If you thought DARK NIGHTS: METAL was crazy, the sequel is trying to outdo it in issue 1!

Dark Nights: Death Metal 1
Written by Scott Snyder
Pencils by Greg Capullo
Inks by Jonathan Glapion
Colors by FCO Plascencia

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have had a few opportunities to close the book on their New 52 Batman run. Between Metal and BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH, the creators have had ample opportunities to examine how their Batman is faring after their story had ended. But Metal never really had a definitive ending. It led into Snyder’s run on JUSTICE LEAGUE that led to the Justice-Doom War and Year of the Villain, which also didn’t have an ending and was used as a lead-in to this.

Death Metal takes a few more crazy twists into account as the story opens. We have Wally West, the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Flash, who now has the power of Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan after the FLASH FORWARD Series, who acknowledges that Manhattan’s attempts at fixing things at the end of DOOMSDAY CLOCK caused a whole new set of problems.

As the new miniseries opens, the Batman Who Laughs has made a deal with Perpetua and has reshaped the world in his image. He has his own Justice League, tormenting the members of the actual Justice League to feed Perpetua’s power. To counter this, the real Batman uses a Black Lantern ring to raise Revolutionary soldiers to battle the Laughing League, which is really more of a distraction than anything else.

But Death Metal isn’t a story about Batman overcoming the odds and saving the world. In this first issue, at least, he’s little more than a cameo appearance, leading some exposition to bring everyone up to speed (which we also get from Wally, appropriately). Instead, this first issue is a spotlight for Wonder Woman, and it makes this first issue infinitely more interesting. We’ve seen Snyder and Capullo focus on the Bat, but putting Diana front and center gives a new perspective, and opens up different avenues of storytelling.

The most intriguing avenue is Diana’s willingness to kill if need be. That particular character trait gives the first issue a crazy turn, and it’s left me wondering where things go from here.

Dark Nights: Death Metal has me more intrigued than any other first issue Scott Snyder has produced over the last few years. In addition to all the weird concepts Snyder has introduced to the Batman mythos over the years, now he has the cosmic portions of his Justice League run, Geoff Johns’ DOOMSDAY CLOCK and the follow-up Flash Forward series to play with as well. And there’s no telling where this is all going to end up.