- Writer: James Tynion IV
- Artist: Riley Rossmo
- Colours by: Ivan Plascencia
- Letterer: Tom Napolitano
- Cover by: Jason Fabok & Brad Anderson
- Assistant Editor: Dave Wielgosz
- Associate Editor: Rebecca Taylor
- Editor: Eddie Berganza
When I first heard about ‘Dark Knights: Metal’, I knew that I would instantly be a fan, just by looking at the cool character designs, and how dark the story seemed to be. However, I did not and was not able to pick it up when it first came out, so I have only recently picked this series up with the first volume being in my collection now, and having read the issue I’m reviewing today, whilst it was free to read during the second DCFanDome of 2020 (September).
I was super happy to see this issue in the list of comics that were available to read for free for 24 hours during the event, because I had recently started the collected edition volume 1, but wanted to know more about where the characters began.
The reader is greeted by a grim looking figure who seems almost familiar, especially with that devilish psychotic grin, but this character isn’t Joker, at least not fully. Dealing out a deck of Tarot cards with the images of our heroes on them whilst narrating about how, as the reader, we think we have everything figured out already, about how the story will carry out like any other story we have read, but apparently we don’t know a thing.
Earth 22, Gotham is once again under attack from the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker, so of course there is only one man who can stop him, but this time it’s not so easy for Batman to do so.
Joker has him all tied up, forced to watch as his beloved city is blown to smithereens, before one by one, Joker exterminates Gotham’s citizens. Joker tells Batman that they’re running out of time, and if there is to be any future for them both, they must evolve before it’s too late. With Jim Gordon gone, there is no more “by the book”. We’ve seen Joker press Batman like this, trying to get him to finally cross that line, but something about this time is different.
Some time later, and the Bat-Family is being trained, pushed harder than they ever have before. Eventually, they figure it all out, and realise something is wrong, something is really wrong, and they need to be prepared for it. Events unfold drastically and soon we are given our first glimpse of the earliest stages of ‘The Batman Who Laughs’, as he destroys everything and everyone Batman loves and cares for, even having the power to take down Superman. It’s a gruesome story full of tragedy, and laughter.
This story is dark and twisted in all the best ways. Sure, by some point you can easily say that the writers for DC Comics have gone too far and made Batman, a perfectly normal yet dysfunctional human being, over powered, but with a story such as this it kind of makes sense.
We know Batman can take down any of the Justice League members because as simple and cliche as it is to say, he’s Batman, but imagine if Batman’s intelligence and power was merged with Jokers twisted insanity and zero sense of morality. You’ve got a monster on your hands, and that’s what this book explores.