– by Brian Jasper

After what has seemed like an interminable wait, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s METAL event series is here. The duo is best known for their work on DC’s Batman during New 52, a 50+ issue run that rejuvenated the character, both for fans and in the comic. Now the acclaimed pair of creators is tackling an entire event series for the Warner Bros.-owned publishing house and fans. Can’t. Wait. There have so far been two prequels comics and both were top sellers in the month they were published.

If you’re nervous about jumping into an event comic series or perhaps you’re a lapsed reader, the following tidbits will get you caught up. There are some spoilers for the prequels and other comics leading up to the event, but nothing about METAL itself that hasn’t been released in a public forum thus far (because I haven’t read it yet).

1. What To Buy

The comic is actually titled Dark Knights: METAL and it is in stores TODAY! After that, expect another issue of Metal about once a month thru February. If 6 comics doesn’t sound like enough reading for you, there’s a plethora of others you have the option of buying. First, there are six one-offs, each featuring a different villain in the series. Then, two other one-offs, Batman Lost and Hawkman Found show up in November and December, respectively. Existing comic series such as Teen Titans, Green Arrow, The Flash and Justice League will also have tie-ins.

For my money, I’d say the six main issues, plus the six villain-centered issues and the issues of Batman Lost and Hawkman Found will get you 90% or more of the story and you won’t feel like you’ve missed a beat. That’s fourteen issues in the next six months, for a total comic bill averaging less than $10 a month! You won’t regret it.

2. The Dark Multiverse

Long time readers of DC will be pretty familiar with the concept of the multiverse – numerous dimensions that are slightly different than each other. METAL brings us the Dark Multiverse, several dimensions of pure evil where hellish versions of our favorite heroes exist. In METAL, six of them are coming for our own fair home dimension and it’s going to take all of our heroes (and maybe our villains) to stop them.

3. Batman Is DC’s Greatest Superhero

During Snyder’s run, the Justice League was temporarily brainwashed (hey, comics) and attacked Batman. Batman was able to defeat them all, including Superman. I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that this makes Batman the greatest hero in the DC universe. If only there were more of him …

4. Evil Batmen

Oh, wait. There are six more of them, actually, and they’re on the other side. If Batman can beat the entire Justice League single-handedly, what could six of them do? And to amp it up, these Dark Multiverse Batmen are superpowered ON TOP of being Batman! There is Batman the Red Death, who has Flash’s speed powers. Batman the Murder Machine is a cyborg. Batman the Dawnbreaker has a Green Lantern ring. Batman the Drowned is Aquaman in a cape and cowl. Then there is Batman the Merciless – a cross between Batman and Wonder Woman – and, lastly, Batman the Devastator, who is a Doomsday version of Batman.

Teamed up and against our heroes, it will be interesting to see how the Justice League and the rest of DC’s heroes combine to fight off this latest existential threat.

5. Nth Metal

For those who don’t know (and I didn’t until recently), Hawkman’s mace is made up of Nth Metal, a mystical material that connects the regular and dark multiverses. It also shows up in several other things, including in what Batman fans will recognize as Ra’s Al Ghul’s rejuvenation liquid. This liquid grants Ra’s Al Ghul immortal life so long as he bathes in it regularly.

6. Batman Is No Longer A Regular Human

As regular as he ever was, anyway. At the close of his time on the book, Batman and Joker had an epic confrontation in which they both seemed to die. Lo and behold, neither died because some of that magic rejuvenation liquid was in the cave they perished in, bringing them both back to life. DC fans learned recently that the liquid, which made Batman young and fit again – essentially giving him a new lease on life – also penetrated his body and he now has the mystical Nth metal flowing in his veins.

7. Batman’s Secret Joker Prison

For perhaps the same reason, Batman has been keeping Joker locked up in the Batcave. Apparently a breach of Justice League protocol, Green Lantern and Bat-sidekick Duke discover Joker down there and are shocked when the legendary villain escapes. He doesn’t escape before letting on that Batman and the rest of the DC Universe are in for some serious trouble. It seems Joker has figured out the craziness that is the Dark Multiverse. And they are coming.

8. Batman’s Clones

Also toward the end of Snyder’s run, we discovered that Batman had begun plans to clone himself. The idea is that when he can no longer be Batman, a young clone of him will take over. To help facilitate this, Bruce Wayne has stored his memories and desire for vengeance into a machine. It was this machine which helped him become Batman again after dying and being resurrected. If these clone Batmen will come into play in METAL remains to be seen, but Snyder hasn’t done anything with them since their introduction and METAL is likely his last chance to pull the clone card.

So there you have it, all the METAL prep you can throw a batarang at! Are you going to jump into this series? And if so, are you a regular reader or has this tempted you into the often-anxiety-inducing world of comic books? Hit me up down below or on Twitter at @LRM_Brian!

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