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Dark Nights: Death Metal is a summer 2020 crossover event for DC Comics written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo. Perpetua and The Batman Who Laughs have taken over the multiverse, ruling over everything with an iron fist. Now, the Trinity must reunite and overthrow her and her army of corrupted horrors.

The series is a sequel to Dark Nights: Metal and follows the events of Justice League (2018) and DC Year of the Villain, as well as incorporating the ramifications of Doomsday Clock, showing that Dr. Manhattan's essence has bonded to the fabric of the DC Multiverse, and thus is exploited by the Dark Knights.

When the event ended, it was followed by DC Future State, which showed a vision of a possible future created after the event. The DC Infinite Frontier initiative followed the event proper, with a full-scale relaunch of DC's titles.

The event also received an official Motion Comic on DC's YouTube channel called "Sonic Metalverse", with their own (Death Metal) soundtrack and the voices of David Hasselhoff as Superman, Andy Biersack as Batman and Chelsea Wolfe as Wonder Woman. The production is directed by Tyler Bates (composer of 300, Guardians of the Galaxy, Slither, and Primal) himself.

The series has the following Tropes:

  • Allegory: Whilst Leaning on the Fourth Wall heavily with regards to its own narrative is pretty much a feature of DC Crisis-like storylines, this story goes overboard with the literal manifestations of meta-narrative concepts.
    • The entire battle for the future of the multiverse is eventually framed as a conflict between 'Crisis Energy' and 'Anti-Crisis Energy'. Crisis energy is the urge to live in the moment, to make single, pivotal decisions that will impact everything irrevocably. Anti-Crisis energy represents the generational, historical and moral ties that bind beings to each other and themselves. That these are literal manifestations of the conflicting urges that comic book writers have when tasked with revitalising a property (Do we throw everything away in favour of a new, bold direction or appeal to the rich history and build on themes from a time when the property was more beloved?) isn't hard to see.
    • Perpetua herself is a representation of the authors who were responsible, with her aim being to create 'A multiverse with no memory, that would live forever in a self-renewing loop of its own importance'. Her species, the Hands, an allegory for both the executives of comic publishers and the readers themselves, who were dissatisfied with her endless crises, imprisoned her in the Source Wall, remade everything and allowed the universe to continue without interference. Perpetua's greatest fear is that her own kind will eventually erase everything for good, and so she causes the great Crises of the DC universe and is responsible for many of the shifts that changed it irrevocably and resulted in characters, settings and established histories being substantially changed. She believes that whilst her endless escalation of the multiversal conflicts and crises may be bad for the multiverse's inhabitants, she ultimately sees it as necessary to stave off their ultimate extinction. Again, easy to see as an allegory for the American comic book industry as a whole, trying desperately to constantly reinvent itself for new audiences whilst retaining the iconic characters and histories that older fans and the wider media recognise.
  • All for Nothing: In issue #4, Diana is able to persuade Superboy-Prime to take a chance on them saving the multiverse and channel the Crisis Energy into the Mobius Chair, but it turns out the Darkest Knight had already prepared for this and had modified the Mobius Chair enough to funnel that power to him, allowing him to create his "Last 52" multiverse.
  • Alliance of Alternates: The event begins with Perpetua having taken over the Earth using an army of evil Batmen from the Dark Multiverse recruited by the Batman Who Laughs.
  • All-Powerful Bystander: The Chronicler is a being sent by The Source of the Omniverse to chronicle everything that happens within a Multiverse, but isn't supposed to intervene.
  • Arc Welding:
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: It is said that Wonder Woman does this as part of her sacrifice to restore reality.
  • Author Appeal:
    • As the DC Rebirth-era Flash writer, Joshua Williamson unsurprisingly has custodianship of the Flash-centric Speed Metal one-shot. Ironically, James Tynion was actually originally intended to write it before Williamson (who realized he could use it as a coda for his Flash run).
    • Geoff Johns likewise returns to co-write the Secret Origin one-shot and once more chronicle the (mis)adventures of his favorite Meta chew toy (i.e. Superboy-Prime).
