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Dark Nights: Metal is a summer 2017 crossover event for DC Comics, continuing the narrative of the DC Rebirth saga. It is written by Scott "Doom Commander" Snyder and James Tynion IV, with primary art provided by Greg "Pain Bringer" Capullo.

Batman is hiding a deep, dark secret. A mysterious dimension, hidden away from all, is about to be uncovered. Its purpose is unknown, but it's connected to the mysterious and powerful Nth Metal used by Hawkman. And now, the Justice League is about to learn of this secret and prepare for the worst.

    Comics involved in Dark Nights: Metal 

Preludes

  • Dark Days: The Forge (one-shot)
  • Dark Days: The Casting (one-shot)

Main title

  • Dark Nights: Metal (#1 — #6)

Tie-ins

Gotham Resistance:Bats Out of Hell:

One-shots

  • Batman: The Red Death — Written by Flash writer Joshua Williamson.
  • Batman: The Murder Machine — Written by Frank Tieri.
  • Batman: The Dawnbreaker — Written by Green Lanterns writer Sam Humphries.
  • Batman: The Drowned — Written by Aquaman writer Dan Abnett.
  • Batman: The Merciless — Written by Peter J. Tomasi.
  • Batman: The Devastator — Written by Frank Tieri.
  • The Batman Who Laughs — Written by James Tynion IV.
  • Batman: Lost — Written by Scott Snyder.
  • Hawkman: Found — Written by Jeff Lemire.
  • Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt — Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson and Grant Morrison.

The event spins off the Dark Matter (2017) line of comics, an imprint intended to promote diversity, dramatic imaginings of characters, and stronger writer-artist collaboration.


Tropes involved with this event:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Alfred Protocol grew beyond its programming. In its desire to protect Bruce, it started killing all of Batman's enemies before assimilating him and creating the Murder Machine, killing the Justice League as well.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The Dark Knights who aren't the Batman Who Laughs become openly distraught that they are unable to restore their respective worlds after Barbatos's defeat.
  • All According to Plan:
    • It turns out that the Dark Knights wanted Superman to venture into the Dark Multiverse to try to save Batman. Once he arrives, he's promptly caught in their trap and hooked up to the Dark Knights' machinery so they can use his solar-powered body as a battery.
    • Hooray, the Justice League escaped and are now tracking down Nth metal! Which, while unexpected, is still within plans, since, as the Batman who Laughs says, they're now unwittingly spreading Barbatos' influence throughout Hypertime.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Hilariously averted in the epilogue. During the celebration party after the event, Damian and Jon are rocking out on guitar while Alfred of all people mans the drums.
  • Alliance of Alternates: The Dark Knights of Barbatos.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Dark Knights take over the cities of the heroes they stand in opposite alignment to: Red Death attacks Central City, Murder Machine Detroit, Dawnbreaker Coast City, the Drowned Amnesty Bay, and the Batman Who Laughs Gotham. They also collectively take over the Justice League's satellite headquarters, and the Merciless takes over the ruins of the Langley installations, while the Devastator infects Metropolis with the Doomsday Virus.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Immortal Man leads one called the Immortal Men, who have dubbed themselves mankind's protectors.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Barry Allen of Earth-Minus 52 is still alive inside the Red Death, pleading with Bruce for him to stop, but unable to do much more.
    • Bruce, after getting dragged into the Dark Multiverse, is placed inside a massive machine, stuck inside repeating dreams and unable to escape.
  • Anti-Climax: With all the build-up, the last battle against the Dark Knights took place in one page. Armed with the 10th metal, the Justice League wipes the floor with the Dark Knights (Superman crushes Devastator in one punch, Green Lantern zaps Murder Machine and Aquaman shakes the Drowned like a ragdoll). Even more so with the victory over Barbatos, the Justice League simply use their new powers to wish him in chains and the world to return from the dark universe.
  • Arc Welding:
    • There is a kind of metal with a particular signature that is used by the forger of universes, that runs common as lesser derivations between such structures as electrum, Nth metal, the Helmet of Fate, the Trident of Neptune, and the Bracelets of Submission, among other things. Similar to the revelations of Weapon X, the Element X that is crucial to New God Mother Box technology, is the tenth and original version of this metal, and channels the power of pure possibility from the multiverse to do whatever the wielder may desire.
