This week's Dark Nights: Death Metal #2 started with a debut and a death, and left with a surprising return. But before we go in detail on that later here at Newsarama, we spoke with series writer Scott Snyder about another return - the return of Wally West to the Justice League (or what's left of it).
Wally West was revealed in Death Metal #1 as the shadowy figure imprisoned by the Batman Who Laughs, but rescued by the rebellious Wonder Woman and now part of a heroic effort to save the world.
But as readers might recall, the last time Wonder Woman saw Wally West, she and the Justice League were imprisoning him for his murder of numerous heroes in the culmination of 2018-2019's Heroes in Crisis - something even he confessed to.
While #2 didn't address that reaction as Wonder Woman, Barry Allen/Flash, and others welcome him back with open arms, Snyder tells Newsarama that it's not been forgotten - and neither is other controversial story elements from the recent past.
"There's a lot like that feeding into Death Metal. A lot of tangential things from Heroes in Crisis, Doomsday Clock, and more; no matter whether the stories had a big impact or were more off to the side, the point of this event is that everything matters - it's all-inclusive," Snyder tells Newsarama.
"For better or for worse we're in it together, as an industry, and as fans... and that means embracing things you might be uncomfortable with in different ways," the writer continues. "We're trying to unify all of the DC stories, from the ones that might've had nothing or we might've not agreed with. For example, there's some stuff with Wally - not even Heroes in Crisis but the cosmic stuff after - I wanted to take everything and say 'all of the stories are part of the DCU.'"
After his incarceration in the finale of Heroes in Crisis, Wally was busted out of Justice League's prison by Tempus Fuginaut to attempt to restore balance between the DC multiverse and its twisted antecedent, the Dark Multiverse. Over the course of the six-issue Flash Forward series, Wally gained some new powers - and became "Doctor Manhattan-ized" as Snyder calls it.
"The choices made for Wally to become Doctor Manhattan-ized, or what happened in Heroes in Crisis... Tom King, to his credit, I think he did a really good job - it was outside of what I was working on at the time," Snyder says.
While not addressing it specifically, Snyder tells Newsarama that he intends to embrace all of the continuity that's happened before - big or small, accepted or controversial.
"The idea we're presenting now with Death Metal is that as creators you can't just pick and choose what you like; that insulates you from stories out there, stories readers have bought and read," Snyder says. "It's now time to embrace all of it, and make continuity celebratory, conclusive, more united, and connected. It allows us to take risks, and to celebrate risks, all at once. That's the message we're going for."
So how will Wally West's past - with blood on his hands and Doctor Manhattan-esque powers at his fingertips - play out in Death Metal? Stay tuned, Snyder says.