Dark Days: The Road to Metal by Scott Snyder

darkdaystheroadtometal_coverTitle: Dark Days: The Road to Metal
Stand-Alone: Yes
Writer(s): Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Illustrator(s): Jim Lee, Andy Kubert & John Romita Jr.
Publisher: DC Comics
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 22nd 2018
Pages: 256
Genre(s): Comics, Science Fiction
ISBN13: 9781401278199
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

One thing I love about DC is how they don’t restrain themselves from expanding their universe in ways that you would never have conceived yourself. Their multiverse alone is brilliant, and this event is going to do something even better. Dark Days: The Road to Metal is a prelude to the latest cosmic event and it is an absolute tease for long-time comic book readers, and even more for the Batman fan base. This volume collects the two prelude chapters (The Forge and The Casting) and tosses in extra issues of important story arcs from past stories within the DC universe to help fans comprehend the references in this Metal event. The focus of this volume should however be limited to the two main stories that sets things up for Dark Nights: Metal.

In the form of a prologue, this two-issue story invites us to explore a world where dreams and nightmares become one. It all begins with a mystery surrounding a rare metal stained in a toxic scent of despair and chaos that even Batman fears to unravel. Having proceeded with caution, the Dark Knight has been investigating the source of this enigma with complete secrecy to this day. Time has come for him to spill the beans and go to great lengths to get the finals pieces of the puzzle. With the threat becoming imminent, Green Lantern and Duke Thomas also find themselves in front of some the biggest revelations of their lives. What they didn’t know is that they are about to explore a flood of pain and misery that will consume the world.

darkdaysroadtometalquote1

Besides both Dark Days: The Forge and Dark Days: The Casting, the volume also spoils fans with the key issues of some of DC’s biggest moments in their canon storyline, including the last issues of Final Crisis, the first issue of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, two key issues of Batman: Endgame as well as one issue of both Nightwing‘s and Detective Comics‘ Rebirth runs. Regarding the inclusion of these pieces of the puzzle, I believe there is three ways to appreciate them:

  1. You’re a longtime comic book reader who recognized all the references in The Forge and The Casting and see these other stories as a reminder of past events;
  2. You’re a new comic book reader who only caught some or none of the references and see these extra spoiler issues as a guide to what you should check out before jumping into the main event to come;
  3. You’re a longtime comic book reader or a newcomer who only caught some or none of the references and see the rest of the volume as a complete mess that gives no fluidity to the reader and ruins any possibility of enjoyment regarding what’s collected here.

Personally, it would’ve have been much better if readers had the whole story arc of each reference collected in a volume; but that would have made this collection too big and too expensive. Some of the included stories are definitely harder to understand without contextualization, and some don’t directly explain this prelude (Nightwing’s issue actually explains his facial scar that he carries throughout this event, but he doesn’t actually appear in this prelude, making it a bit confusing for readers), but they’re all great to explore. As a fan of reference-heavy stories, I found it refreshing to see how Scott Snyder tied everything together in order to create this new cosmic event. The conspiracy theory plotline caters a lot to hardcore fans, but newcomers can definitely find a lot to enjoy, given that they are patient and curious enough. The eeriness of this prologue, even if it’s incredibly short, is still what I loved the most about it all. Having something rooted deep in DC’s history and presenting us with something so complex even to the world’s greatest detective is what makes this so compelling to my eyes.

While Batman is at the core of this event, we still get Carter Hall, also known as Hawkman, narrating some important lore-building moments and teasing the epic scope of the chaos that looms in the background. The way this prelude story adds gravitas to the mystery that fascinates and frightens Batman is nothing short of staggering to me, and I think that is where the appeal to the event comes from for me. It is also worth mentioning that the artwork is wonderful, especially when it’s Jim Lee and Andy Kubert doing it. I wasn’t however a fan of John Romita Jr.’s artwork though (easily distinguishable from the others with his odd character designs; especially fan designs), but they all work towards assuring the bombastic and impressive overtone of this event.

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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21 comments

  • I have said it before, I was always a Marvel fan first, DC fan second..so I have missed out on a lot of (admittedly) great comics. This one does sound like a treat though, especially for people who have been following along with Dc for a lot of years. But it’s also nice to know that even if you missed out on a few things you can still enjoy this as well. As always I really enjoyed reading this post, and it’s nice to know your blog is still going in full force 😊😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Totally understandable, Michel. It’s not easy to be a fan of both and to follow everything in both universes too. I personally (and obviously) follow DC first and occasionally dip my toe in some Marvel stuff, but I tell myself that later in life I’ll give much more focus on the Marvel stuff to catch up on all the classic stuff. This new DC event is definitely one that is very satisfying for fans of DC who have checked out a lot of Batman’s classic stuff and some of the past DC events too. Newcomers might find this too insane to even appreciate it, and that’s understandable. I can tell you right now that this event would have people in awe for a good 24 hours if it were ever made into a live-action movie. It’s way too intense and insane to please any casual fan. Thanks for reading, my man. I appreciate it! 😀 It’s great to hear from you again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah…I am definitely getting more appreciative of the DC universe that is a thing that’s for sure. It will be a long while though before I have truly gotten into it, because of my longer appreciation of Marvel comics. But that’s okay: it only means that I have a lot to look forward to 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • Yeah, sounds like way too much to try to catch up on. The more I see of the comics of today, the more I understand why the big ones try to reboot every 5 years or so. Otherwise new fans are alienated and don’t really feel like jumping in.
    Especially the fans with money (as opposed to the kids who can handle jumping in blind but don’t have the money).