  • Back from the Dead: The Chronicler resurrects Metron, who was killed by Doctor Manhattan at the end of Darkseid War, to get another perspective on the multiverse.
  • Back for the Finale: As Death Metal is the sequel of Dark Nights: Metal (and the climax of the overrearching Myth Arc it kicked off), Greg Capullo, inker Jonathan Glapion, and colorist FCO Plascencia all return on creative duties.
  • Badass Adorable: Captain Carrot reappears as a member of Justice Incarnate fighting to evacuate as many people as he can amidst Perpetua's onslaught. Despite his fluffy and cartoony appearance, he's still his universe's equivalent of Superman and kicks just as much ass as his more humanoid compatriots.
  • Badass Biker: To go with the whole Post-Apocalyptic world created by Perpetua and the Batman Who Laughs, Batman rides in a skeletal Bat-Cycle.
  • Bad with the Bone: In a radioactive wasteland, Harley encounters a hulked out mutant Captain Boomerang that has a rib cage growing upwards out of his back. He breaks off the ribs to use as boomerangs.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The Last 52: War of the Multiverses features the heroes and villains all fighting together against the Darkest Knight and his army.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Batman who Laughs and Perpetua.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Issue #5 Lex Luthor and the flying Hall of Doom arrive just in time to save the Justice League from Castle Bat.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Garth Ennis's Bat-Baby short story (consisting of a Batman who arranges for his mind to be transplanted into a new body after death, only to wind up in the body of a helpless infant and left lying on the ground crying), which is basically Ennis taking the piss out of the event's entire idea and conceit to deliver his signature irreverent humor based on his hatred of superheroes.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Instead of her signature pigtails, Harley Quinn has a buzz cut, and it's dyed red and black.
  • Came Back Strong: The Darkest Knight is the Batman Who Laughs, as while Laughs is technically dead, his brain is in a new, much more threatening body.
  • The Cameo:
    • Various evil (or at least morally ambiguous) versions of the Justice League from across DC Comics' history appear in panels and sidecomics. Multiverse's End has Justice Incarnate defeat Overman, the Nazi Superman of Earth-10, the Justice League of Vampires of Earth-43, and the Justice Lords of Earth-50.
    • The Last Stories of the Multiverse features a veritable army of Teen Titans members gathered, including ones who haven't reappeared since Flashpoint.
  • Canon Welding: The first issue uses the phrase "The Presence, of the Source", implying that DC's representation of the God of Judeo-Christian faith is the same entity as the Source the New Gods revere, thus tying the cosmology of the mainline DCU and that of Vertigo Comics, which are technically in the same universe, but are usually kept separate.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The notion of an energy released by the various Crises the multiverse has gone through was established as part of a villain's plot in The Flash a few months prior.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: In the Rise of the New Gods one-shot, Metron explains to the Chronicler that the DCU is built off of belief, with even the Source being shaped by the New Gods' belief. With an emissary from the greater Omniverse becoming a believer in this multiverse's stories, even if it dies, he has ensured its stories will live on forever in the Omniverse and possibly even make it real again.
  • Comic Book Death:
    • Discussed. In Multiverse's End, John Stewart reveals to Owlman that he's not the first incarnation of him, as several versions of him have been killed over the years in various crises in the past. This elates Owlman, shattering his nihilism because he now has a purpose: to be the original and perpetual Evil Counterpart of Batman. Owlman then proceeds to turn on Perpetua and the Rainbow Lantern Corp, detonating Earth-3 to destroy the latter, secure in his knowledge that he's too good of an idea to let die and will be reborn when the multiverse is saved.
    • In the same comic, Captain Carrot and the other members of Justice Incarnate mourn their worlds, hoping that their friends and loved ones who didn't escape will be revived when their realities are restored after the current crisis.
