Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia, Steve Wands
Edited by Rebecca Taylor and Dave Wielgosz
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: January 31, 2018

Dark Nights: Metal #5 puts the spotlight on the Batman Who Laughs, and the black light on the rest of the universe. Writer Scott Snyder continues his maddening tale about the Earth sinking into the Dark Multiverse, and artist Greg Capullo, inker Jonathan Glapion, colorist FCO Plascencia, and letterer Steve Wands oblige with matching visuals.

This chapter is a tale of transition, as all of the big players take bigger steps towards epic confrontations. That’s not to say nothing happens in Dark Nights: Metal #5, because there is plenty going on here, including the return of an old fan favorite character, an epic throwdown between Black Adam and Wonder Woman, and the ongoing quest Superman and Batman are leading with the fierce, monstrous Hawk bearing down on them. This feels like an epic Justice League of America story, with the team split into smaller groups, menaces abound, but hope and the League’s power will surely prevail. Right?

Capullo packs panel after panel with detail, rubble, or both. His characters lean through their motions, with body language so animated; it feels as though we might actually see the characters move across the page if we flip the pages fast enough. Glapion’s inks have a rough edge in this issue, which is more than appropriate considering the darkness befalling the entire universe.

The final image of Wonder Woman leaping into battle, with lightning splitting the sky behind her is derivative of the epic The Dark Knight Returns imagery without being a lazy duplicate. Capullo, Glapion, and Plascencia come together to visually reinvigorate some of comics’ most adored icons, not just in this one panel, but throughout Dark Nights: Metal #5. These ageless characters are ready for merchandising and crossover into other media. Capullo and crew infuse them with such energy and life that Metal can’t help but be upbeat.

Twenty-two pages of adventure, madcap hijinks, and wild ideas given shape, Dark Nights: Metal #5 is a story with a little bit for every DC Comics fan and even more for those who are geared up for a wild ride. It doesn’t button anything up, but it does amp up the zaniness of the series and of the new Dark Universe creations. The Batman Who Laughs takes center stage, Barbatos launches an over-the-top assault, and everything is funneling to a very sharp, very deliberate point.

This comic moves like a full-out sprint, cover-to-cover, and by the end, readers are going to have a runner’s high and not want to stop. It’s a full comic, mind you, but it dangles over so very many cliffs that any delay between this chapter and the next will be a shattering letdown.

With Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt buffering the wait until Dark Nights: Metal #6, there’s plenty more innovative zaniness to look forward to, especially since The Wild Hunt brings Grant Morrison in to tinker with these characters and settings. Dark Nights: Metal #5 is a wonderful not-quite-penultimate chapter that gives readers a whole lot of hope, but even more to look forward to, as certain apparent promises are still just over the horizon. I’ve enjoyed the heck out of this run, and this issue is the most enjoyable yet.

The Verdict: 9.5/10


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