“Listen close, now. This is a story of a world’s end, and a world transformed. Witness the rise of a Dark Knight.”

Enter a world where the familiar characters and events are similar yet unfamiliar. Enter a reality where Batman descends into madness and takes away The Flash’s abilities. Utilizing the Speed Force, Batman enforces death on all as The Red Death!

A one-shot tie-in to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Dark Nights Metal event takes a peek at one of the evil Batman of the multiverse. In this case, Red Death. Who better to write this one shot than the current Flash scribe Joshua Williamson and illustrator Carmine Di Giandomenico?

Obviously, when this was announced a few months ago, fans were nuts about the concept and awaited for Metal to start as soon as the summer came around. Seeing all of the various evil Batmen that stemmed from the Dark Multiverse was an interesting concept that could easily be it’s own Elseworlds tale (had it not been a tie into an event).

With that said this was an insanely fun issue.

The story takes place on Earth – 52 (as in Earth Negative 52), where the world is being taken apart by some kind of powerful destructive force. Amongst the destruction, The Flash does his best to resolve the situation but is understood by a mortal enemy otherwise known as Batman. In the mainline continuity of the pre 52/New 52/Rebirth continuity (or any iteration of the main universe) Batman and The Flash are usually allies, but this issue takes a more darker, crooked look at a universe. It’s fittingly grim as Well provides a story where  Batman’s obsession in his fight to stop crime has come to a point where he has lost loved ones, and his methods are not enough. So in order to change all of that, Batman attempts to take down the flash and take his Speed Force believing he could save Gotham and the world with it. Where his actions lead him, ends up blessing into the main earth (Earth 0) where Earth’s heroes are currently seeking to find Batman. The Flash of the main earth (basically our earth) comes across Red Death, and things go to hell from there.

This was a very solid and entertaining issue where Joshua Williamson makes the most of this one shot. He weaves in different elements of Batman lore and pays homage to classic Frank Miller DKR and Moore/Boland’s The Killing Joke in regards to imagery and narrative. There are nice parallels between this issue and The Button storyline that Williamson and Batman scribe Tom King wrote a few months back. The plot, motivations, and methods of this iteration of Batman are all reasonable and makes it fun to see a Batman that has lost his moral code to achieve his goal of saving the world. There have been Elseworlds stories like Red Rain that have taken a look at Batman as a hero turned villain, but this book attempts to try a different angle that hasn’t really been done before in regards to Batman that makes it fun and exciting to read.

Giandomenico’s artwork is splendid and fantastic in this issue. Anytime he’s drawing the flash, or a Speedster, it’s always gold. But to see his iteration of Red Death zooming on the scene murdering Villains in his wake is a striking and powerful visual that will fondly appeal to fans of this take, story, and event. Plascencia’s color work on this issue is superb and manages to bring out a more deathly tone to Red Death (pun intended).

This a great, fun one and done one shot that makes me look forward to the next issue as well as the rest of the DC Dark Nights Metal event. I’m very interested in the direction this series will take and what will become.of these twisted versions of our beloved Caped Crusader, hero of the night: Batman.

Definitely, pick this book up and add it to your pull list. It’s solid.

By Anthony Andujar Jr.

Anthony Andujar Jr. is an NYC cartoonist and lover of comics and music. So much so that it led him to writing comic book reviews in between it all.