  • Continuity Nod: Among the many things the Batman Who Laughs sees in his glimpse of the Dark Multiverse is Murder Machine killing the New 52-era Teen Titans. Might also count as a Take That!, given the unpopularity of that run.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The first issue has Bruce create a bunch of zombies using a Black Lantern ring, who then have personalities. The Black Lantern rings don't work that way — the rings reanimate the body wearing them and they approximate a personality but don't legitimately bring back the dead person or give the wearer resurrection abilities. It's later revealed that Bruce is dead, but that has its own issue, namely that he is meant to be a resurrected Bruce and not an approximation of his personality, replacing one snarl with another.
    • Wally asks Jay if he remembers him, and Jay says he'll "never forget [Wally] again". While it's possible he was just bantering — even though it would be a weird thing to joke about given Wally's rough last couple of years — it doesn't seem that way. The thing is...Jay never forgot Wally. In Jay's first post-Rebirth appearance, when he showed up in "The Button", he brought Wally up to Barry almost immediately.
    • The Darkfather threatens Batman with the gun that Darkseid himself used to send him back in time back in Final Crisis. Except Darkseid never used that gun on Batman and it was his Omega Beams that sent him back. Scott Snyder has stated it was an error on his part and it will be fixed in the collection.
    • In Multiverse's End, Overman calls Guy Gardner a sub-human and is seen fighting alongside a Nazi Plastic Man. This is in deep contrast with Overmanís characterization in The Multiversity where he didnít agree to Nazi ideology and the 2018 Freedon Fighters series that had the Nazi Plastic Men eliminated.
    • Speed Metal had Wally and Barry express the statement that Wally was always in Barry's shadow, and that he had only just came to terms with his passing and surpassed him as the Flash right before Barry's return. While it's right about the other issues (Wally being sidelined by Barry's return), Wally came to terms with Barry's death and surpassed him back in 1992 in The Return of Barry Allen, five years after Barry's disappearance and seventeen years before Barry returned. Comic-Book Time aside, Wally spent more time being his own man, creating his own mark and legacy, than he did chasing Barry's legacy.
    • In Issue #4, Barry Allen is shown leading the three Flashes on their run from the Darkest Knight in both Sgt. Rock's narration and after they already retrieved the Mobius Chair, when Speed Metal established that Wally would be leading them from this point forward. Jay is also depicted as older and drained when in Speed Metal he was rejuvenated when the Flashes were corrupted and after exiting the Speedforce.
  • Cool Crown: Wonder Woman wears one instead of her regular tiara. The Batman Who Laughs has also added onto his visor, making it one.
  • Crapsack World: While the time it has lasted isn't clear, the world created by Perpetua and the Batman Who Laughs is a barren wasteland inhabited by corrupted versions of villains, constantly patrolled by different Batmen while Perpetua destroys the Multiverse one universe at a time.
  • Dance Party Ending: Like Metal, the story ends with the heroes having a party.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Last Stories of the DC Universe and The Last 52: War of the Multiverses focus on various DC characters before and during the final battle. Hell, even the Penguin gets a moment to shine.
  • Dead All Along: Bruce admits to Diana that he has been dead since their first battle against Perpetua and that's how he's been using a Black Lantern ring. Clark also admits that he doesn't think he can go back to normal after being exposed for so long to the Omega Energy by Darkfather.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Superboy-Prime sacrifices himself to damage the Darkest Knight so badly that his Dark Multiverse is destroyed. As thanks, he is resurrected back on his Earth-Prime as if it hadn't been lost to the Crisis, given his own Krypto and discovers his powers are still there, thus he has a new story to be told.
  • Decoy Protagonist: While Dark Multiverse Batmen are still the main threat, Batman isn't really the main focus of this sequel; Wonder Woman is.
  • Divine Conflict: This occurs between the Darkest Knight and Perpetua in Rise of the New God. The Darkest Knight wins, killing Perpetua.
  • Dope Slap: Jay Garrick to both Barry and Wally when they start arguing about their next course of action in Speed Metal.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • This is the way Speed Metal is portrayed. After coming back without his family in Rebirth and the traumatic events of Heroes in Crisis, Wally gets to hold his own as the Flash once more, save the Flash Family, reunite with Linda, Irey and Jai before being handed leadership of the Family by Barry.