    Sigh….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. Same goes for movies, even though some of the classic movies really don’t need reboots for a good couple of years/decades. The market sees reboots also as an opportunity to make more money by trying to introduce things to a newcomers. It’s the “good” reboots that gives us hope though.

      This event is definitely not easy for newcomers, but can still probably be enjoyed by them, especially if they’re interested enough to go looking into the past DC events or some of the classic Batman stories referenced here.

      Liked by 1 person

  • I think this is way over my head at this point as someone who is completely out of touch with the DC scene haha. But I enjoyed your review. I do admit though that I liked the artwork you highlighted in the slide. I am surprised you were not a fan 🙂 Great review Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahah this really would have been quite the ride if you had decided to start your DC experience with this huge DC event! 😛 Oh no, I do love the artwork, and most of the ones I showcased are from the story arcs they added at the end to help people understand some of the references in the two issue story at the beggining. And in the two issue story, it’s just the artwork by John Romita Jr. that turned me off a little bit. His style is not the most compelling thing out there. Otherwise, the art is pretty good! 😉 Thank you, Danielle!

      Like

  • I second Raistlin – I too am a Marvel fan first, but from the DC universe the part I really enjoy is Batman’s part 🙂 This one does sound like a treat, whether you have an awareness of what happened before or not 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • As long as we both agree that Batman is awesome, I’m good. 😀 I’m just glad that this DC event was not only well-executed, it is also Batman-centric! The previous DC event was sort of controversially bad (Convergence).

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great review for this Lashaan, and I think it’s interesting how even though there’s variety of different issues in this one book there are different ways you can read it. I suppose it’s nice to know that even as a newcomer I could pick up this book and not be lost in a sea of references that come from other graphic novels/volumes.
    Again great review. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Beth! Exactly. I think a guide on what to do read would have been way more beneficial that those issues included after the main prequel story (2 issues) though. But anyone who gets curious enough from what is shown in this collection will surely find it in themselves to hunt down the full story of all the references to appreciate this latest huge DC event even more! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • This sounds pretty complex- which is awesome for long time readers! I think it’s really cool that this was so reference-heavy, though I’ll admit, I’d really struggle without the contextualisation. But I’m happy that it worked for you! 😀 Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Complex is right, and I love it for that. The references makes this even more fun too (if I didn’t know what they referred to, I know I would have been curious enough to go find those stories and try to understand even more what’s going on). Reference-heavy stories just makes me want to go on my own little mystery-adventure to try and find answers hahah Thank you so much! 😀

      Like

  • Awesome review sir (but I’d never expect anything less from you my friend)! I read both the Forge (which I reviewed as you’ll probably recall) and the Casting individually and found them enjoyable…less so the actual ‘Metal’ event (I’ll pick up on that when I’ve read your review).

    Like yourself I love it when comics are referential to all that has come before, I have to admit there are holes in my DC knowledge and it’s hard to keep track given all the ‘Crisis’ events but I think these preludes are giving enough to be enjoyed without necessarily knowing it all.

    I read the Return of Bruce Wayne when it came out (it was imaginative but a bit too ‘bonkers’ for me) and have a digital copy of Final Crisis which I keep meaning to dive into so negates any need for me to get this volume – impressed and a little jealous that your receiving copies from Penguin for review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks man. Yep, I do remember. Back then, I had the issue but also wanted to wait till I had every other Metal-related issue before blitzing through the event (which I did and then reread the collected editions). Really am blessed by the Gods at Penguin for being able to get these for review. A comic book geek’s dream come true, that’s for sure!

      True, true! I personally love finding references to things I didn’t know or read about just so I could go visit those story arcs and expand my knowledge of DC material. One thing’s for sure, I still have PLENTY to read and even more to re-read!

      Totally understand about The Return of Bruce Wayne. But I think we both know that when it comes to Grant Morrison, we are to expect some of the wildest things possible. His Batman run was pretty insane (and will probably NEVER get adapted on the big screen too hahah). I read Final Crisis too, and I can assure you that it has some really insane, sometimes pretty choppy, and other times incomprehensible things going on. It still contains a very important Batman moment nonetheless, even if we all know what happens during and after Final Crisis.

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    • This volume alone can easily be binged in a day or savoured over the course of 7 days. As for catching up to all the key material referenced in it and not feeling lost at all to all the craziness that goes on? That would certainly take a month of two, depending on how much of a priority it is (if it’s the only thing you want to accomplish) and how easily you can get access to all the other story arcs. Some of the referenced stories are huge DC events themselves, and some are part of a series and would be better appreciated if you read from volume 1 and then get to the volume in question. One thing’s for sure: You’ll never be short of material to real. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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