Dark Nights Death Metal: Legends of the Darkest Knights #1 Review

by Wes Greer on August 04, 2020

  With a series as big as Dark Nights Death Metal, you need a few tie-ins and one shots to help fill in the gaps as well as give you back stories to help the story along and keep the reader informed of the overall picture. Today we get the first tie-in issue to Death Metal and this one is not only special  because it sold out before even hitting store shelves but it has some of the origin stories of the evil Batmen we’ve come to love as well as the origin of the Robin King who fans have all been drawn to. This issue contains several different stories by different creators, so I am going to review my favorite ones and what I think of the issue overall.

Story one, The Darkest Knight in I am Here.
Writers – Scott Snyder, James Tynion, Josh Williamson
Art – Tony S. Daniel
Colors – Marcello Maiolo
Letters – Tom Napolitano

This story starts by taking us back to the events of Death Metal #2 where The Batman Who Laughs brain was transplanted into a mysterious blue version of one of the evil Bruce Wayne’s who has since been named the Bathattan. The story explores the thought process of the Batman Who Laughs as he is awaken and then takes us back and goes over the origin of his character as well as fills in some of the gaps such as who the blue Bruce was. With three writes on this story I expected some bouncing around but all were able to create a very fluent story that is not only intriguing with the origin parts but also deep and kind of terrifying as we learn a bit more of the characters psyche. The story is from who we now know as The Darkest Knight and the writers used this to not only make readers understand more about the character but his thought process and how mad he has really become which is something we haven’t really seen before with this character. We also learn more about his new powers and plans and the writing team did a brilliant job of executing this story so we now understand just how potentially devastating this character can become.
The art of this story is my favorite of the issue. Tony S Daniels who has done work recently in Batman, brings his character designs over to this story but cranks up the detail to 11. We get to see his iconic batman style as well as his take on some of the eviller versions of Batman and the result is just gorgeous. This story also has very few panels and for the most part is full splash pages which Daniel’s does not slack on any part of the pages, giving them full detail and giving us some true wow moments. The colors all bring everything to life visually and just amplify the original art with bright and vivid colors and deep and rich highlights and detail work. Overall, this story checks every box a reader looks for in a comic and with a large creative team that was able to keep the entire story fluid and one you won’t soon forget.

The next story is, The Robin King in King of Pain
Writer – Peter J Tomasi
Art – Riley Rossmo
Colors – Ivan Plascencia
Letters – Rob Leigh

This story is the reason you probably either did not find this issue or ended up paying a bit more than cover for it. At the end of Death Metal #2 we were introduced to not only the Darkest Knight, but we also met the Robin King. The Darkest Knight asked this Robin what his story was, and he whispered it into his ear but it was not made clear to readers what was said. Enter Peter J Tomasi. The current Detective Comics writer leads the script solo but delivers one of the most horrifying Batman tales I think we have ever gotten. This story is really hard to review without spoiling anything but Tomasi takes us back to the Robin King’s origin where we find out what exactly it was that he whispered into Darkest Knights ear that intrigued him so much and I think he may win the prize for the most evil of the current characters. Tomasi does an excellent job with the story telling and brings the origin full circle to current events with the small amount of pages he got and does an incredible job leaving the reader hooked and wanting more and more while keeping us terrified at the same time.

The art of this issue is also incredibly unique. Riley Rossmo uses an almost child like animation approach which sometimes does not work out well in comics but with this story it makes it feel all that much more horrific. The character designs are more smiling cartoon and innocent in appearance but serious and bone chilling at the same time with extraordinary detail in every panel. The colors also mimic the cartoonish style but also add a deep dark and rich atmosphere to sell the overall emotions of this story. If you thought you had seen the grimmest stories from DC, hold on because this one is going to take you by surprise in the most exciting way.

The third story is, B. Rex in Batmanasaurus Rex
Writer – Marguerite Bennett
Art – Jamal Igle
Colors – Chris Sotomayer
Letters – Dave Sharpe

Ok, to be honest I was really looking forward to learning what the origin of B. Rex was going to be and this one really let me down. I know it was only a two page story and they had to pull Bennett in at the last second to write it to replace the original that was removed, but I really feel it fails as not only an origin story but a story in general. It does have its purpose overall, shedding a little light onto the dino but I really wish we would have gotten more from it.
The art of this story on the other hand is the best part. For a story that is only two pages long, Igle does a great job with one of the more odd characters and his design as well as the couple of other characters involved in this story. The details in the panels are gorgeous and everything has a sharp and clean look to them. The colors are also done very well making the clean art pop and this story is a bit darker than the rest but Sharpe does a great job with highlighting and breaking up the darks to look more real and not taking away from the artwork itself. Although this story is a miss in my opinion, I still recommend you read it for the little it does provide and to take in the beautiful job done by the art team.

The last three stories go over the characters of Castle Bat, Batmo Beast, and Baby Batman who is easily one of my favorites. The last three stories offer up some excellent story telling as well as great art and they all offer readers plenty of enjoyment and insight into the characters of the death Metal universe. After reading all the stories in this issue, I really do feel I have a better understanding of these characters and a few of the questions I had about them have been answered. Death Metal has truly been an exciting and fun series to get into so far and with only two issues out, I know we can expect so much more and with Snyder at the helm, I know we haven’t seen anything yet! If you went out on a hunt for this issue and could not find it, DC has sent it back for a second printing which you can preorder now. You can also check this issue out by purchasing it via digital download from your preferred digital retailer. Please be sure to let me know what you guys thought of this issue and what your favorite story was by leaving a comment below!

-Wes Greer

Our Score:


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