    • This is how Secret Origin ends: Superboy-Prime delivers a vicious punch to the Darkest Night, sacrificing his dreams and his life to save the multiverse and causing the Dark Multiverse to die. However, he is revived back on Earth-Prime, Laurie alive and well, with his own dog and still powered with his world none-the-wiser to his old villainous descent.
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Openly defied at the end of the series. Due to the multiverse being rebuilt and time being untwined, two new powerful sources of energy has been created within planets. Martian Manhunter believes that one of them may be an Earth, which he calls "the Elseworld". As a result of this, Prime Earth is rechristened as "Earth-0".
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom:
    • This is the inevitable result when Perpetua's forces come knocking on the door of a universe. In Multiverse's End, Justice Incarnate isn't trying to save the world so much as save as many people as they can before the explosion.
    • But on Earth-3, the kaboom is triggered by none other than Owlman, who does it to wipe out the Rainbow Batman Corp, secure in his knowledge that he'll be revived as the perpetual Evil Counterpart of Batman while the other "stupid ideas" of the Dark Multiverse will cease to exist.
  • Enemy Mine: Issue #5 sees the Justice League team up with the Legion of Doom along with every remaining hero and villain against the onslaught of the Darkest Knight and his own multiverse.
  • Enfant Terrible: The Robin King is a young psychotic Bruce Wayne who is responsible for his own parents' murders.
  • Everybody Lives: According to Hawkgirl, not only did those who fought in the final battle be resurrected by the events of the Multiverse's rebirth, numerous other people have been noted to have been resurrected as well, though who exactly hasn't been revealed.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: During Speed Metal, the Batman Who Laughs unleashes a horde of evil alternate Flashes. Most of them seem to be undead.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When Kill-All, the Last Sun, battles Luthor, he notes that his armor is powered by a black hole engine and that one wrong hit would cause it to collapse on itself. He only realizes too late that that is exactly what Luthor plans on.
  • The Final Temptation: The Darkest Knight offers to restore the multiverse to an ideal state and destroy the Hands of Fate if Wonder Woman submits, informing her of the uncertain fate that were to lie ahead should she triumph. She refuses.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Wonder Woman meets with one of Perpetuaís kind, who takes up the form of Wonder Woman herself, in her Golden Age look.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale:
    • The Speed Metal one-shot ends up being one for Joshua Williamson's Flash run (or at the very least, a coda for the character arcs and plot threads that weren't resolved by his Finish Line finale, which was deliberately released the same week as Speed Metal).
    • The Secret Origin one-shot is one for Geoff Johns' Superboy-Prime, concluding his arc that had begun 15 years earlier during Infinite Crisis.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Last Stories of the Multiverse shows that, with the high possibility of death for everyone, heroes and villains are okay with hanging out with each other in the meantime, like Tim Drake playing cards with Magpie, Killer Croc and Despero. Mammoth, Gizmo and Shimmer are also seen hanging out with their usual foes the Titans.
  • Godhood Seeker: As shown in Legends of the Dark Knights in his story "I Am Here," this is the Darkest Knight's true goal. He wants to be not a reactionary idea like Batman, but the cause for others to change. He succeeds at becoming a god, but does not accomplish his goal of becoming the reaction.
    The Darkest Knight: Batman has always been a reactionary idea. He was born in response to those gunshots in the alley. And just as he is a reaction, so too are the twisted Batmen of the dark. Even the most dominant is still a reaction to some fear that has shaped him, built him into a newer, crueler incarnation, perfectly designed to overcome it. Now, understand this, I know that I am not a Batman of any kind. Not a Batman Who Laughs, not a Batmanhattan, not even a culmination of all dark Batmen. I am more. And to be more, I must not be a reaction. I must be the thing that creates the reaction. I will be the bullet. The multiverse will be the dark alley. And its worlds will fall like pearls before me.
