Flash #33 (METAL Tie-In)
- Great plot heralds the start of a "can't miss" storyline
- The decision to go with the regular writing and art team on this book pays huge dividends as it is a great read and the art really pops
- There is a lot going on, so the focus can be lost
"Bats Out of Hell" - Part One
So, now that we know Batman is alive and where he is, and we know what is needed to defeat the “Evil” Batmen, it’s time for the next “stage” of Metal to start. This issue is the beginning of the Bats Out of Hell storyline, which essentially boils down to the Justice League vs. the “Evil” Batmen.
After the events of Dark Knights: Metal #3, Superman has infiltrated the Dark Multiverse looking for Batman with the help of Steel and Flash. Meanwhile, three teams of heroes and villains set out to search for the Nth Metal needed to combat the “Evil” Batmen. Wonder Woman, Dr. Fate and Kendra Saunders travel to the Rock of Eternity. Aquaman and Deathtroke travel to Atlantis. And, Green Lantern and Mr. Terrific travel with Plastic Man’s egg to the heart of the Thanagarian Empire. Meanwhile, having successfully sent Superman through a portal to the Dark Multiverse, Flash and Steel remain at the Fortress of Solitude.
Lo and behold, each of the teams gets caught in trap set by the “Evil” Batmen. Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Aquaman’s teams are all kidnapped by a mysterious dark energy portal. At the Fortress of Solitude, however, a dark energy portal brings forth two of the aforementioned “Evil” Batmen: Murder Machine and Devastator. Both of the heroes are over-matched by their foes. Devastator destroys the cosmic tuning fork, destabilizing the portal Superman was sent through.
Steel tells Flash to get help, so he runs into another dark energy portal, which lands him in Central City, after the coming of Batman: The Red Death. His powers have made everyone in the city brittle and emaciated. He is just reuniting with Iris and Wally when he falls through the ground.
As he sees visions similar to what Superman saw of himself failing over and over. He lands on solid ground. Suddenly communication is restored with the other teams, but only the Justice League members. They have been separated from their allies. Cyborg finally makes contact again, allowing everyone to talk, but he can’t sustain it. He tells them that everyone is being take to Gotham and that Barbatos wants the four of them together. Suddenly, they here “Bruce’s” voice. But, of course, it’s not their Bruce. it is revealed that they are each in a meticulously designed murderous Batcave designed to kill them and the speaker is revealed as the Batman Who Laughs.
This is part one of a four part story, and, as such, it is very difficult to review as a stand-alone issue, because it most emphatically is not one. The true judge of this issue’s worth will come when it is considered as part of the larger whole, that is, the entire storyline. That being said, this is a great start for this storyline. The sense of how desperate the situation is for the Justice League is completely evident here. It is clear that not everyone is confident in the plan they are enacting, but it is the only plan they have, so they are all going along with it. As the story goes on and the “Evil” Batmen make their move, you can almost feel the threat level rising. I am very happy that the current writer of Flash, Joshua Williamson, was allowed to pen this tie-in issue. He has a great handle on what makes the character tick and it is a great show of confidence in him that he was allowed to be a part of this massive event. And, he does a great job of showing why he deserves that confidence in this very busy issue. My only issue is that with so many moving parts, sometimes you lose sight of where the focus is supposed to be.
The art for this issue is gorgeous, with Hi-Fi’s colors perfectly enhancing the stunning art of Howard Porter. Again, I feel keeping the regular art team on the book for this tie-in issue was absolutely the right choice. Porter’s art is so dynamic and his figures are amazing, and Hi-Fi’s color is so vivid that the finished art seems to leap off the page in some instances.
IN THE END: The first part of this storyline has me anxious for the second, and that’s exactly how it should be.