Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal Speed Metal

A race to the end of the world. 

Written by Joshua Williamson, Pencils by Eddy Barrows, Inks by Eber Ferreira & Coloured by Adriano Lucas.
DC comics has been treating the character of Wally West, the third Flash, extremely poorly over the last couple of years. From pretending he didn't exist during the New 52 reboot, finally bringing him back during Rebirth only to essentially character assassinate him during Heroes in Crisis. Judging from the solicitation of Future State, DC next big event, this treatment isn't going to stop anytime soon but I digress. Not everybody at DC treats the 2nd most popular Flash, one of the only characters who successfully took over the mantle of his predecessor, this poorly. Williamson, for example, uses his final issue on the Flash to try and set things right with him.

Is he successful at this attempt? For the most part, yes. Let's dive in.


The premise of the issue isn't all that difficult to understand. The Batman Who Laughs (AKA the Batman Who Tries Too Hard) has stolen the Mobius Chair(a floating chair that grants an unmeasurable amount of knowledge and power to those who sit on it) from Wally. After sitting on it, the chair rejected him and teleported itself away. The Batman Who Laughs is now pursuing Wally and his mentors, Jay Garrick and Barry Allen , to prevent them from reaching the Mobius Chair. Along the way, Wally ponders everything that has happened to him since Rebirth while tension between him and Barry is once again growing.

Dark Knight: Death Metal Speed Metal is an issue that everybody can pick up and enjoy but only a (true) Flash fan can really appreciate. There are a lot of both big and small nods to the Flash's history incorporated in the issue. The speed formula of the rather obscure character of Johnny Quick makes an appearance for an example. The ending itself, which I won't spoil here, also works best if you're a longtime Flash fan. For those of you who might not be as familiar with the Flash's long history, don't fret. There are also plot-beats here that recent Flash fans can latch on to. The conflict between Barry and Wally that started a few years or so ago is finally resolved and Kid Flash also clearly serves as a connection to the most recent Flash comics.

Add all of this, and all the stuff that I won't spoil for you, up and you have an issue that does a lot to bring back the Wally of old. Not everything is set right, but enough so that it does really feel like the character can move on from this dark chapter in his story.

So. With the crux of the issue out of the way, how does the rest hold up? Pretty good actually. The writing is pretty on point. Williamson manages to cover a lot of ground in only a short amount of time without making the reader feel lost. Considering this issue IS a tie-in to a much larger, more chaotic from the looks of it, event this is something I want to take the time to commend him for. What Williamson also manages to convey well are, and I believe this is the scientific term, "the feels". I could really feel the tension between Wally and Barry building again and the ending stirred my emotions up as well. Good stuff, good stuff.

The art isn't too shabby either. It's very reminiscent of the work from Giandomenico, Williamson's usual artist on his Flash-run. It's just less angular, a bit more realistic and more muted in the colour palette. I'm not a big fan of some of the book's visuals. There are some cool things in here like a page were the border is replaced by lightning but then there are also things like the redesigned costumes. Many characters have gotten this type of 'Metal' redesign. I don't like it, but it's part of the events 'style' so it was unavoidable I guess.

I might not like the costumes that they are wearing, but that do like seeing all four of them lined-up like this.

Conclusion

Dark Nights: Death Metal Speed Metal is a good issue, with good writing and good art. As a tie-in to the Dark Nights: Death Metal event it's not all that great, there really isn't much of that here, but as a way to breath some new life into Wally West it is. It does a good job of setting a lot of things right when it comes to the character and resolving plot-points like the aforementioned tension between him and Barry.

It's not perfect, not everything gets set right and there are no guarantees that DC won't go back to treating him poorly again but it's still a must-read for any Wally West fan and a good read for anybody else.

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