  • Golden Super Mode: Wonder Woman shines gold when she finally channels the power of the Anti-Crisis Energy.
  • Grand Finale:
    • For the Perpetua/Dark Multiverse Myth Arc that Snyder began with Dark Nights: Metal and continued into his Justice League run.
    • On a Meta level, it's also the end of Snyder and Capullo's decade-long tenure at DC Comics. While Snyder would later co-write Infinite Frontier #0 (which serves as a coda for Death Metal), the old New 52 Batman creative team left DC after the event for creator-owned projects at Substack.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Secret Origin: Superboy-Prime decides to take on the Darkest Knight head on and ultimately sacrifices himself to give the heroes and villains a fighting chance. However, since they think Prime took off as a chicken, they have no idea who did it except for Krypto, who was there for Prime's sacrifice.
  • He's Back!: In Speed Metal, Wally West retakes his place as the central Flash, cemented by him briefly returning to his classic suit. He re-dons the Blue "Manhattan" suit when he re-absorbs Crisis Energy, but Barry is now following his lead and the rest of the Flash Family are right behind him.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: As a result of Perpetua's takeover of the multiverse and destruction of most of the worlds, the Speed Force has almost been "used up", which limits how fast the Flashes can go.
  • Horror Host: The Multiverse Who Laughs one-shot consists of an anthology of tales about the Dark Multiverse, which has the Robin King introduce the reader to the horrific stories in a prologue titled "Scary Stories to Tell in the Multiverse".
  • Horse of a Different Color: Harley Quinn rides a huge Hyena. Its name is George.
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • While The Batman Who Laughs had always skirted that line, as soon as he's revived using Bat-Manhattan's body, he can certainly be classified as one as he changes his name to the Darkest Knight.
    • It's implied, and later confirmed, that prime Bruce Wayne is actually Dead All Along and is just using a Black Lantern ring to stay in the fight. At first his use of a Black Lantern ring seems to be Continuity Snarl as it's not supposed to reanimate anyone but the wearer, but this proves to be foreshadowing, with other hints being dropped until Bruce finally admits to Diana he's already dead.
  • The Jailer: The Batman Who Laughs forces Wonder Woman to serve as the jailer for his super-villain prison built on the ashes of a destroyed Themyscira.
  • Joker Immunity: Lampshaded and borderline weaponized by Owlman who sacrifices himself to take out Baby Batman and the Rainbow Lanterns. He has no fear of death because he's completely confident that he'll always live as long as Batman exists and needs an evil mirror counterpart. His enemies, on the other hand, aren't classic characters. They're gimmicky side-villains who will be Killed Off for Real because they aren't popular or known enough for fans and writers to want or care about their resurrections. And he's right.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • When Wally West appears, he says if he could take back what he did — referring to Heroes in Crisis where he accidentally killed a bunch of people and then framed people for it, in what many readers found to have been extremely out of character — he would, and that he just wants to "be me" again. It feels very much like Scott Snyder is taking a jab at Heroes in Crisis and DC's treatment of Wally in general.note 
      • In Speed Metal, Wally's narration talks about how, after he was rescued from the Speed Force, he just wandered uncertainly, did things he would never do and when it seemed that he had an idea to fix things, something else stopped him. This is easily taking jabs at Wally's mistreatment since DC Universe Rebirth #1 and the abandoned "5G" plan.
      • Also in Speed Metal, Batman Who Laughs, when taunting Wally and the Flashes, asks "is it true a Flash has to die every Crisis?" which is almost a direct jab at Dan DiDio (who, according to Tom King, claimed this was the case to justify making Wally West the killer in Heroes in Crisis).
    • The Batman Who Laughs' speech when he first appears in the story, meeting up with the Justice League members and their respective Dark Knight handlers, can be read as a Take That, Audience! at readers who have gotten tired of the character but still read the story:
      Batman Who Laughs: Oh, I know, I know, "You again? We're so sick of you." Yet here you are...because deep down you love it, don't you? Being bad with me.
