[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Liam Sharp
A METAL tie-in! “BATS OUT OF HELL” part two! The Justice League have been separated by the dreaded Dark Knights and are forced into twisted Bat-Caves designed to kill them! The Batman Who Laughs and the Murder Machine experiment on Cyborg, seeing how he reacts to the horrors of the Dark Multiverse! Can the Justice League survive their worst nightmares made real?!
This issue falls in between Bryan Hitch’s departure and Christopher Priest’s taking over the role of writer for Justice League. This issue and the next are tie-ins to the Dark Nights: Metal event.
Hitch’s run has been divisive, to say the least. So, if you didn’t like his take on the League, his departure will certainly be a positive for you. Personally, I have found his stories to be hit or miss. Some are very good, where other storylines seemed promising, but ultimately failed to realize their potential.
Due to this being a crossover, the League lineup is a bit different from the previous issues. This is most apparent in the return of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, and Aquaman. It’s great to see them again, especially Hal, but it makes me wonder if either is sticking around when Priest takes over.
The premise is an exciting one: not only do Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Aquaman each have to face a dark version of Batman, that in itself is a daunting challenge, but each Batman has the powers of the Leaguer they are facing.
One of the problems when a title has a crossover issue with a big event, is that the crossover interrupts the flow of the story currently being told in that title. In this case, the tie-in issues falls in between the wrap-up of one creative teams story arc, and the beginning of a new creative team’s tenure. This gives a clear break to slot in the Metal tie-ins without upsetting the title’s regular pace.
Hal and Aquaman returning has unfortunately bumped Mera, Jessica Cruz, and Simon Baz. And even though the storyline contains several dark versions of Batman, the real Bruce Wayne is missing, as is Superman, who went off to search for him. This isn’t entirely a bad thing, as it allows for a stronger focus on the Leaguers in the book.
One thing that confuses me a bit is why the Red Death, who has Speed Force powers of his own, would use Speed Force-powered “Flashmobiles” against Barry. It’s a cool idea, but wouldn’t using a car – even one with super speed – be superfluous and a bit unwieldy compared to just using your own inherent speed powers?
An exciting action-packed adventure that pits each Leaguer against their ultimate foe: a villain with their own powers, but the cunning and skill of the goddamn Batman.