Do you hear the Dark Knights sing?
There are very few comic book crossover events where readers get a truly complete and cohesive story just sticking to the core miniseries. There are always tie-ins and spinoffs that add much-needed depth and context to the main conflict. Dark Nights: Metal is no exception. The core series has been a wild romp, but readers simply aren’t getting the same experience if they aren’t also adding books like Batman Lost #1, Hawkman Found #1 and the Dark Days one-shots to their list. Now you can add Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt to that list.
That’s not to say this comic isn’t without its flaws. It pretty much goes without saying that an issue boasting four writers and three pencillers is going to suffer from a certain degree of inconsistency. It’s not clear exactly how writers Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson divided up their work on this issue. Suffice it to say, there are sections where Morrison’s surreal voice is much more readily apparent than others. The narrative as a whole is also a bit jumbled, jumping between the Dark Knights themselves, heroes like Flash, Cyborg and Raven and even a recap of Detective Chimp’s origin story.
The constantly shifting visual don’t always help in that regard. Individually, Howard Porter, Jorge Jimenez and Doug Mahnke all do great work. Jimenez in particular proves he needs to take the lead on a project of this scale at some point. But taken together, their styles don’t mesh particularly well. It might have helped if this issue employed one colorist rather than three.
But messy though it may be, this issue is also the single most entertaining chapter of the Metal saga, and one that contributes to the larger narrative in meaningful ways. In fact, were it not for the absence of artist Greg Capullo and the fact that main players like Batman and Superman sit this chapter out, this book could just as easily be labeled “Dark Nights: Metal #5.5.” Yes, it’s a bit jarring to see Detective Chimp of all characters suddenly thrust into the spotlight, but he makes for a fitting focal point in this issue. Wild Hunt is also great about shining a light on the Dark Knights and exploring their uneasy coexistence. The Batman Who Laughs may be all-in on the supervillainy front, but not all of his comrades are so twisted or beyond redemption.
It’s fitting that Metal would mark Morrison’s first contribution to the main DC Universe in several years. This event reads like a sequel to Final Crisis and Multiversity, both in terms of plot points and general thematic elements. Having Morrison on board only cements that connection. In these cases, no one is better at conveying the sheer, overwhelming scope of threats facing the DC Universe. This issue manages to specifically address one of my complaints regarding Metal #5, that the story didn’t quite capture the cosmic scale of the conflict as Earth began sinking into the Dark Multiverse. That, above all, is what makes Wild Hunt a necessary addition to the Metal saga.