    • Wonder Woman lays out their plan to restart the DC Multiverse with Wally, she justifies the plan to an unsure collection of heroes by pointing out how terribly off the rails their multiverse has developed, which is ostensibly just talking about what Perpetua and the Batman Who Laughs have done, but it's also easy to read this as a jab at the New 52 line in general, and the less-then-stellar audience reception it's had.
    • In Multiverse's End, as Owlman is laying a "The Reason You Suck" Speech onto Baby Batman (see Taking You with Me), he says that he always returns because he's too good of an idea to be permanently killed off while Dark Multiverse Batmen are dumb ideas and will not be remembered, which is likely a reference to how Owlman always manages to return in some shape or form after he is killed in a storyline he is featured in and/or a form of Self-Deprecation regarding the conception of the dark Batmen as one-off characters.
    • In Issue #4, Diana has to talk down Superboy-Prime and his desire to "protect who they were". It's quite obvious that Prime is being used as the desire for fans to just stick to the old days and just not change. He ultimately sides with her.
    • Robin King always has a feeling he's being watched and he's hoping they're cheering him on. Hell, in Scary Stories to tell in the Dark Multiverse, he addresses the readers directly.
    • At one point Superboy Prime notes that the Crisis Crossover is simultaneously a rehash of stories that have been told better in the past and so confusing that he can no longer track what's going on, to the point where he no longer cares. This can be read as him as a proxy for burnt-out or overly-critical fans, but it can also be read as an upfront criticism of the problems with doing massive, repeated crisis crossovers and trying to hype each one as a unique world-changing event.
  • Licked by the Dog: Everyone is convinced that Superboy Prime is still a villain and treats him like a pariah. Everyone except Krypto, who plays with him and mourns his loss.
  • Literal Split Personality: The Batman Who Laughs' corpse is reanimated as a Black Lantern.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Wonder Woman appears channeling the power of the Anti-Crisis Energy at the end of issue #6, she says "I'm right here", echoing the Batman Who Laughs and the original team of Dark Knights from Dark Nights: Metal when they first appeared.
  • Mechanical Animals: One of the alternate Batmen is the robotic T-Rex from the Batcave that's had Bruce's consciousness transferred into it.
  • Me's a Crowd: Wonder Woman takes an entire battalion of Lobos to enter the Rock of Eternity.
  • Mirror Match:
    • In Multiverse's End, Calvin Ellis (President Superman) and Maria Mendoza (Just Imagine Wonder Woman) fight the Earth 3 incarnations of Superman and Wonder Woman.
    • The same in Lobo's one-shot when he battles his Batman equivalent the Batman Who Frags.
    • Many examples in The Last 52: War of the Multiverses, including the JSA fighting Nazi versions of themselves.
  • Motion Comic: The event received an Adaptation Distillation as an official motion comic released on DC's YouTube channel with famous stars as voice actors and a Death Metal soundtrack of its own.
    • Creator Cameo: Snyder and Capullo were part of the voice actors of the motion comic too, making the voices of Sgt. Rock and Robin King respectively.
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: This is essentially Perpetua's insurance policy to prevent the Batman Who Laughs from backstabbing her. She knows he's untrustworthy, but she also correctly reminds him that she's the only thing shielding the DC Multiverse from the Omniverse. Kill her and the Judges of the Source will finally become aware she's escaped from the Source Wall. They'll descend upon the DC Multiverse and destroy both it and the Batman Who Laughs in the process. Unfortunately, she doesn't realize until it's too late that the Batman Who Laughs wanted this outcome. He was just biding his time and waiting for certain conditions to be fulfilled.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: The Batman Who Laughs after being killed at the start of the event, sets in motion his true plan, which involves several more evil Batmen from across the Dark Multiverse.
  • Narrator All Along: Issue 7 reveals that the Narrator is actually Sgt. Rock writing in Hawkman's journal before all of the memories of the battle disappear and he returns to being a normal World War II fighting vet.