    • The Golden Age Hawks' origin is retconned to tie them in with the various immortals in the DCU. Instead of "just" being reincarnating people from ancient Egypt who were killed by Hath-Set, they are now immortals who were killed with an amnesia-inducing dagger that caused them to forget their immortality. The various immortals in the DCU have now known of each other's existence for eons.
    • Everything the Court of Owls has done involving Batman is retroactively tied together — they were trying to prepare him to be Barbatos' portal by exposing him to various metals. Bruce exposed himself to two more as a result of "Endgame", although those didn't seem to be planned by the Court.
    • Apparently everything Barbatos did in The Return of Bruce Wayne was part of the plan here.
  • Arc Words: "Metal", "D.C.", and "All roads lead to Barbatos." The demon himself has "All roads lead back to darkness..."
  • Art Shift: Mikel Janin takes over art in the epilogue, signifying the official end of the New 52 era of DC Comics.
  • Back for the Dead: Nightmaster.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the Batman Who Laughs' backstory, Batman called Nightwing, Red Hood, Batgirl, and Red Robin to the Batcave once he figured out what the Joker's final toxin was doing to him: turning his moral code into that of the Joker's. They all resolve to do everything they can to help him, assuming that he's asking them to stop him, if need be. He then reveals that he's actually called them all there since they're the ones who would immediately notice him acting out of character and warn the other heroes of what has happened to him, something he cannot allow to happen. He promptly guns them all down.
  • Batman Gambit: Used against the Trope Namer. Barbatos wouldn't have been able to even begin his invasion had Batman just done the sensible thing and dropped his investigation. Batman's obsessive zeal for the truth winds up giving the demon the door he needs.
  • Big Bad: Barbatos.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Dr. Fate is made of this, almost every issue he teleports in and rescues someone from certain death.
    • In The Wild Hunt, the JLApe of Universe 53 arrives to recruit Detective Chimp, revealing they also rescued Flash, Cyborg and Raven.
  • Big Damn Villains: Of all people, The Joker appears to help Batman fight the Batman Who Laughs.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The League and the other heroes of the DCU save the day once again, but they've broken open the source wall in the process, letting in a slew of new threats. Fortunately, Batman has a plan to solve these problems which starts with welcoming J'onn and Kendra into a new Justice League. In addition, Hawkman's probably going to need to spend a lot of time recovering from what he endured, a couple of the Dark Knights remain unaccounted for, and Dream (and a single book in his library) are missing.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Drowned experimented on herself with Atlantean DNA and mutated into a creature capable of breathing underwater and controlling the Dead Water. Both her and the Dawnbreaker look like corpses, but while the Dawnbreaker looks emaciated, she looks, fittingly, like she's been drowned.
    • The Devastator injected the Doomsday Virus into himself... and then started spreading it to everyone in both his own universe and that of Earth-0, turning their skin into the same grayish-bony shade.
  • Book Ends: Scott Snyder’s Batman run began with Batman teaming up with “Joker” (actually Dick Grayson in disguise) to stop an Arkham Asylum breakout. Here, he teams up with the genuine article to fight The Batman Who Laughs.
  • Break the Badass: Barbatos manages to break Batman in Lost, break him so badly Bruce actually screams that he "gives up".
  • Broken Pedestal: The Devastator has a massive one for Superman, so much so that it seems to be his driving motivation.
  • The Bus Came Back: One of the series' goals, apparently.
    • The Forge alone brings back Hawkman (Carter Hall) and Hawkgirl (Sheira Hall), Hath-Set, Plastic Man, Mister Terrific (Michael Holt), The Outsiders, and Immortal Man. Also very noticeable is the return of the Joker, who had been absent for more than a year, despite numerous references.
    • The event's first issue brings back the Blackhawks, the Challengers of the Unknown, the Will Payton Starman, the android Red Tornado, and most surprisingly Dream of the Endless.
    • Barbatos returns after having been defeated by Batman and the Justice League in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne.
    • The third issue brings back Nightmaster, the Oblivion Bar, and even Detective Chimp!
    • In a meta sense, the concept of Hypertime has returned. The original appears in the final part of Bats Out of Hell.
    • Issue 4 sees the return of Black Adam and Starro the Conqueror.
    • Issue 5 sees the return of Martian Manhunter.
    • The Wild Hunt sees the return of Rex the Wonder Dog, Dr T.O. Morrow, Dr Will Magnus, the Metal Men, Dr Sivana and Egg Fu.
