"You're a dumb idea. And nobody is going to remember you."
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Juan Gedeon and Mike Spicer
Lettered by Rus Wooton
Published by DC
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
Dark Nights: Death Metal receives a highly weird and highly entertaining shot in the arm with Dark Nights: Death Metal - Multiverse's End #1. Bringing together The Multiversity (opens in new tab)'s Justice Incarnate, all the current Green Lanterns, and the original 'dark mirror' of Batman, Owlman of Earth-3, James Tynion IV presents a high octane blast of cosmic insanity as Lantern John Stewart brings Owlman up to speed on the event, backdropped by a multi-Earth assault on Perpetua's Tuning Forks by the remaining Lanterns and Justice Incarnate.(opens in new tab)
But while this sounds pretty stock standard for the event, Tynion's script is gloriously insane, throwing all manner of crazy at the heroes while also lobbing some pretty choice commentary at Dark Nights as a whole as well as his and Scott Snyder's own Justice League work setting up the event. Pair that with the splashy, highly expressive, and neon-infused artwork of Juan Gedeon and Mike Spicer and Dark Nights: Death Metal - Multiverse's End #1 stands head and shoulders above the main Death Metal doldrums.
Everything is at stake and everyone is at risk when we pick up with Multiverse's End #1. Perpetua's Tuning Forks, powered by the fear and pain of the multiversal citizens lashed to their massive bulks, are starting to pulverize the remaining worlds still standing amid the Multiverse. Battles rage across multiple Earths as the survivors from the House of Heroes and the active Green Lanterns stand fast against Perpetua's hordes.
But just outside of the battle, Owlman, having captured John Stewart in the main Death Metal series, has a plan. Or rather, he will have, once he figures out how to turn the edge to his own survival. Thus James Tynion IV introduces the main crux of this tie-in issue and it is a true blast to read. Perturbed that the Batman Who Laughs is now considered the main dark shade of Batman, he wishes to strike back, proving that he and only he is the true dark mirror of Batman.
Again, while that might sound like some tried and true villain stuff, in the hands of Tynion Owlman's monologuing and machinations start to take on a more introspective, self-aware sound. Interrogating Stewart as the battles rage, Owlman is informed of the whole history of the Crisis up until now, lovingly and epically rendered by the art team in tightly blocked flashbacks into DC's history. But more than that, while Stewart recounts the stories, Tynion's script starts to actively comment on the whole viability of the Death Metal event as well as how it was set up, by his and Snyder's own hands in the pages of Justice League.
Back on the frontlines, Tynion just doubles down on this self-awareness by pitting the heroes against the Baby-Batman and his legions of Rainbow Batman, all wielding a corresponding Lantern ring color. On the surface, it's all really goofy, but great fun as Guy Gardner, Captain Carrot, and the rest of the Lanterns fight like hell against the Crime Syndicate, Baby-Batman, and the Rainbow Batman Corps.
But as you read deeper, Tynion starts to really comment on the insanity he is unfolding, the long-term viability of the Dark Batmen and Death Metal story (which provides us the tremendous quote that started us off here), and the overall unwieldy nature of the stretching of the Metaverse that has been undertaken in this series. It isn't often you see this kind of self-referential fun poking by a writer, especially in the midst of a giant event that HE HIMSELF help set up, but this ironic edge, peppered among the big and super weird action of this tie-in, makes it a keenly fun read.(opens in new tab)
Also adding heaps of style and cosmically powered colors to Multiverse's End are artists Juan Gedeon and Mike Spicer. Rendered in Gedeon's blocky, slightly cartoonish, but expressive style and brought home by Spicer's rich, highly charged colors, Multiverse's End breaks the event out of the dourly cinematic visuals of the main series and drops readers into the thick of the insane conflict, populated with the cartoon physics of Captain Carrot as well as punchy, engaging Lantern action throughout the Earths. Though the scenes solely between John Stewart and Owlman can get a bit cramped, as they are largely contained to one interior, Gedeon and Spicer always make sure to bookend them with either more titanic action, a deep dive into DC history, or a rousing hero shot of our of merry band of super resistance fighters. Thanks to this creative team, you will believe a super-rabbit can cry.
So with a honed irony, tremendous visuals, and truly gonzo scripting Dark Nights: Death Metal - Multiverse's End #1 raises the stakes, emotions, and weirdness of the event and not a moment too soon. If the main series has left you cold, pick up this tie-in and revel in just how crazy (and purposefully cheeky) event comic books can be.