*Ties into Dark Nights: Metal crossover
The Justice League is lost. Each member outside of Cyborg, Batman, and Superman is trapped in a Batcave specifically designed to counter their abilities. The Flash is trapped with the Red Death. Aquaman is locked away with the Drowned. Wonder Woman is forced to square off with the Merciless. Green Lantern Hal Jordan has been blacked out by the Dawnbreaker.
All the while, Cyborg is helpless and watching all of this transpire with no means of helping his friends.
I’m still not a big fan of this kind of tie-in. Forcing people to read other comics to understand what is going on in the one they follow is a little greedy. That being said, this one isn’t that intricately connected to the most recent issue of the Flash, and it fills in the reader on what’s going on pretty well. They still have to read Metal to understand everything, but it isn’t as blindsiding as Gotham Resistance or Mojo Worldwide for the uninformed reader.
That being said, this comic sets up a plot without really following through on much. You have the four trapped Justice Leaguers squaring off against their Nightmare Batman counterpart. It’s established that League doesn’t stand much of a chance against the Nightmare Batmen, and that’s kind of where the story ends, promising that the Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps will forward things.
The fights are pretty cool though, and they play to the macabre 1980’s metal album cover aesthetic of the story. The Red Death has a legion of Mad Max-esque Speed Force-powered cars. The Drowned has a sea monstrosity. The Merciless can summon undead Amazonians at will. The Dawnbreaker…doesn’t get to do much this issue.
So, the action is pretty fun, and you do feel for the helplessness of Cyborg during all of this. That being said, why is it that every time a story like this kicks off, Cyborg is immediately pacified for a good portion of the story? In Forever Evil, is left half-dead when the Grid steals his machine parts. In Darkseid War, he was trapped inside Volthoom’s presence in Jessica Cruz’s Earth 3 Power Ring. Now, he’s been practically disassembled by the Murder Machine and is trapped on the Watchtower. Do writers just not know what to do with him beyond stranding him until he can fix everything?
That digression aside, this is a more coherent comic than the last issue of the Flash, and it is decidedly more enjoyable, even if it doesn’t have even a temporary ending. I do look forward to Hal Jordan Hal Jordan-ing is way out of the Dawnbreaker’s trap.
Liam Sharp does some great work on this issue with a textured and imposing style, bringing the heroes and villains to life in an impressive manner. The characters are allowed to be very expressive, and the designs of the Red Death’s Batmobiles and the Drowned’s sea monster look great. Adam Brown provides appropriately darker color schemes, and the resulting comic looks awesome.
Despite being a waypoint in this tie-in story, Justice League #32 does succeed in being a fun read that keeps me invested in this part of Metal. The set-up is cool, the characters are allowed space to do their thing, and the art is fantastic. This one manages to earn a recommendation. Give it a try.
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