    • Issue 6 reveals the Dark Knights' mysterious guest is the original Monitor, having come Back from the Dead.
  • Call-Back:
    • Hal Jordan creates an artificial Green Lantern ring for Duke to temporarily use. He learned about this trick at the start of the New 52, when Sinestro created one for him.
    • The Joker explains how he got his face back after Endgame: After the end of that story, he ran into some of the mysterious metal which healed everything.
    • The machine Batman uses is the device seen throughout Snyder's run on his main title, repurposed to look inside the Dark Multiverse.
    • In The Red Death, as the alternate Batman and Flash are destroyed by the Speed Force, they both mirror Barry's last words from Crisis on Infinite Earths. Likewise, the very first words in the story are the Batman Who Laughs repeating "worlds will live, worlds will die".
    • The Batman Who Laughs references the JLA Tower of Babel arc, in which Batman's contingency plans were used in an attempt to kill the League.
    • Some of the moments in time Batman is shown in Lost are the ceremony where several demon worshippers tried to summon Barbatos in the Dark Knight, Dark City arc, his brief time travel back to prehistory in Final Crisis, and most importantly, the issue surrounds The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, the first Batman story.
  • Came Back Wrong: The Murder Machine was a result of trying to preserve Alfred's mind as an AI, only for it to turn homicidal, killing all of Batman's rogues before absorbing Batman and doing the same to the Justice League.
  • The Cavalry: The final issue has Cyborg, Raven and Detective Chimp bring an army of Batmen from the Multiverse to the fight.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Joker shows up in the prologue, only to vanish until the climax, where he arrives to help defeat The Batman Who Laughs.
  • Composite Character: All of the Dark Knights are essentially this (see Evil Counterpart below), but the Batman Who Laughs was specifically intended as such In-Universe. As he explains in his backstory, the Joker's final toxin kept Batman's intelligence and sanity intact while replacing his moral core with the Joker's. He sees this as embodying both the order and the chaos that each man stood for.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Forge has Batman save Dr. Madison, a redhead scientist whose research is connected to the wider mystery. The guy's name and appearance is a reference to Julie Madison, one of Bruce's oldest, albeit largely forgotten and obscure, love interests, who Snyder brought back for his Batman: Endgame story.
    • Hal notes to Bruce that he can't be sure that the Joker in his basement was the real one. This is a reference to Batman and Hal's discovery that there are three Jokers in the post-Flashpoint DCU.
    • Batman recognizes Kendra from his encounters with the Blackhawks over in All-Star Batman.
    • The map of the multiverse from The Multiversity returns and is expanded upon; i.e. the completely blacked out back of the map is, in reality, a map of the Dark Multiverse.
    • Barbatos has been hunting Batman since the Dawn of Time, first seeing him in a "final moment of a crisis."
      • Batman being sent back in time by Darkseid's Omega Beams, which he attempts once more in order to confront Barbatos.
    • Darkseid is still a baby, which he was reborn into at the end of Geoff Johns's New 52 Justice League run in Darkseid War.
    • The Monitor and the Anti-Monitor are referenced by Dream.
  • Cool Car: The Red Death uses nanites attuned to his unique vibrational frequencies to create a fleet of Batmobiles, all powered by the Speed Force, to use against the Flash.
  • The Corruption: One of the side-effects of the metal, according to Dubbilex. Most of the superhero teams that entered Gotham likewise were corrupted into demented parodies of themselves by the toxic influence of the Dark Multiverse.
    • The Helmet of Ares twisted the Merciless so thoroughly and instantly he killed his world's Wonder Woman after putting it on, since she would have tried to take it off him.
    • In his home universe, the Dawnbreaker's total absence of fear and inner darkness corrupted his ring and warped its capabilities. When he's confronted by the Guardians of the Universe, they tell him that this runs the risk of polluting the entire Green Lantern Corps. The Dawnbreaker slaughters them all in response.
    • The Drowned can transform anything she gets a hold of into one of her many Dead Water monsters.
    • The Devastator's virus transforms people into Doomsdays.
    • The Joker's final toxin rewrote Bruce's mind into the Batman Who Laughs; another toxin turned hundreds of Gotham children into tiny, rabid Joker monsters. After being corrupted, Batman killed the Superman family with a special strain of black kryptonite that drove them into berserker rages before they died.
