Cover to 'Batman: Lost' #1. Art by Olivier Coipel and Dave Stewart/DC Comics

Cover to ‘Batman: Lost’ #1. Art by Olivier Coipel and Dave Stewart/DC Comics

By Brendan Hodgdon. No matter how big, loud, action-packed or cosmically-significant the tale, Scott Snyder will always find a way to make it a horror story. One of the best examples of this is Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman #5, when Batman is trapped in a labyrinth by the Court of Owls and the art and structure of the issue itself dramatizes the instability of Batman’s mind. I thought of this issue often while reading Batman: Lost #1, where Batman must confront the existential dread at the heart of Metal.

Snyder (working with co-writers James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson, both of whom are well-versed in writing horror stories themselves) casually inverts the formula of the Dark Nights one-shots that have accompanied the main series. While those issues focus on the backstories of Batman’s alternate selves, the ones that gave in to his worst fears (desires?), Batman: Lost focuses on the story of the true Batman and his fears about who he already is, rather than who he might be. We see Batman question the very nature of himself, and whether every good thing he’s ever done was just a step towards fulfilling Barbatos’ master plan. The result is Batman at his most desperate, his most human… his most frightened.

Interior page from 'Batman: Lost' #1. Art by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, Wil Quintana, and Tom Napolitano/DC Comics

Interior page from ‘Batman: Lost’ #1. Art by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, Wil Quintana, and Tom Napolitano/DC Comics

Besides the effective emotional story being told, the creative team made sure to throw in a bunch of fun beats and Easter Eggs to keep the story lively and unpredictable. I never thought “Batman and Harley Quinn in space” was a thing I would ever see, and yet here it is, among many other cool details. Of course, none of these beats would be nearly as effective if not for the impressive rotating art team of Doug Mahnke, Yanick Paquette and Jorge Jimenez. Each plays to their strengths, and the contrast between their distinct styles allows us to keep track of where we are in the story even as it gets more and more twisty. But most importantly, they sell the character and emotion that links their segments together, and that’s the real key to this issue’s success.

With this issue, Snyder and company drive home the very personal horror lying at the heart of this universe-shaking event, adding layers of emotional depth to Metal as a whole and creating what I would say is the can’t-miss one-shot of the entire event. Definitely check this one out.

DC Comics/$4.99

Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson.

Pencils by Doug Mahnke, Yanick Paquette, and Jorge Jimenez.

Inks by Jaime Mendoza, Yanick Paquette, and Jorge Jimenez.

Colors by Wil Quintana, Nathan Fairbairn, and Alejandro Sanchez.

Letters by Tom Napolitano.

8 out of 10