark Nights Death Metal: Legends of the Dark Knights #1 is available now from DC Comics

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