  • Crapsack World: The Dark Multiverse appears to be a Crapsack multiverse. We're told that it's spawned of both the hopes and fears of every living being; however, what we see in Metal are the many universes where something went hideously wrong, and as Barbatos explains in Lost, the Dark Knights come from the absolute worst out of all the thousands there are.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Dark Knights are very good at giving these out:
    • The entire team brutally beat Cyborg when taking over the Justice League Satellite.
    • The Red Death quickly killed all of the villains attacking his version of Gotham with his newly-acquired speed.
    • The Murder Machine's name is well-deserved, seeing as how he slaughtered everyone in his own universe.
    • The Dawnbreaker easily slaughtered the entirety of his universe's Green Lantern Corps all at once, including the Guardians, when they tried to take his ring from him. Later on it's revealed that the Dawnbreaker had killed his universe's versions of other notable Lanterns such as Sinestro, Atrocitus, and Larfleeze. Even when Earth Prime's Hal Jordan fought Dawnbreaker and at one point actually appeared to be winning, Dawnbreaker surged back and utterly trounced Hal.
    • The Drowned single-handedly slew all of the metahumans on her Earth. When she attacks Earth Prime's Amnesty Bay she gives both Aquaman and Mera a one-sided thrashing, and even turns Mera into a Dead Water monster.
    • The Merciless went all-out against the US military and secret agencies. Most interestingly, he tanked their best weapon, instead absorbed its energy, and proceeded to brainwash the leaders, including Sam Lane, Amanda Waller, Father Time, Director Bones and Steve Trevor.
    • The Devastator killed his universe's Superman with ease. Later on when Simon Baz, Jessica Cruz, Firestorm, and Lobo try to stop Devastator from invading the Fortress of Solitude he effortlessly defeats them all. Lobo suffers the worst stomping of the group when Devastator skewers him with his own weapon and throws him into the sun.
    • The Batman Who Laughs gleefully recounts that he did this to his entire world, having stolen all of the various doomsday weapons and artifacts that the Justice League had accumulated from defeated villains of the past and using them with horrifying efficiency.
    • With the 10th metal, the Justice League one-shots the majority of the Dark Knights in a single panel.
  • Curse Cut Short: In issue #6, Hawkgirl grows pessimistic after fighting the seemingly endless horde of dark universe heroes, saying that thinking there's any winning in this fight is bull- - (She stops her sentence to assist Wonder Woman who gets rammed by a minotaur-headed dark Wonder Woman.)
  • Dance Party Ending: The event closes on one at Wayne Manor, with Jon and Damian on guitars and Alfred on drums.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Each of the Dark Knights have a past of some sort that drives them to become who they are (aside from his usual parents-killed-in-Crime Alley story).
    • The Dawnbreaker was child Bruce whose complete void of fear resulted in him acquiring the Green Lantern ring while chasing after Joe Chill himself. His extremely high willpower overrode the ring's programming, allowing him to use lethal force and perverting the ring's powers.
    • The Merciless became who he was when Ares attacked, now equipped with a Super Empowering helmet. Thinking he had killed Wonder Woman, Batman took up the helm and killed Ares. Unfortunately, the thing corrupted him so horribly he then killed Diana for real, knowing she was going to try to take it off.
    • The Red Death came to be when Batman lost his four Robins, leading Batman to kidnap Barry and force him to go into the Speed Force so that he could gain its power.
    • The Murder Machine came to be when Alfred was killed by Bane. In grief, Batman activated an A.I. based upon Alfred, who started to expand beyond his programming and began to kill everyone that might harm Bruce. He eventually assimilated Bruce himself to become an unstoppable killing machine.
    • The Devastator was the result of a world where Superman went out of control and Batman chose to use a Doomsday virus upon himself to try to stop him; the fight destroyed the planet and led him to invade Metropolis to destroy people's faith in Superman.
    • The Drowned lost her lover, the genderbent version of Selina Kyle, to metahumans, and embarked on a crusade to kill every last one of them, hero and villain alike. She refused to ever trust anyone after that, and when the Atlanteans, the last remaining metahumans, tried to make peace, she savagely engaged them. She altered herself via genetic engineering into an Atlantean, allowing her to drown her world.
    • The Batman Who Laughs finally did what so many people in-universe and out asked he do, and killed his Joker. Unfortunately, the Joker had a very specialized Joker Venom toxin in his heart that would be released when he died, hence turning whoever killed him into the Joker (and this is revealed to be the reason why the Joker was always trying to get Batman to kill him). He then proceeded to murder the Bat family, the Justice League, and everyone else who got in his way before being recruited by Barbatos.
