Before the final issue of what seems like the longest mini-series in DC history since Superman Unchained and DKIII hit the stores, there is one more one-shot to persevere through.
Detective Chimp has a plan, moving his colleagues, Flash, Cyborg and a character that looks like Raven, but who is definitely more assured than either version currently in Teen Titans or in her own second mini-series, to a vibrational tune that weaves from Barbatos across the multiverses. Chimp is putting his own sanity on the line, as he uses more of his brain he becomes dumber, reverting to his earlier self. The metaphor of complicated bollocks causing a dumbing down is one that I can readily buy into after reading this issue.
Once again, it’s creating by committee, with Scott Snyder joining forces with multiverse know-it-all Grant Morrison and the only guy that DC seemingly lets write the Flash, Joshua Williamson. Between them, they try too hard and ultimately fail on storytelling basics. During the exposition that fills this book, we learn that the Challengers of the Unknown made it back; searching the previous issues of one-shots and the main series itself, this hasn’t been seen! Now for some this may be ok, but I think it is another sign that when this whole Dark Nights / Dark Knights “epic” was pitched, other than the key action points, no-one thought of how to connect the dots. At this stage I wouldn’t be that surprised if the main story ended with the world put right, and a panel of Batman and Superman saying “Well we fixed it”, without showing the readers, who have invested in this mess, how it happened. The book also has the Dark Knights facing off against three heroes; the heroes themselves have been beaten badly one on one in previous books, somehow think they can get the upper hand, but instead are played into a trap. Wasn’t this idea used already, with both Batman lured to releasing Barbatos and Superman lured into becoming a battery? The ending of the issue has a cartoon Brave and the Bold feel to it, which is to be expected with a story featuring Morrison’s writing, who can literally pull anything out at a drop of a hat. At least this twist is seemingly almost planned.
The art is also by committee with Howard Porter, Jorge Jimenez and Doug Mahnke all contributing to the chaos assisted by Jamie Mendoza. The mix of art is jarring in places, with the switch between the first Chimp act, to the gang riding the storm probably being the most jarring. I imagine that this is planned to some extent to show the differences between the environments easily, though the colors schemes by Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez and Wil Quintana are more than able to succeed in the respect. Regardless of the styles of art on show, the book looks and feels cramped. To often there are characters atop characters which when threaded between the word balloons is a lot to try to take in. Busy pages have the unsettling effect of both being distracting and confusing. On the flip, Raven standing toe-to-toe is the best part of the book, with the threat of darkness versus darkness shown fantastically, the backgrounds carrying as much weight as the pencils themselves.
The ending of this book feeds into the final issue of Dark Nights Metal, which now threatens to make even less sense if you haven’t read this issue; shame on you DC for making it necessary for people to buy this! The maxim of those who forget the past…… can apply to the heroes and the fans who somehow expected something better. All the creators involved have a pretty hard-core fan base and for them, this book may well be the pinnacle of their respective favourite’s career. Unfortunately, the problems in this issues are not contained to just this issue, with previous problems actually exacerbated. At this point, go out and buy The Doomsday Clock, if you haven’t already got it, as a means to show a series should be delivered!
Writing – 2 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Colors – 3 Stars
Written by; Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison and Joshua Williamson
Art by; Howard Porter, Jorge Jimenez and Doug Mahnke with Jamie Mendoza
Colors by; Hi Fi, Alejandro Sanchez and Wil Quintana
Published by; DC Comics