Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook

“Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook”
Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Chip Zdarsky, Becky Cloonan, Vita Ayala and Priest
Artists: Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, Khary Randolph, Becky Cloonan, Dan Panosian and Eduardo Risso
Color Artists: David Baron, Emilio Lopez, Tamra Bonvillain, Luis Guerrero and Eduardo Risso
Letterers: Tom Napolitano, Dave Sharpe, Steve Wands, Ferran Delgado and Willie Schubert
Review by Steve J. Ray

Some of the joys of writing for Dark Knight News and DC Comics News is getting to read and review comics before they’re released, and getting great sneak peeks and first looks at big upcoming titles. A few weeks back DC sent us a preview of some of the spin-offs and crossovers that would link into the awesome Metal sequel. The Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook was one of the books I was most anxious to read, and it’s more than lived up to my expectations.

The anthology begins with a mysterious hooded figure, reading from a large leather-bound book. Considering the surprise, and very welcome, appearances by Dream of the Endless in the original Dark Nights: Metal, I initially assumed this to be Destiny. I was wrong, and I am so glad.

No, I’m not going to give away who it actually is, you’re just going to have to buy this excellent comic.

At first I thought that this book should actually have been released before Death Metal #1, but once the hooded figure’s identity was revealed, I knew that placing it between issues #2 and #3 was definitely the right way to go.

Value For Money That ROCKS

Anyone who reads my reviews knows how much I loved the most recent anthology, Dark Nights: Death Metal – Legends Of The Dark Knights. This volume could actually be even better. I mean, look at the stellar list of talent behind this book, and you’ll know why. The main story, “The Fall Of Earth”, gives us excellent background details, further fleshing out many of the characters from the main series. The rest of the tales in this collection provide heart, soul, and character.

Harley’s story, “Queen Of The Desert” is terrific, funny, and a little bit bonkers… much like the lady herself. The Aquaman chapter (now I know why he’s been getting variant covers to himself) is a revelation. “The Umibozu” shows us exactly what the King of the Seven Seas has been contending with, since Perpetua and The Batman Who Laughs defeated the Justice League, and re-made the world.

The Wonder Woman story, featuring Poison Ivy, “Seeds Of Hope”, could be my favorite. Never have I sympathised more with Diana, or with Pamela Isley. These two powerful women have historically been portrayed as enemies, yet their relationship in this beautifully poignant tale makes perfect sense.

Of course, no Metal collection would be complete without a Batman story, and this little firecracker of a denouement gives us the Jonah Hex / Batman team-up I’ve always wanted. Monster bikes, gunfire, and Joker-Dragons… oh, my!

Conclusion

Every tale in this issue is a terrific read. There’s horror, humor, heart, and soul. The art accompanying each story fits the narrative beautifully too. Then we get the hand-drawn pages between each chapter, sketched by the mysterious, hooded, chronicle keeper. Every ingredient in this book is perfectly balanced, and blended, providing a delicious treat for all of us, once it’s pulled out of the witch’s pot it was brewed in.

This is great comics, this is entertainment. This is The Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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Steve J Ray

Dad/husband, writer/artist, amateur chef and Bat-Fan Extraordinaire. Animal lover and fan of all things comic-book and sci-fi related. His wife thinks that he owns too many comics, books, and movies. He thinks this is an oxymoron.