  • Darkest Hour: How Issue 5 ends. Aquaman, Deathstroke, Hal Jordan, Martian Manhunter and Mr Terrific are at the mercy of the Dark Knights. Barbatos' Xanatos Gambit falls into place and successfully drops the entire world in the Dark Multiverse. The Forge comes apart, seemingly killing Batman and Superman in the process. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl are left running into a no doubt hopeless battle against a horde of Barbatos' minions. And the final panel shows Dream of the Endless's library on fire.
  • Dark Secret: Batman's hiding a big one. The Forge alone reveals that he's been researching the various powerful metals in the DC Universe (and is in possession of some powerful artifacts) and that he has the Outsiders (who now exist again) as his black ops team. Even worse, he's got the New 52 Joker helping him as well.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Black Adam joins Barbatos and murders Dr. Fate, in exchange for not getting executed if Barbatos conquers the cosmos.
    • Black Manta also strikes a deal with Barbatos, with the promise of being able to rule his own undersea Earth with Aquaman's people enslaved.
  • Defiant to the End: Faced with a army of Dark Multiverse denizens, Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl choose to go out with a warcry as they charge into battle.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Batman suffers an exceptionally nasty one thanks to Barbatos' Mind Rape of him. It's only through the Power of Friendship that he manages to snap out of it and save Superman.
  • Deus ex Machina: While he appears in the Dark Days prelude, the Joker's sudden appearance in the finale is this.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Invoked by the Batman Who Laughs in his backstory: when he murders the Bat family, he specifically chooses a method that they would never expect. He whips out two submachine guns and guns them all down.
    • Turns out, this is also his weakness as well. Despite being a Batman with Bruce Wayne's logic and the Joker's love for chaos, he's still a Bruce Wayne. As such, he can only come up with plans and countermeasures that only Bruce Wayne would think of. And what's the one thing the Batman Who Laughs didn't think of? Batman and the Joker teaming up to stop him.
  • Doing In the Scientist: As the Joker notes, electrum, a mixture of gold and silver, no matter what the composition between them, couldn't reanimate the dead by itself. Something else would be needed.
  • The Dragon:
    • The Batman Who Laughs to Barbatos. He's the one who recruited the rest of the Dark Knights into Barbatos' service and the one the rest all defer to.
    • Carter Hall refers to himself as such in the Dark Forge.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Carter Hall occasionally has memories of a nightmarish world where strange bat-drones fly about a ruined city, with the skyline dominated by a giant statue of an evil Batman, which has dozens of people tied to the legs.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Mister Miracle makes his Rebirth debut in The Forge, but doesn't do much and exits the story. He goes on to his own miniseries, written by Tom King, which started a few months later.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Barbatos, the one responsible for everything going on, which has been plaguing mankind since the dawn of man.
  • Enemy Mine: Batman and the Joker join forces to fight the Batman Who Laughs.
  • Enfante Terrible: The Dawnbreaker began his murderous crusade shortly after losing his parents to Joe Chill. By the time his universe collapses and Barbatos' forces find him, he seems to still be a teenager.
    • The Batman Who Laughs' Robins, who are all demented, Jokerized children that he "adopted." And then there's his world's version of Damian, who was somehow "convinced" to Jokerize himself.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: When Starro the Conqueror appears and mentions a Noodle Incident, even the editor is confused as to when that event took place. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo refuse to give a straight answer.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Common to each evil Batman is that they switch into an eviler looking outfit after their fall, usually starting off with a Batsuit, save the Dawnbreaker, who starts off as a Green Lantern. The Batman Who Laughs has two, first painting his batsuit in Joker colors after going mad, then switching to his entirely black leather look later on.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • The Dark Multiverse is naturally this to the main DC Multiverse, being comprised of dark matter. Word of God states it's not a bunch of copies of Earth-3, the world home to the Justice League's evil knock-off the Crime Syndicate of America.
    • The evil Batmen, known as the Dark Knights, are each connected to the seven main Justice League members. Though they are all a multiverse version of Bruce Wayne, their appearances and names invoke an evil Batman combined with another character:
      • The Red Death is an evil version of Batman who possesses the power of the Speed Force. As such, he's the Dark Knights' Flash counterpart. Some see Earth -52 as being a twisted and darkened version of Prime Earth.
