REVIEW: Dark Nights: Metal #2 Shows Batman’s Importance to the DCU

Last month delivered an unexpected cliffhanger, and the ramifications resulting from that surprise encounter are immediately investigated in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Dark Nights: Metal #2. Batman continues with a team-up stranger than anything ever seen in Brave and the Bold, while the metal mystery maintains its expansion across the breadth of the DC Comics Universe. Snyder generates more tension as Batman’s exploration into the Dark Multiverse puts him at odds with his Justice League colleagues, while Capullo gets to impress via some disturbing imagery, with the first official look at what lies behind the darkness. Both creators successfully build on the momentum started with the series’ two prequels that was accelerated last issue, making this one an enjoyably tense continuation.

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The issue’s first half goes a long way towards strengthening and clarifying the ties between this issue’s aspects and those from Snyder and Capullo’s five-year Batman run. Snyder even brings along the Bat-out-of-Gotham vibe that he’s established in his nearly-concluded All-Star Batman, with the not-so Dark Knight traversing through decidedly unfamiliar confines — or so it would seem, anyway. The expanse of Metal has already taken Batman well outside of his comfort zone, but the sequence serves as a reminder that Snyder had already been paving that road, as it were, outside of both this series and Batman.

Along the way, Snyder provides a welcome explanatory summary on the connection between the different metallic elements that he’s worked into his Batman arcs in recent years, as well as how they play into the overall Metal hierarchy. He also furnishes readers a link to past Batman storylines outside of his watch, but ones that he cleverly works into his own, confirming a speculated connection to Grant Morrison’s nigh-forgotten and time-spanning Return of Bruce Wayne, as well as Morrison’s Final Crisis that preceded it. These past stories align surprisingly well with the far-reaching nature of Snyder’s, and the connection even refreshes these stories with some newfound relevance.

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Snyder even takes the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of fellow writer and frequent collaborator James Tynion IV by utilizing a major character from his current Detective Comics run. The incorporation of not only his Batman legacy but also those of other writers into the much larger landscape of Metal gives these past storylines a sense of permanence within the fabric of the DCU, beyond their presence on bookshelves as mere predecessors. Snyder not only incorporates his and his colleagues’ Bat-stories into the bigger picture, but also meets them halfway by continuing to involve additional characters from elsewhere in the DCU, in the ever-growing expanse of this latest event.

Capullo benefits from all of this, as his talents are now lent to the entirety of the DC Universe, as well as whatever is set to come forth from the Dark Multiverse. A Capullo-drawn Justice League is a welcome sight, indeed, and his designs for the newly created Dark Knights are simply too cool not to love — or to not have a set of action figures designed after them. FCO Plascencia uses the same approach to the colors that he did on Snyder and Capullo’s Batman run — punchy when needed, but dark and subdued otherwise.

RELATED: Dark Nights: Metal Reveals a Connection to the Last Character You’d Expect 

In a decades-long string of line-wide events that have often been cosmically or dimensionally centered, Batman often found himself in important but largely grounded roles. Dark Nights: Metal, though, has so far not only given his character fantastically plausible reasons to get out of Gotham, but to take a central role in a storyline that reaches much farther. This issue in particular shows the importance of a character who can’t fly alongside Superman or duke it out with Darkseid, but nonetheless is shaping up to be redefined as a character with a far more notable place in the overall DCU.

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