Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Carmine Di Giamdomenico
Colors by: Ivan Plascencia
Letters by: Tom Napolitano
In the Dark Multiverse, some worlds are just meant to die. But that doesn’t stop Earth 52’s Batman from doing everything in his power, or the Flash’s power, to save his world.
Batman: The Red Death is the first evil Batmen tie-in to Dark Nights: Metal. It was a really twisted Elseworld story that has Bruce Wayne trying to save Gotham City by any means necessary. Turning Superman evil is all the rage now, but nothing beats a cold and calculated Dark Knight. This issue featured wonderful art that showcased some really messed up cameos. This unholy fusion really kicks off these Metal tie-ins with a bang.
As proven by the classic Justice League story, Tower of Babel, Batsy can be quite the handful for his League counterparts. He has the intelligence and means to take them down, so when given the motivation it’s very entertaining. This Bruce is so broken and hopeless, that he’s desperate enough to want to tap into the speed force, even using the Rogue’s weapons against the Flash. The actual fusion between the two characters was so sci-fi, I couldn’t stop smiling. It seemed exactly like something Batman would be willing to do. Bruce’s first actions of the Red Death felt almost cathartic, even though you know it’s so wrong.
I haven’t been keeping up much with The Flash since Rebirth but I’m familiar with artist Carmine Di Giamdomenico. I have to say, this was my favorite comic book issue by him I’ve ever read. How he portrayed the Dark Multiverse rotting and fracturing was wonderful. Every time the multiple Earths showed up, the panels looked amazing. The Red Death taking out villains looked great too. It really felt like a marriage of Flash and Batman aesthetics, with all the dark colors being used with this specific art style that the scarlet speedster’s readers have come accustomed to.
It was a fantastic issue, but there were a few problems. One of them being that Bruce’s monologue to Barry felt more cruel than broken. Mostly because Batman was so talkative that he sounded like he was driven mad with power. I preferred the Batman and Robin Frankenstein issue’s take on a desperate caped crusader. In it Bruce is calm and collected, but creepy as hell. His son Damian had died so he searches for a way to bring him back to life. Even if it meant dissecting Frankenstein without his permission. I can buy into a Batman who is driven to any means necessary, but I always see a lost and broken Bruce as quiet, aware, and somewhat remorseful of the wrong he must do. The Batman at the start of this issue felt straight up villainous.
The other problem is a good thing. I wanted to stay in this Elseworld a little longer because it was so interesting. There’s so much they’ve could have done with the Red Death. Having him divulge into every one of Batman’s impulses, using Flash as his conscience crying out in pain to stop. But it made sense so bring him along, and now I’m excited to see him interact with heroes and villains of this world. This issue also setup Doctor Fate and the Batman Who Laughs presence in Dark Nights: Metal well. Just a little tease of the madness that is sure to follow.