      • The Murder Machine is an evil Batman whose mechanical body invokes the technology of Apokolips, making him the Dark Knights' Cyborg counterpart. He comes from Earth -44, making him the evil counterpart of the android Iron Batman of Earth 44, a world protected by a Metal League of robot superheroes.
      • The Devastator is a Batman who transformed into Doomsday, making him the Dark Knights' Superman counterpart. Earth -1 and Earth 1 both deal with a darker, grittier take on the DC Universe.
      • The Merciless is a Batman in armor that resembles Ares', making him the Dark Knights' counterpart to Wonder Woman. Both Earth 12 and Earth -12 have Bruce Wayne and Diana of Themyscira romantically involved.
      • The Drowned is an evil female version of Batman who has a pirate theme and uses a trident. She's the Dark Knights' counterpart to Aquaman. Like the Dawnbreaker below, her world, Earth -11, is an evil version of Earth 11, a world featuring female versions of the heroes and villains of Earth 0 and male versions of the heroines and villainesses.
      • The Dawnbreaker is an evil Batman who wields a green power ring, making him the Dark Knights' Green Lantern equivalent. In fact, his universe, Earth -32, is exactly an evil version of Earth 32, a world where Bruce Wayne did receive a Green Lantern ring and became Bat-Lantern.
      • The Batman Who Laughs is an evil composite of Batman and the Joker, essentially being the Dark Knights' most "Batman" member, making him their version of Batman himself. He hailed from Earth -22; its counterpart, Earth-22, is where Kingdom Come took place. On both worlds, the killing of the Joker led to greater chaos.
    • As stated in Dark Knights: Metal #3, there are Dark Multiverse counterparts of the entire Justice League. In #4, Batman is greeted by three of Superman's counterparts: one in Bruce's own suit (Clark's nightmare of killing Bruce, taking his mantle, and it feeling good), another in Lex's power armor, and the '90s Superman Blue. In #5, Wonder Woman encounters two of her own counterparts, one a Star Sapphire, the other a fusion of herself and her enemy Cheetah. Issue #6 adds a Giganta Wonder Woman as well.
  • Expy: The Batman Who Laughs is inspired both visually and in motif by Judge Death — a heinous monster who slaughters his entire universe simply because he can, and is inspired to bridge the gap to other worlds just to be able to do it all again.
  • Failure Is the Only Option:It's implied that the Dark Knights' quest to restore their worlds was doomed from the start, and that in fact they are painfully aware of it.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Alfred AI holograms go on a killer rampage through Arkham and blow Bane apart while politely asking "What can I do for you?". Likewise, when convincing Bruce to merge with it, it calmly does so with a very creepy "Ring the bell, sir. Let me in, sir. Let me help you, sir."
  • Foregone Conclusion: In Wonder Woman #32, Diana comments remembering seeing the baby Darkseid, and a box in the corner notes this occurred in Dark Nights: Metal #2. Thus that issue takes place after the events of the story, and given the world doesn't look like the cover of a death metal band album, everything is going to turn out okay. Sideways is also set after the events of the story, and again the world isn't a death metal album cover.
  • For Want of a Nail: All of the evil Batmen from the Dark Multiverse come from alternate universes where things took much darker turns.
  • Fourth Wall Psych: In the last of the one-shots explaining the Dark Knights' origins, the Batman Who Laughs is revealed to seemingly be telling those stories directly to the reader. The ending reveals that he's talking to an unidentified bandaged person, who might be an Audience Surrogate anyways.
  • Fusion Dance: The Red Death is an alternate Batman that forced Barry Allen to merge with him so he could become a speedster. The Murder Machine is an alternate Batman that had the Alfred AI merged into him before absorbing Cyborg.
  • Gender Flip: The entire world of Earth -11, where the Drowned comes from.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Whatever it is that's coming, Batman feels that there is a need to release Plastic Man.
    • The Batman who would become the Merciless donned Ares' magic helmet to gain the power necessary to kill him, despite being warned by his Wonder Woman that it would corrupt him. The Batman who became Devastator used the Doomsday Virus when he finally decided that his run-amok Superman would never turn back to how he was. The Drowned transformed herself with genetic experimentation upon the flooding of Gotham by the Atlanteans.
    • In the big finish, Batman actually teams up with the Joker, because he's the one person the Batman Who Laughs can't plan for. Ironically.