  • Neutral No Longer: Metron and The Chronicler choose to stop being just The Watchers and actually help the Multiverse to continue to exist.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands:
    • The Darkest Knight somehow gains superspeed thanks to having Dr. Manhattan powers, and is able to keep up with the Flashes. Manhattan himself didn't even have this, even with his unexplained new powers, in Doomsday Clock.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Wonder Woman's decision to murder the Batman Who Laughs allows him to set off his plan. Batman himself points out what a dumb idea it was.
    • Death Metal #5 reveals that each of the Crisis events was this on a multiversal scale — as it turns out, Crisis energy, what they were using to "fix" Crisis events, was made with fear of the truth.
  • The Pollyanna: Subverted. Captain Carrot seems to be this, encouraging Kid Flash and reminding her how important it is that they're still able to fight even after trillions upon trillions have died to Perpetua's rampage. But in a moment of privacy he breaks down in tears over losing his universe and all of his friends to Perpetua's forces.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: Unlike the original Dark Knights, the newly introduced Batmen are more numerous, but also less powerful, and seemingly less competent.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Besides the one given by Owlman (see Taking You with Me), the Darkest Knight lays onto Perpetua before he kills her.
    The Darkest Knight: Your power is nearly gone. But just for fun, I've got one last surprise for you. These you recognize them? They're parts of the Source Wall, the structure the Hands imprisoned you inside for eons.
    Perpetua: No! All I wanted was to evolve your kind! To make you strong and— (gets interrupted as she is Bound and Gagged by the fragments) mmph!
    The Darkest Knight: I know what you wanted. But all you gods, you fail to understand us at your most fundamental level. Beings like you, you see humanity, see our dark instincts...and you try to save us. But the mistake all of you make is thinking that we want to be saved, rather than unleashed. The big secret, the truth, is that in the end it's you gods who want to be saved from us. So die knowing this: we look at you, all you who beg to our better angels...and we laugh. (he punches the fragments with Perpetua inside)
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity: Wonder Woman's act of refusing the Darkest Knight's offer inspires the Hands of Fate to restore the multiverse.
  • Retcon: Multiverse's End reveals that Perpetua was behind the villains in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis and Dark Nights: Metal, as each Crisis-level event inflicted cracks on the Source Wall that eventually allowed her to escape.
  • Self-Deprecation: The event seems to like taking jabs at itself.
    • In Speed Metal, Wally West races the Darkest Knight (the Batman Who Laughs) to the Mobius Chair, and ends the whole thing by calling him "the Batman Who Tries Too Hard", which is a common criticism of the character.
    • Similarly, Owlman takes a jab at the entire concept of the Dark Multiverse Batmen in Multiverse's End, saying that they're forgettable while he's the true evil Batman.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the alternate Batmen appears to be a Judge.
    • When Poison Ivy comes out from her jail cell and despairs that the surface has become a scorched wasteland, the panel mirrors a similar scene with Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road.
    • A dark mutliverse Beast Boy is morphed into the form of a Displacer Beast.
  • Sinister Scythe: Batman wields a scythe for the event.
  • Sole Survivor: The new Justice Incarnate is made up of the sole survivors of different universes.
    • Captain Carrot is the only surviving member of the Zoo Crew, and while he keeps a stiff upper lip as long as he can, he finds himself breaking down in tears and wishing he could have done more to save his friends and his universe.
    • Iris West II, the Kid Flash of the Kingdom Come universe, is the last survivor of her world and is not in a good place during Multiverse's End.
    • Calvin Ellis, a.k.a. President Superman, is the last survivor from Earth 23 in addition to being the last Son of Krypton from his universe, so he pulls double duty.
    • Maria Mendoza is the last survivor of Earth 6.
