While The Batman Who Laughs makes his power play against Perpetua, Wonder Woman and company set out to do battle one more time for the past, present and future of the DCU. ‘Dark Nights: Death Metal’ #5 is the calm before the coming storm with a few surprises along the way.
The god-level Batman Who Laughs brings Gotham City alive and creates an armoured adversary worthy of this series’ over-the-top gargantuan, gonzo storytelling who takes on the surviving League members in another explosive battle. And that’s just the opening few pages. The peril levels only get ramped up from thereon in as The Batman Who Laughs confronts Perpetua with the aim of killing her. Although, I must admit, both devilish deities’ plans for an all-new universe aren’t desirable and it’s only going to get messier before it gets better.
But, as we head ever onwards to the conclusion of this blockbuster series we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and the plans DC Comics seem to have for the DCU going forward. An amalgamation of plans that include Scott Snyder’s own blueprints for change that he has diligently sown into his work – mots notably on his Justice League run – for nigh on half a decade now, as well as the revised plans for Dan DiDio’s 5G revolution that wan’t to be. To be honest, it all sounds like another take on Hypertime, which I remember we had way, way back in DC Comics’ Kingdom Come’s sequel The Kingdom (1999). All stories count, all stories happened, just not as tied to continuity as previously. But this time round its anti-crisis energy that does the job. Or, that’s the hope of the gathered superheroes.
Amongst all of this vital explanation and exposition lies a good many twists and turns too. The capes are saved by a face you wouldn’t expect to come to their aid and even Batman has a startling revelation to make. But, once again, this is Wonder Woman’s show, and her time to shine, taking the stage and leading in a way she has never been allowed to in previous DCU crises. She makes the decision that will change the DCU once again. Well, until the next time DC Comics want to set the auto-correct settings that is.
There is certainly a momentum building in this issue, as Snyder unites the brave, bold and bad of the DCU one more time and keeps Greg Capullo working overtime with all those characters he has to draw. It’s certainly feeling like a crisis on infinite earths more and more. A calm before the storm; a brief. Respite before the crashing conclusion.
In many ways this series is a throwback to past glories, to what DC Comics do best when it comes to big event books. It’s a staple of their history ever since Earth 1 and Earth 2 teamed-up originally in ‘The Flash of Two Worlds’ (The Flash #123, 1961) and I remember the thrill of reading Crisis on Infinite Earths as a kid and trying to source each issue from the various spinner racks convenience local stores had alongside their candies and newspapers. The thrill of the hunt was a big part of my early comic book collecting experience. Andrew ho knows, for some young reader, this could well be their Crisis on Infinite Earths. The quintessential DCU event that changed it all! Just like it did for a young Scott Snyder one imagines.
Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 is out now from DC Comics