08th Oct2020

‘Dark Nights: Death Metal – Multiverse’s End #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by James Tynion | Art by Juan Gedeon | Published by DC Comics

This event overall has blown a little bit hot and cold for me. The central story is solid, with some nice ideas in there, but there also seems to have been a lot of filler and unnecessary sidetracking. This being so, I have dipped in and out here and there, occasionally being impressed, occasionally being disappointed. I took a chance on this book for two reasons. One, James Tynion is writing it, and he’s consistently good value as a writer. Two, it features the word ‘Multiverse’ in the title. I’m a sucker for anything DC Multiverse related, always have been. What I didn’t like was the cover. That cover is one ugly thing, and whoever is the Cover Editor these days at DC may need an eye test. Sure, throw a lot of characters on the cover to try and entice people in, but do it in a more aesthetically pleasing way next time.

We kick off on Earth-3, and drop in on Owlman taunting a captured Green Lantern, John Stewart. Owlman is of course the Earth-3 ‘evil’ version of Batman, a member of the Crime Syndicate, that world’s ‘evil’ Justice League. Apart from looking cool, Owlman is also an excellent master of exposition, and he gives John, and us, a nice recap of Perpetua, the Mother of the Multiverse, and her alliance with the Dark Multiverse to remake reality. So far, she has destroyed world after world, with only six Earth’s now left surviving her onslaught. Each of these surviving worlds has a tuning fork that powers Perpetua, and needs to be destroyed. John Stewart had come to Earth-3 to try and destroy its tuning fork, but had failed. Which is why Owlman has a Qward gun pointed at his head, a gun who’s yellow bullets can kill even a Green Lantern. And yet Owlman is not stupid. Remember, he is that world’s Batman. Evil and nasty yes, but super smart too. He may just help after all…

Earth-X, where the Nazis won the Second World War, is the current battleground for Guy Gardener, Kid Flash and, er Captain Carrot, while other Earth’s see Hal Jordon, Kyle Rayner and the Green Lantern Corps fighting their way to destroy those world’s tuning fork towers. John Stewart knows it will all only work if all the towers fall, and he tries again to fully convince Owlman by telling him how this all started. Essentially Perpetua was created by The Source to create the Multiverse, and was then supposed to ‘die’. She refused to do that, and was imprisoned by The Source, until the Maltusian scientist Krona accidentally created an infinite Multiverse. Perpetua knew reality would eventually die, so used her ‘son’ the Anti-Monitor to create a Crisis, to help free her… The first of many, as it turned out.While John tries to persuade Owlman, Perpetua has decided to target Earth-3, and has sent an elite force to take down the heroes. The Rainbow Batman Corps, led by an evil Batman baby. Heh.

Ultimately, an Owlman trumps a Bat baby, and this round is won for the heroes. Owlman essentially sacrifices himself as he’s confident that, when the heroes win, he’ll be resuurected again, as he has been multiple times after each re-set. I love the irony of the original ‘evil’ reflection of Batman being the one who helps to start the takedown of all the other Multiverse ‘evil’ Batman types. I also love the fact he didn’t suddenly become altruistic, he did it for purely selfish reasons. Tynion managed to throw in a lot of funny little asides in his script for those who know their DC history, and his Captain Carrot bits were the perfect blend of humour and pathos. Against such a big, chaotic background Tynion managed to create some personal moments that really worked well. His Owlman was a star turn certainly.

As much as I love Tynion’s script, and extended walk through the history of DC’s Multiverse, I found Juan Gedeon’s art a little too scrappy at times for my taste. The pacing and layouts were done nicely, but it just felt with so much going on, on literally every page, that cleaner lines would have helped make things clearer. I did like some of the larger panels though, so maybe it was the denseness of the script as much as anything, forcing Gedeon to cram too much in on occasion. The overall feel, though, was a little bit too fast and loose for me.

Overall, though, I enjoyed this, though mainly for Owlman and the potted DC history stuff. Is it essential to the overall storyline? Maybe not essential, but quite important to fill some gaps I’d imagine. If you’ve enjoyed the event so far , it’s worth picking up. Casual readers should probably move further along the shelf.

On an Earth far, far away, an Owlman helped save the Multiverse from a Batbaby. You don’t hear that very often.

**** 4/5

Dark Nights: Death Metal – Multiverse’s End #1 is out now from DC Comics.


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