  • Hand Wave: Any questions about the probability of the Dark Knights' victories over their respective worlds, the Red Death somehow knowing how to merge with the Flash, the Dawnbreaker managing to kill the entire Green Lantern Corps with the never-before-seen Blackout powers his ring has, or the Devastator having Hulk-like control over the Doomsday virus, can be shrugged off with the Dark Multiverse's basic premise: it's a collection of worlds created from the regular Multiverse's fears and regrets (and hopes). The things Batman fear could happen (no matter how outlandish or out of proportion they might seem), did happen on these worlds.
  • Hate Plague: The Merciless seems to inflict this on the heads of all the defense agencies reunited at Langley.
  • Hate Sink: Seems to be the case for The Dawnbreaker. While all the other Dark Knights (including The Batman Who Laughs) are victims of Despair Event Horizon and/or were "helped" by corrupting items, and thus elect some sympathy, The Dawnbreaker is shown to be an utterly unsympathetic Jerkass who murders indiscriminately, overriding the ring's lethal power restriction, kills his universe's Jim Gordon for calling him out, and makes people suffer purely because they got the happiness he didn't. The fact that his origin was a severely traumatized child being given a wonder weapon that he was able to fully twist to his will might have something to do with this particular breed of psychopathy.
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: Nightwing describes the thermal uniform he dons to go through Mr. Freeze's area of Gotham City as this — it's an ugly sweater, but Bruce just wants him to stay warm.
  • Hope Crusher: The Devastator, with a special interest in destroying people's faith in Superman. Having his own hope destroyed, he wants to make everyone strong enough that they don't need Superman - by transforming them into Doomsdays.
    • Barbatos himself. He claims he propped up Batman as the world's greatest detective so when he fell, so would everyone who ever believed in him.
  • Hope Spot: During The Red Death, Barry Allen tries getting through to whatever's left of Bruce in the Red Death. He actually manages to get the man to stop... and then Doctor Fate shows up and drags him away for something else.
  • Humongous Mecha: Thanks to the Toyman leaving a secret in Mongul's death trap, the Justice League forms one while trapped by Mongul. Mongul realizes he's totally outgunned and runs for his life.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Whatever that machine showed Killer Croc, the instant he saw Harley, he begged her to tell Waller to just activate everyone's killswitch.
  • I Hate Past Me: The Merciless thinks poorly of his old way of doing things back when he was still Batman.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • Superman tries this when he's confronted by the Dark Knights, noting that they're all essentially Bruce Wayne and should have some good in them. The Batman Who Laughs notes that his version of Superman tried the same thing on him. He responded by killing his Superman's family right in front of him.
    • Superman and Batman end up trying to do this with the corrupted Carter Hall.
    • Wonder Woman does this with the corrupted Hawkgirl; most notably, she succeeds in reaching her by showing her the truth with her lasso.
  • I Let You Win: Barbatos claims this is why Batman was able to defeat him once.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Horrifically averted with the Batman Who Laughs. Even Jon Kent, arguably the face of DC Rebirth as a whole, dies screaming in terror while being mutated and killed by the Black Kryptonite the Batman Who Laughs created. Even before this, the Joker had Jokerized countless children during his rampage.
  • Kick the Dog: The Murder Machine forces Dr. Stone to listen to him and the other Dark Knights beat the crap out of Cyborg.
  • Kill Him Already!: The Batman Who Laughs was a Batman who did just that... and was turned into the Joker for his troubles, because the Joker was dying anyway from years of toxic exposure and had a special surprise for Bats as a 'parting gift'.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Nth Metal, for creatures from the Dark Multiverse.
  • La Résistance: The "Gotham Resistance", who will show up in an arc running across September's issues of Teen Titans, Nightwing and Suicide Squad, will involve various heroes fighting against the Dark Batmen, including Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc. Almost everyone was captured or corrupted, save for Green Arrow, Robin and Nightwing, who are spirited out by Dr. Fate after they realize Nth metal is capable of destroying the Dark Multiverse creatures.
  • Legacy Character: The Batman Who Laughs is essentially his Joker's successor.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: The only condition Batman asks of the Joker when they team up against the Batman Who Laughs.
  • Lights Off, Somebody Dies: Invoked by the Dawnbreaker. His corrupted ring's signature ability, Blackout, turns out all light in a given area. When they're restored, someone will have been horribly killed by the nightmarish monstrosities his ring creates. He successfully uses this to strike fear in criminals since nobody knows what's happening in the darkness; they can only hear horrible, monstrous sounds.
