DC BIG EVENT: Batman goes heavy ‘metal’

We’ve know for a while that the former Batman team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo were up to something special. Now, we now what that something will be, thanks to a presentation Sunday at FanExpo Dallas, which was streamed worldwide via Facebook Live.

Following the previously announced Dark Days specials to come in June and July, Snyder and Capullo will launch a limited series of “undetermined length” entitled Dark Nights: Metal, which Snyder described as, ” the definitive project of our careers,” and one which will, “encompass the full expanse of the DC Universe.”

“I’ve been planning Metal for as long as I’ve been writing Batman,”  Snyder said. “But this is bigger than Batman. Greg and I started dropping clues during ‘Court of Owls,’ we continued through our Joker stories and we placed our biggest hints in the run that culminated with Batman #50. And now we’re back to tell a story that breaks everything apart. Metal takes us in an entirely new direction. Greg and I will dig beneath the surface of all the stories we’ve told to find a place of terror and twisted nightmares.”

Although nominally a Batman tale, Metal will reportedly feature the entire Justice League as Batman traces the secret history of Nth Metal and and its impact on the course of human history. Nth metal is, of course, a heavy isotope of iron native to the planet Thanagar with the power to negate gravity. A part of Hawkman lore going all the way back to the first appearance of the winged wonder in Flash Comics #1 (on-sale Nov. 10, 1939), it was originally called “ninth metal” by the character’s creator, Gardner Fox.

With the elimination of the multiverse in the post-Crisis era, it was explained that the Nth metal used by the Golden Age Hawkman Carter Hall, in his original life as Prince Khufu of ancient Egypt, crashed to earth aboard a Thanagarian ship and was used to fashion various objects. In addition to allowing the its user to fly and evade harm (to a certain degree), the 1999 JSA series, and the 2005 limited series The Rann-Thanagar War, each established that Nth metal is a “psycho-receptive,” substance that can absorb and respond to the user’s emotional state. As such, it could be used, in the right hands, to not only negate gravity, but the “fundamental forces binding the universe.”

It’s probably not a coincidence that the Silver Age Hawkman, Katar Hol, just died in the recently concluded The Death of Hawkman limited series. Is it possible that the reason this series was first solicited as Hawkman and Adam Strange: Out of Time is because the original intent was not to kill off Katar Hol but, as the writer of that series, Marc Andreyko, said at the time, to set up “other adventures with these characters” in DC’s Rebirth universe? Might it be that after Andreyko got the green light for his series, Snyder chimed in with plans of his own for the character, resulting in the death option?

That’s speculation, of course, but its not much of a stretch at all to suppose Dark Nights: Metal will result in some new version of Hawkman, if not the return of Katar Hol himself. Given that the book was not announced as an ongoing series, but also has no definitive end number, it may end up being something akin to James Robinson’s Starman, with an ending for the story already in mind, but with no definitive course yet set by Snyder for how to get there. At any rate, the story promises to take the Darknight Detective out of his usual element and into some sci-fi arenas not trod by the character since his bug-eyed monster days of the 1950s.

In press release, DC said Dark Nights: Metal will “examine every choice a hero doesn’t take and every path they don’t walk, and open up worlds that are forged by nightmares.”

“I want Metal to be built upon the stories happening now in Rebirth and create new material that feels really modern and different,” Snyder said. “And above all, it’s going to be fun. Even with terror and nightmares, it won’t be grim. Dark Nights: Metal will be celebratory, huge and crazy. I’ve said it before: I am going for out-of-control dinosaurs and lasers.”

 

So, it sounds like maybe Metal is going to be the Rebirth origin story of that giant dinosaur we used to always see in the Batcave.

No page count of cover price was announced for the series, but we can probably assume, given the popularity of Snyder and Capullo’s New 52 run on Batman, and the packaging of Snyder’s current All-Star Batman series, that DC will not be holding the line at $2.99 on this title.

What do you think of this announced series, DC Fans? Sound off in the comments section below.

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Duke Harrington

A newspaper reporter since 2004, Duke Harrington currently writes for the Kennebunk Post and the South Portland Sentry. He lives in Western Maine with one wife, one dog, two cats, and 19,237 comic books.