Dark Nights: Death Metal Resurrects the Entire DC Universe

There's big changes coming for Batman, Wonder Woman, and the whole DC Universe...

Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV had a chance to chat up their big current projects as part of Metaverse, this year’s pandemic margarine to New York Comic Con’s butter, and there were some surprising reveals to be had. Most surprising? Snyder spoiled the ending of Dark Nights: Death Metal.

Sort of.

Death Metal is many things. It is primarily the capstone to Snyder’s decade driving the DC line, first as writer of New 52 Batman with Greg Capullo, then on All-Star Batman and the Dark Nights: Metal/Justice League/Death Metal Crisis triptych. It’s the culmination of his partnership with Capullo, whose collaboration and friendship with Snyder have forever changed Scott’s storytelling ambitions. And, as Snyder relayed to new DC EIC Marie Javins and Tynion in the panel, it’s a way to put DC’s history back.

All of it.

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“At the end of the day, [Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman] have to reckon with the whole DCU. Every story they’ve been through has happened and the only way forward is to not only accept that, but have that in their arsenal to fight with,” Snyder said.

Through the Metal cycle, Snyder has been telling a story that, in its own cartoonish, superheroic way, reflects back some of the horrors of the world we currently live through. The premise of Year of the Villain was essentially that the people of Earth Prime chose evil, decided that psychotic billionaire businessman Lex Luthor made them an offer too good to refuse in a world collapsing from forces beyond their control, so screw it.

In the panel, Snyder hints that he ties that in a bow in Death Metal by making a point about the through line to all the various Crises in DC history. They’re all about selfishness. The Anti-Monitor, Superboy Prime and Darkseid (in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and Final Crisis respectively) were all trying to erase history and make their moment more important than the weight of the history of the DC universe behind them.

He says the way out for the heroes in Death Metal is to embrace what many have found to be the most appealing aspect of the DC heroes: legacy.

“What it says is all of these great stories that you’ve grown up with whether you love them or hate them, they all matter. They’re all real, they’re all part of this epic generational story,” he told Tynion. “At the end, we say all of that was material, all of that was consequential, and now, whatever DC is going to be going forward, both narratively within the story of the characters, and as a company, because there have been a lot of changes as well, we’re excited for that and we welcome it with open arms and we hope that it’s going to be even better than it was before.” 

Tynion also got a chance to talk up his run on Batman, which just hit a high water mark with the recently released issue #100 that capped off the Joker War story. His future plans are along the same lines as what we’ve seen so far.

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“Grounded realism isn’t something I’m trying to go for here,” said the writer who just wrapped a storyline about the Joker unleashing an army of clowns on Gotham City to wreak chaos after emptying Bruce Wayne’s bank accounts.

Tynion sees Batman runs as a way to dig into one aspect of the sprawling world of Gotham – his time on Detective Comics was focused on expanding and deepening the Bat family, just as he’s focused on the villains for Batman. He wants to work on elevating them, examining their individual roles in the city, even using some of them as regular supporting cast members. He said Harley’s appearances in Joker War are a tease of more to come: “She’ll continue to be a key part of the run,” he told Snyder.