  • Strike Me Down: Diana's decision to bisect the Batman Who Laughs with a laser chainsaw seems to make sense at the time, as there seems to be no hope for a victory that doesn't end in his death. This is immediately lampshaded as a Very Bad Idea by the other heroes, particularly Batman, who is so used to the One Who Laughs and his ridiculously Crazy-Prepared Xanatos Gambits (he is a twisted version of Bruce Wayne, after all) that he all but assumes that the One Who Laughs used his death as part of a grander scheme and will almost immediately return in an even more powerful and dangerous form to taunt and then slaughter everyone. He is proven right almost immediately, as the Batman Who Laughs has his minions place his brain into a body with the omnipotent and omniscient powers of Dr. Manhattan.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: After being The Heavy for most of the Dark Multiverse stories The Batman Who Laughs is apparently destroyed by Wonder Woman at the end of the first issue of Death Metal. Subverted, as he planned on this anyway.
  • Take That!:
    • Crossing with Leaning on the Fourth Wall, but the event is not shy about taking pot-shots at former editor Dan DiDio and the Darker and Edgier era of DC that he enforced. They straight up have the Darkest Knight quote the man in his dialogue when taunting Wally West, with audience sympathy clearly meant to be rested on Wally.
    • A lot of characters from the Dark Multiverse and the Last 52 Multiverse created by the Darkest Knight appear to be jabs at concepts or events reviled by fans; for example, a version of Wally West that became a bloodthirsty killer is introduced as a jab to the prime Wally West's accidental murder of Roy Harper and many other heroes.
    Barry (to a Dark Multiverse version of the Doctor Manhattan, Mobius Chair-empowered Wally West): You're not're just a bad idea!
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Pulled by Owlman in the Multiverse's End one-shot. He is locked in combat with the evil baby Batman, who gloats that he lost by siding with the heroes, only for Owlman to flash a wicked grin as he kills off the Rainbow Batman Corps with a detonator before laying a "Reason You Suck" Speech onto the evil baby and destroying the tower planted by Perpetua on Earth-3, causing both to go up in flames.
      Baby Batman: Stop smiling. You're about to die. You don't get to enjoy it!
      Owlman: Yes I do. You see...I'm going to live forever. As long as there's a Batman in this Multiverse, there will be an Owlman. His true dark reflection. I'm too good an idea. But evil baby Batman from the Dark Multiverse, with your stupid Rainbow Batmen? You're a dumb idea. And nobody is going to remember you.
    • Lex Luthor pulls this on Last Sun near the end of the final battle by activating the self-destruct mechanism on his mech suit, unleashing the black hole that powers it and killing Last Sun.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Hawkgirl sure as hell doesn't want to work with Lex Luthor because of his past dealings with Perpetua. Cyborg and Starfire share the sentiment, even though Luthor is willing to enter an Enemy Mine situation with the Justice League.
  • Thanatos Gambit: The Batman Who Laughs uses his death at Wonder Woman's hands to have others insert his brain into the Final Bruce Wayne, giving him immense cosmic power.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Bat-Baby story in Legends of the Dark Knights by Garth Ennis was basically a spiteful jab by Ennis himself at being brought on to contribute to a genre he infamously despised. That didn't stop James Tynion IV from turning the baby into the Arc Villain for Metaverse's End as well as effectively use him to give out a biting monologue from Owlman concerning other evil Batmen.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Darkest Knight is reduced to begging for his life when Wonder Woman overpowers him in the finale, until he is annihilated in the Sun.
    Darkest Knight: This is your last chance, Diana. We can still win. You can't create worlds from your energy but I can. I'll kill the hands and give everyone an Eden...It doesn't have to end this way!
  • Wham Episode: Issue 2 reveals that not only has the Batman Who Laughs been revived, he transferred his body to a Bruce Wayne/Dr. Manhattan, becoming an abomination he calls The Darkest Knight.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of the first issue, the evil Robins unveil the Batman Who Laughs' trump card, the Final Bruce Wayne, who has the symbol of Dr. Manhattan!
  • You Are Too Late: In Trinity Crisis, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman's attempt to alter the three major Crisis is stopped as the Darkest Knight had sent Anti-Monitor, Superboy-Prime and Darkseid to those eras and changed them so that they won.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A newly revived Batman Who Laughs kills all the other Batmen and Alfreds that brought him back now that he has the godlike powers of Dr. Manhattan.