Will Dark Nights lead into Better Days?
First, we had Barry Allen reboot the universe with Flashpoint. Then we had Rebirth bring back Wally West along with news that the reboot wasn’t Barry’s fault and hint that it was Doctor Manhattan. We eventually moved on to the very drawn out publication (just over 2 years for a 12 issue series) of Doomsday Clock which solidified what Doctor Manhattan did to change reality and the fix that brought back the Justice Society and the rest of Earth’s history. (Sadly, despite the hint of the original Legion of Super-Heroes’ return, the future was drastically changed. That will be a topic for a future post though.) Through further events in Justice League and the first Dark Nights mini-series, the Source Wall went down and Perpetua (who created the multiverse) was released. Toss in the Batman Who Laughs and we now have Dark Nights: Death Metal. Just in case you haven’t read all 7 issues (and any of the associated one-shots you’re interested in) and still plan to….
I originally picked up Dark Knights: Death Metal just to see what would be going on just as I did the original Dark Nights. I really didn’t look into what it was or where it might be going. I just took it as some sort of sequel. I got the first issue and started reading. To be honest, I still had no idea what was going on. We start off in what is described as “Hell. Formerly Themyscira. The DCU. (Yes, the real DCU.)” Wait! What!? What happened? This is going to be one of those things where you get a jump forward to gain your interest and then a flashback I thought. Well, the flashback was a single page as vague as possible. Otherwise, we have Wonder Woman and a number of other heroes and anti-heroes working with the Batman Who Laughs along side all sorts of dark multiverse versions of Batman. And then we find Wally West, fresh out of Flash Forward and in his blue suit, who is supposedly the key to fixing this nightmare version of reality. He knows about the Crises that have happened throughout DC’s histories. The Batman Who Laughs finds Wally and Diana but Diana had made a chainsaw out of her invisible jet (WTF!?) and kills the evil Batman. That should be the end, right? Nope! Because in his reality jumping, the Batman Who Laughs (OK, I honestly didn’t like the name before but typing it all these time really makes me annoyed at it.) found a Bruce Wayne who became imbued with the power of Doctor Manhattan. He kills this Bruce with an energy knife (again, WTF!?), saves the body, and they put his brain into it later. Magically, just putting the cut out brain into the cranial cavity causes it all to heal up and he comes back to life. (WTF!? #3) He changes shape into his normal form and then into this demonic shadow called the Darkest Knight. Yes, we now have an evil Bruce Wayne with the power of Doctor Manhattan if not more. This escalated REALLY fast!
What’s been going on while all that insanity happened? Perpetua has continued to destroy various alternate universes in her plan to destroy the multiverse. (And, of course, she wouldn’t start with the one that always causes the most problems for the bad guys.) Everyone else other than the evil Bruce Waynes teams up to save any captured heroes and then they make a plan to stop the Darkest Knight. They go into the Crisis realities to get their crisis energy, but there are only the dark multiverse versions of them. (If they have the power to pick which alternate universes they are going to, how could they not realize they were picking ones in the dark multiverse?) They do turn Superboy Prime to their side and get that energy but when they bring it back, the Darkest Knight has already sabotaged their plan and he steals the energy so he can take on Perpetua himself. To keep the heroes busy (instead of just destroying their reality), the Darkest Knight creates 52 dark multiverse worlds to attach them. Just to even the odds, Batman uses the black lantern ring he’s been wearing because he’s already dead to summon up all the dead heroes like Hourman, Liberty Belle, Hawk (Holly Granger), Dove (Don Hall), Damage, Airwave, Black Condor, Strange, Red Tornado (Ma Hunkle), TNT and Dyna-mite, Blue Beetle (Dan Garrett) and more. At least it was cool seeing some characters that haven’t been since since pre-New 52 there. Now, we’ve got 3 things going on. The Darkest Knight is still fighting Perpetua, Wonder Woman takes an army of Lobos to get the Forge a build a machine to stop this, and everyone else is in a giant battle royale. Wonder Woman fails because that would be too easy but then she uses her lasso of truth to remind everyone of every version of themselves that have been wiped out by the various crises. This allows her to become a goddess. (No “WTF” this time. Why bother even being surprised/dumbfounded by any of this anymore.) Perpetua has fallen so now it’s Wonder Woman’s turn to fight the Darkest Knight. It’s no real surprise that she wins as the others of Perpetua’s race show up to presumably destroy the multiverse. Because of Diana’s deeds, they decide to save the multiverse instead. Everyone is alive again and everything that’s happened before/after each Crisis is all real now.
So, where does all this leave us? Not only is the multiverse back, but there’s now a “multiverse” of multiverse. (They call it an omniverse.) I’m not sure how an omniverse is any different than a really big multiverse, but maybe we’ll find out. To me, it’s like saying you have 10 sets of 10 instead of just saying you have 100. Earth is not the center of it all either anymore. There’s another central point they are calling Elseworld. I’m not even sure what to think given the name they gave it. There are all sorts of pasts and futures opening up, some of which lead into Future State. So, if everything is real now, does that mean everything is true in the main universe (Earth 1? Earth 0?? Earth Prime???) since everyone remembers them all or are all the histories true but in their own multiverses? I guess we’ll have to wait until after Future State to find this out. With all the various futures, how does that effect the various iterations of the Legion of Super-Heroes which must also all be true now as well as Justice League 3000? I’m really hoping that means Bendis’ Legion will go away but I’m afraid it won’t. I mostly want to see the Justice Society return. I’ve been a big fan of it since I was really young and bought the JLA/JSA crossovers every summer. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see. Stop back once we do find out and see what I think of it.