Comic Review – Dark Nights: Metal #6

Dark Nights: Metal 6 Cover

It spoils little to reveal that Dark Nights: Metal concludes with the heroes of The DC Comics Multiverse victorious and the literal rising darkness that threatened to destroy all of reality vanquished. As with all good stories, the important part is the journey, not the destination. Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plascencia have taken us on one heck of a journey.

On the surface, the idea behind Dark Nights: Metal was insane – crafting the comic book equivalent of a progressive rock album, mixing the aesthetics of Frank Frazetta and King Crimson to create a story that seemed more appropriate to Metal Hurlant (or Heavy Metal Magazine, as it became known in the USA) than DC Comics. Somehow, the creative team made it work and continues to push this idea into the final chapter, as Wonder Woman does battle with the assembled legions of fallen Justice Leagues from alternate realities born of nightmares, given form by a mad god!

Dark Nights: Metal #6 Page 3

When the first issue came out, it was said that Dark Nights: Metal would redefine The DC Comics Multiverse forever. It was assumed that this referred to Scott Snyder’s attempts to codify their Periodic Table, expanding upon the properties of fictional substances such as Nth Metal and Promethium. It was also presumed that this would have something to do with the discovery of The Dark Multiverse – a hereto unknown level of The DC Comics Multiverse where the heroes lost and their worlds fell to chaos and entropy.

Dark Nights: Metal #6 goes far beyond this, however. The finale of this issue sets the stage for the next level of DC Comics Rebirth and indicates that some big changes are on the way. Anyone who is interested in the Rebirth revival in general would do well to pick up this issue, as it appears to lay the groundwork for some of what is to come in the solo books of all the current Justice League members with one notable exception. (Presumably they’re keeping Superman’s future a secret until Action Comics #1000 comes out?)

Unsurprisingly, reference is made to Scott Snyder’s upcoming No Justice series which will reportedly redefine the Justice League in much the same way Snyder’s run on Batman revitalized that series. A reference is also made to the upcoming Sandman Universe Special, which will introduce four new books – The Dreaming, Lucifer, The Books of Magic and House of Whispers – that will reveal the new status quo of Neil Gaimans’ Endless and their place in the new cosmology. There’s also an interesting bit of news regarding Jack Kirby’s New Gods that is sure to lead to big things in the future.

Thankfully, Dark Nights: Metal #6 is a solid work of action and adventure, even ignoring the significance of everything it has established. Those who missed the earlier issues can give thanks that the series has proved popular enough to merit reprints of the earlier issues, so you should be able to pick up the entire series with no problems if you don’t want to wait for the eventual TP collection.

10/10

Dark Knights: Metal #6 releases March 28, 2018.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

 

Comic Review – Hawkman Found #1

Hawkman Found #1 Cover

There are few heroes in comic book history who have a history and lineage as confused and conflicted as Hawkman. First appearing in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940), the first Hawkman was Carter Hall – an archaeologist who discovered that he was the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince. Using ancient artifacts made of an “nth” metal that defied gravity as well as the ancient weapons in his museum’s collection, Hall became a savage champion of justice and a founding member of The Justice Society of America.

Many classic superheroes were reinvented with a scientific edge, as The Silver Age of Comics started in the late 1950s. Hawkman was no exception, with Carter Hall becoming Katar Hol – an alien policeman from the planet Thanagar, who settled on Earth to study their peace-keeping techniques and lend a hand to a newly-founded Justice League. Thus for a time there were two Hawkmen – one on Earth One and one on Earth Two.

The trouble came following Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986, when both Earths were merged into one Earth with one timeline. While things started out simple with Carter Hall and his comrades fighting crime in the 1940s and the alien Hawkman arriving on Earth in the 1980s, it became complicated by the decision to make Hawkworld – an Elseworlds mini-series depicting Thanagar as a fascist society – the official background of the modern Hawkman. This, coupled with a series of contradictory stories that confused the two versions of Hawkman, resulted in DC Comics merging all their Hawk-themed characters into a single Hawkman character who was supposed to be an “avatar of the hawk god”!

Order of a sort was restored in the late 1990s, when it was decided that Katar Hol was one of Carter Hall’s many reincarnations as an eternal champion compelled to fight injustice, using the hawk as his symbol. It was also determined that the source of the Nth Metal artifacts used by Carter Hall was a Thanagarian ship, which landed in ancient Egypt.

This seems to once again be the status quo of the character in the DC Rebirth reality, after a brief false start in The New 52 where the character was reintroduced as the alien Katar Hol and summarily killed off. The Dark Nights: Metal mini-series has reintroduced Carter Hall as an archaeologist driven by strange visions of the past and a sensation of being connected to something greater. This is the figure at the hrart of the story in Hawkman Found #1.

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(Click To View The Full Image In Another Window.)

Longtime comic readers hoping for a definitive answer to The Hawkman Question will be sadly disappointed. Jeff Lemire’s script is more concerned with introducing the base idea of Hawkman to new readers than it is unraveling the tangled web of history around him. Indeed, Carter Hall seems just as confused as to his origins as everyone else and the story does a masterful job of walking us through the important facts behind his character. This does, unfortunately, mean that almost nothing happens regarding the basic plot of Dark Knights Metal, so those who come to this special hoping for insight into the ending of Dark Knights Metal #4 will be disappointed as well.

Does this mean that Hawkman Found #1 can be skipped?  It can, but it should not be. If nothing else, the series has fantastic artwork that is well worth appreciating even if the story doesn’t do much. The artwork by Bryan Hitch, Kevin Nowland, Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper looks fantastic throughout, full of vivid details, wonderful shading and striking imagery with enrapturing colors. Taken for what it is – an exploration of Carter Hall as a person and Hawkman as a concept – Hawkman Found #1 is brilliant.

7/10.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.