The Dark Knights of the Dark Multiverse have arrived, and in their wake comes destruction. To recap: Challengers Mountain, the headquarters of the Challengers of the Unknown, has suddenly nestled itself in Gotham City. That, along with the arrival of the heralds of Barbatos, have made Gotham a war zone.
I mean, even more so than it normally is.
To combat the intruders and restore order, the Teen Titans, the Suicide Squad, and for some reason Green Arrow joined forces. They made their way through a pretty rad maze and took out the Riddler, only to be set upon by an armored Nightwing. And here we are, in a snow covered Gotham that’s been overrun by Mr. Freeze and a bunch of ice giants.
This sounds like it should be right up my alley.
I really wish it was better.
The elements for a goofy good time are there, and the basic conceit is pretty interesting: the Batman Who Laughs, terrifying leader of the Dark Knights, hands out joker cards to a select number of Batman’s rogues. The cards allow them to do pretty much whatever, and given that most villains adhere to their gimmick pretty obsessively the results are pretty much a given: Riddler riddles, but bigger, and Freeze freezes everything.
Just… just look at that. There are times when this issue is deliriously, ludicrously awesome in its silliness, and that right there is one of those times. It’s too bad, then, that the zaniness and bonker… itude, I guess, doesn’t carry through the whole issue.
Frankly? It’s kind of boring.
Part of that is nothing really happens. There are a few battles with some big crazy monsters, and to be entirely fair, the whole issue looks great. Pelletier’s pencils are nice and clean, and Adriano Lucas’ colors are bright and distinct. I mean, they managed to make every inch of that page up there clear and easily discernible, and it’s just a bunch of shades of blue and white. Nightwing’s silly armor is a nice design too, and it makes sense in the story why he has it (it’s thermal armor Bruce made for him, though why he didn’t bother to make him gloves is anyone’s guess). It’s like an upgrade in an RPG, and the story pretty much treats it as such. +10 escrima for damage and such.
The plot as a whole just never really comes together. Sticking with the RPG theme, it’s kind of like a bunch of cutscenes and sidequests spliced together. There’s a battle, then some people talk, then there’s another battle, then there’s an ominous appearance from a new boss they’ll eventually have to fight, and then the group stumbles upon a cache of weapons they’ll need to, you know, level up for the next area. So, yeah, it’s pretty much stat grinding before moving on to an area with higher level enemies.
Much as I love Seeley, and I think the past three years will prove I am a fan, something about his script didn’t click. It reads like he was writing a normal issue of Nightwing and just turned it into a tie-in to Metal. Usually his dialogue is snappy and witty, and he’s proven from the beginning of his run that he can juggle multiple characters and stories at one time. While there’s a line or two here and there that’s kind of nice, particularly when Dick and Damian interact, by and large this didn’t really work.
That’s a shame, too, because it’s lots of stuff I should love: Nightwing, ridiculous fights, awesome melee weapons, and ice giants. Metal‘s been crazy fun on its own so far, and last week’s Teen Titans tie-in was a solid entry. Maybe my expectations were too high for Nightwing (his were the best installments of the Night of the Monster Men crossover last year, after all), but this was a disappointment for me.
Those ice giants are rad, though.
- You want to read every Metal tie-in.
- You’re a Nightwing completist.
Overall: More a collection of scenes than a complete story, even for a second chapter of an ongoing tie-in this is sadly disappointing. There are individual elements that I liked, and the issue looks great from beginning to end, but overall I had a hard time getting through this story. As a whole Metal has been pretty great so far, and this in no way derails it, I just wish the spotlight on my favorite character could have lived up to everything Seeley’s done before.