By Dustin Cabeal
These one-shots have swung the narrative so much I want to puke my churro and get off the Sea Dragon. That’s not where I really want to start, but trust me, by the time I’m done there, isn’t going to be a good fit for that line.
There are aspects of this comic that I could like. It’s just that there’s so much being shoehorned into the past of the DCU. So much retcon that feels unnecessary. Is this Hawkman storyline going to mean anything or play out in a way that means something to the character going forward? Are people suddenly going to go, “Yeah, fucking Hawkman isn’t just a dude in a bird hat pining after a woman also wearing a bird hat”?
Perhaps the part I have the biggest problem with is that DC’s “Metas” are now changed to “Metals” which you’d think is cool. How clever, the code just didn’t have enough spaces to spell it out. But then you think about that and go back through DC’s history and think about how misplaced it would be for characters to be talking about Metal humans. Watch an episode of Flash and count (or drink) every time they say, “Meta-Humans” and say “Metal Humans” instead. It’s great on paper, but strange in execution.
Then there’s the Joker bit. The cover says that the cat is out of the bag so let’s talk about it. Apparently, this is what I’ll call Scott Snyder’s Joker, but they’ve explained away the whole face cutting off thing. Some green light heals him in case you were wondering. He’s all better and normal Joker now… so I guess they don’t need three of them anymore since goddamn fucking magic fixed all the bullshit. Apparently, if you want to change anyone’s appearance throw them down the bat cave. But let’s get to the real problem with Joker in the bat cave… what Batman is this?
No seriously because the Batman in this comic goes against everything I’ve ever read from Batman just to find the answer to some gnawing question. To the point that he’s taken at least two prisoners, traded favor with his worst enemy and is willing to risk his life and world to get the answer to a question. All the while talking about how he’s just an ordinary man and shit. What? Since when does Batman aka Bruce Wayne view himself as normal? I’m all fine with a new take, but where exactly is this take coming from? Should I ignore that Batman was shot through time and was saved by a cold bath? Or that he invokes enough fear to receive a yellow ring? Because that’s fine, I can throw that all away, but the simple fact is that DC didn’t throw that all out with the New 52. Instead, they kept it. They didn’t want to drop Batman’s long past any more than they did Hal Jordan’s, which puts these two in strange places for the reader. Personally, it’s not that I don’t like this Batman, it’s that the reinvention seems out of place in the current landscape, as if this Batman only exists for this story.
Listen, I get that each writer is going to bring their own take and look for new angles, but a billionaire that dress like a bat at night and has been at the center of almost every DC event… isn’t normal or average.
The constant shifting artwork doesn’t work as well in this issue as it did in the previous one-shot. I can’t express just how out of place John Romita Jr.’s art is in this issue. Romita illustrates most of the issue so don’t be fooled by all the names collecting checks on the cover. I don’t even understand why they didn’t just have him illustrate the entire issue, at least that way you wouldn’t be taken back by the constant shifting. It’s not all on Romita though; there’s plenty to look at and wonder just how short the deadline was for these artists. The opening with Hawkman and Hawkwoman has an extremely awkward panel in which their eyes are so fucking huge that I paused and laughed. Then there’s the lettering, mostly fine with the exception of the Hawkman part again. It’s fake cursive and a complete eyesore to read. It doesn’t come across as a journal the way it’s intended, but rather it comes across as a stand in font that wasn’t replaced before the book hit the printers.
I’ll give the first issue of Metal a, go, but there’s so much retcon being poured into the DCU that it’s more concerning than exciting. I’m not reviewing the effects of this will have on the DCU though, that will remain to be seen. As for this issue, yeah, it’s important to read if you’re going to read Metal, make no mistake about that. That doesn’t mean it was enjoyable or something I would ever pick up and read again.
Dark Days: The Casting #1