Dark Nights Metal #3 Going Off the Rails on a Crazy Train

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Dark Nights Metal 3

I've really been enjoying the METAL one-shots, and the overall big picture, high concept of the thing really intrigued me. It was like hearing a Grant Morrison pitch, and I love all the big picture, high concept ideas of Grant Morrison. And given that everything in DARK NIGHTS: METAL is grounded in the big picture, high concept foundations of Grant Morrison's previous BATMAN work, it makes sense that DARK NIGHTS: METAL would read that way.

Have I mentioned how much I hate reading Grant Morrison's actual books?

That's where DARK NIGHTS: METAL has finally got to with me with this third issue. The anti-Batmen have come to Earth-0 and abruptly taken over. Doctor Fate has been rescuing heroes right and left and been pulling them to a mysterious location where, we anticipate, they will regroup, fight, and emerge victorious with a plan.

What I didn't see coming was that the mysterious location would be a bar, run by forgotten hero Nightmaster and frequented by better-forgotten Detective Chimp. It's a place where the heroes are sipping suds and drowning their sorrows. It's where hope has come to die. So why bother bringing Superman there in the first place, since he is hope personified?

But they do have a plan, of sorts. Plastic Man has formed himself into a giant egg, and he is giving off vibrations that Mr. Terrific translates into coordinates. Those coordinates happen to be Atlantis, Thanagar, and the Center of the Multiverse. I don't know exactly what sort of multi-dimensional graph you need to actually plot all three of those places as coordinates, let alone secure them in a constantly expanding and revolving universe (and, by extension, multiverse), but Mr. Terrific is smart enough to map them all out. (And apparently Plastic Man has been hiding an intellect heretofore never seen, since he's the one giving the coordinates.) But wait: there's a fourth set of coordinates!

Darkness. I'm guessing that's either a string of zeroes, or negative 666 cubed. It doesn't matter, those are just details, and it's just another place Mr. Terrific has plotted out in his Rand McNally GPS of the DC Multiverse.

The heroes plan a three-pronged attack, heading off to the first three locations, since they have three sources of metal that are tied in with the DARK NIGHTS: METAL event: Steel's hammer, Doctor Fate's helmet, and the Plastic Egg. Plastic. Metal. I'm not even going to try to figure that one out. Superman, of course, wants to go into the Darkness to rescue Batman, whom he believes sent him a secret SOS code in a dream, a code Batman devised long ago so that if either he, Superman or Wonder Woman were ever in trouble, they could use it to let the others know without anyone else knowing. Because, "Superman! Help!" probably just sounds to "damsel in distress" for Batman to utter. However, nobody backs Superman's plan as they don't have a fourth source of metal -- until Deathstroke shows up with his Prometheum sword. Holy Deus ex Machina, Batman!

There's a story in here somewhere -- a huge story that ought to rival CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS in scope and threat. But as far-spread as DARK NIGHTS: METAL and it's associated tie-ins are, it feels <i>squeezed</i>, with gaps happening that we simply have to fill in with faith, and leaps of understanding that beggar logic. ("He's building a circuit. Of course! He's trying to sink the Earth into Darkness!" That must have been covered in an IBEW meeting that I missed.)

It's been an interesting start, and I always love the idea of introducing new levels to the DC Multiverse. But I'm jumping off this train now, and hitching my wagon to the upcoming DOOMSDAY CLOCK series starting next month, with higher hopes.

2.0 / 5.0