This is the prologue to DC's big summer event called Dark Nights: METAL! And in this issue we get to understand what that title refers to. The metal in question is Nth Metal! Most commonly associated with the Hawk-people, one of which narrates parts of the story!
This issue poses a lot of questions and spends a lot of time and effort building up to some crazy answers! However, I need to rewind. Don't want to get ahead of myself. After all, it seems like a lot of information and plot was crammed into this issue! Most of it seems like it won't be paid off for a while either! So patience may well be the key- but thankfully we have a lot of excitement to keep us entertained in the meantime. The opening is great! It's always fun to see a Batman mech suit. Which we get here! Unfortunately, due to it's fate, we are unlikely to see it again.
Batman has always been mysterious but this seems different. Rather than wishing to be secretive about this particular mystery it seems like he HAS to be. Even Duke, his current partner, isn't aware of what's going on in the depths of the Batcave. It also seems to be a huge deal! So much so, that Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) has been sent on a secret mission to investigate the deep, dark depths of the cave.
Meanwhile, Batman has returned to one of his own secrets. He has hidden something in Superman's Fortress of Solitude (with permission of course). In classic Superman fashion, he agreed not to peek, and we all know how easy it would be for him! This also serves as a reminder that New 52 Supes and Pre-52 Supes are now one and the same. It is mentioned that Bats put this mysterious thing here a couple of years back, which means that he told New 52 Superman. However this Superman is also aware of it thanks to their merging (it's complex comic book mumbo jumbo, don't worry about it!)
This series will involve the whole of the Justice League but it is clear that Batman is the focus of the story. He's definitely at the center of the mystery! He knows a lot more than everyone else at this stage but it is only a matter of time before he starts to spill the beans... Like about that super secret team of heroes and vigilantes that he's been keeping from both the Justice League and the Bat family! For long term Bat fans, you may be familiar with the OUTSIDERS! Which in this interpretation features Mr Terrific!
Now for my one, very minor complaint! Due to the differing artists (the issue features Andy Kubert, Jim Lee and John Romita Jr.) the tone and style can be slightly inconsistent. However, considering the talent involved it all still looks great!
This event truly is one to watch. We've been given little hints and snippets of what's to come in the series- and it looks incredibly exciting!
I'm giving the issue an A! Lots of mysteries and lots of fun cliff hangers, mixed with a super star creative team, means that this event is off to an incredible start!
I'm giving the art in this issue a B+, although I think each artist is great on their own terms and probably A-worthy, it creates quite a mash of Styles which brings it down slightly.