This is the second prequel to DC’s Metal event. It picks up right where the Forge left off, focusing on the same characters with cameos from several other prominent Justice League and Batman characters.
The cover was done, like The Forge, by Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair. It carries a stronger feel of action, and doesn’t carry as much foreboding as The Forge. Hal Jordan, Batman, and the Joker all feature prominently. The metallic cast to it also throws back to the 90’s, when major issues all seemed to have covers like that. I like the thicker stock, and think it just looks cool. If the covers for Metal look like this they’re going to be beautiful.
Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, and John Romita Jr do the pencils on this issue as well. Again, even with three artists with different styles, to a casual observer, it would appear that one artist did the whole thing. Again, it looks good, with lots of dark colours that hint to the darkness that is coming with this upcoming threat. It builds throughout, and leads to a vague and imposing image of the villains coming in Metal.
The story picks up where The Forge left off. We have three narrative threads, two of which come together in the end. First, Carter Hall continues to narrate, slowly telling us the tale of everything he has learned of the Nth metal, showing that where it surfaces, tragedy and death follow. Second, Batman continues his search for answers, seeking the key to this dark dimension that the Nth metal comes from, so as to stop the threat once and for all. With appearances from Wonder Woman and Talia Al Ghul, this narrative is where the bulk of the cameos lay. Third, we have Duke, Hal Jordan, and the Joker. The Joker it seems knows far more about what is going on than anyone else, save Carter, and tries to warn Hal and Duke that Batman must be stopped for the sake of the world. The best part of this is, that no one takes the Joker seriously, I mean, why would they? By the end of the issue, he may well have been proven to be right. While Carter’s narrative ties loosely in, with his journal seemingly being left with a rich, prominent family(Wayne maybe?), it does fill in a lot of the historical gaps as to where the Nth metal has touched on history. While the Batman and Batcave narratives ultimately culminate in Batman knowing far less at the end than he may have at the beginning. Again, a strong issue, and if the prelude issues are any indication, Metal looks like it’s going to be an event that looks, and reads well.