By Brendan F. Hodgdon. It’s very interesting that after several years with barely any “event” series, DC now has two of them going simultaneously, with each promising universe-shaking consequences. But while Doomsday Clock marches along at a stately, measured pace while infuriating large segments of the fandom, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Metal continues to barrel headlong towards what is sure to be an epic and raucous finale with nary a care in the world (and a bunch of cool-looking new series to follow in its wake).
If this week’s Metal #5 is any indication, the climax of this superheroic rock opera should be dripping with the same existential angst and emotional catharsis that has marked Snyder’s work on Batman from his Detective Comics days.
Metal #5 hits the ground running, with multiple plot threads up in the air, heroes scattered every which way, and several horrifying new opponents entering the fray. The plots that get the shortest end of the stick are the Aquaman/Deathstroke adventure at the Earth’s core, and Green Lantern/Mister Terrific’s imprisonment on Thanagar. Not that these plots aren’t fun (particularly with the reappearance of a classic League member on Thanagar and some good one-liners) but these segments feel less essential and a little bit perfunctory. They don’t have the same emotional heft that the rest of the book does.
That emotional heft belongs to the Batman/Superman and Wonder Woman portions of the story, which drive home what seems to be the great thematic point of the series. DC’s trinity are challenged to hold on to their hope, even as their odds of success dwindle to the point of nothing, and in the process we see just how scary and dangerous hope can be… but also how essential and heroic it often is just to keep your hope alive. It’s heartening to see Batman scramble through apocalyptic chaos, not because he’s The Batman, but because he’s a man who loves his family and wants to preserve their future. It’s inspiring to see Wonder Woman declare that she won’t scream out of fear, but in defiance, because she’ll be damned if she lets the horror of potential failure keep her from the fight.
And on top of Snyder’s ever-impressive scripting chops, let’s take the time to highlight Capullo et al and the top-notch work they’re doing for this series. With so many different plot threads, Capullo has so much to pull off here. Each and every panel is right on the money, from the epic vista of the World Forge to the awesome design for Lady Blackhawk. And then there are the little moments too, like the look that Wonder Woman gives Kendra Saunders right before they dive back into battle, that are nothing short of perfect. Capullo, Glapion and Plascencia hit home run after home run here. That may not be surprising but it is definitely worth celebrating.
A while back when I reviewed Batman: Lost #1, I said that Scott Snyder always finds a way to make a story into a horror story, which has been true of Metal as a whole from the beginning. And the reason why this approach is so effective is because it sets up issues like Metal #5, when all the fear and pain of the story so far heightens the impact of seeing our heroes face it head-on and reject it. It makes for stirring storytelling, and it sets us up for a monster finale.
Written by Scott Snyder.
Pencils by Greg Capullo.
Inks by Jonathan Glapion.
Colors by FCO Plascencia.
Letters by Steve Wands.
8 out of 10
Check out this six-page preview of ‘Metal’ #5, courtesy of DC Comics!