    • Hal is able to counteract this using his ring as a strobe effect, but he's still defeated and has to be rescued by Dr. Fate. Later, when Dawnbreaker faces Raven, he learns the hard way that using dark powers on a dark demon is not a good idea.
  • Literal Asskicking: Hal Jordan swears to do this to Starro the first chance he gets. He gets his chance in issue #5, off-screen, with an editor's note assuring the reader that Starro has five asses to kick. Despite being a starfish.
  • The Lost Lenore:
    • The Merciless still deeply misses his world's version of Wonder Woman, to the point that he can't bring himself to look at the Earth-0 version when he first arrives. It's then revealed that he's the one who killed her.
    • The Drowned's lost of genderbent Selina Kyle caused her to wage war against all metahumans and surgically transform herself into an Atlantean to fight against Atlantis.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Batman's hooked to one in Lost, in which he dreams of being a grandfather, retired from crimefighting, who's reading a story - The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, the very first Batman story, to his granddaughter. He briefly snaps out of it, but Barbatos slaps him down by revealing it's his fears and regrets that have produced the demon's army and that Batman is nothing without Barbatos. At the end, Bruce is left so shaken he gives up and basically begs to return to the illusion.
    • In Issue 2, when Barbatos has Wonder Woman and Superman hooked up to his towers, they experience dreams of defeating Barbatos, only for him to rise again and again no matter how many times they win. Wonder Woman breaks out eight days later and helps Superman break out.
  • Man of Kryptonite: Everyone from the Dark Multiverse is immune to Superman's attacks, while being more than capable of injuring him in turn.
  • Mercy Kill: The new philosophy of The Merciless: since Thou Shalt Not Kill clearly didn't work, just kill everyone quickly and efficiently.
  • Me's a Crowd: Prior to merging with Batman and Cyborg to become the Murder Machine, the Alfred AI manifests as a group of holograms bearing Alfred's likeness. Later on, the Machine displays the ability to summon the holograms en masse.
    • The Dark Knights themselves, since they're all technically alternate versions of the same person.
  • Meta Origin: Metahumans (Geddit?) now exist by trace amounts of the mysterious metal in their blood. Even the name metahuman comes from the word, as apparently the scientist involved just...ran out of ink or something.
  • Mind Screw: Lost is pretty difficult to follow if you're not versed in Bat-lore, and even then, it can get a little screwy, especially once Batman starts being dumped into Alan Wayne's life, or that of the evil Thomas Wayne (not that one).
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe, the Devastator feels that his version of Superman crossed it when he killed Lois Lane.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Batman Who Laughs is an obvious shout out to the story Joker: The Man who Laughs, which is itself a Shout-Out to The Man Who Laughs, the film which served as an inspiration for the Joker character to begin with. His origin story is not so much a shout out but a dark mirror to The Killing Joke, down to the sequence and dialogue.
    • In The Red Death, the shots of the Dark Multiverse coming to an end are an obvious reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths. Barry's last moments before being merged with Bruce are are also laid out similarly to his death from that same story, and his last words about there still being hope are also a reference to Crisis.
    • The Batman of Earth -1, who eventually become Devastator, was forced to fight against Superman for literally no good reason, and with a Kryptonite spear, not unlike the battle in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
    • One of the many evil Batmen summoned by Barbatos in Lost greatly resembles the Azrael Batman suit.
    • The repeated focus on the letters "D C" - Detective Chimp's initials, the musical notes he tried to puzzle out in his origin, and the basis for Batman's message from the Dark Multiverse.
    • Barbatos has been mentioned and even seen in earlier comics such as Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth, Batman: Dark Knight, Dark City; and The Return of Bruce Wayne.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Batman using his machine to figure out what was going on breaks the seal keeping the two multiverses separate.
    • Superman travels to the Dark Multiverse to rescue Batman...only to give Barbatos' minions a solar battery to bring the world closer and faster to the Dark.
  • No Man Left Behind: Damian tries to adhere to this, but is forced to acknowledge his team has been hopelessly mauled and is forced to retreat.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The Dawnbreaker invokes this with his corrupted ring, absorbing all light in a given area to create total darkness which hides the twisted monstrosities his ring creates.
    • On the Devastator's world, nobody ever figured out what caused Superman's Face–Heel Turn, making his rampage all the more terrifying.
    • Two major examples from the backstory of the Batman Who Laughs: we never find out just what he did to his world's Damian Wayne to make him into the twisted monster he ended up as, and we don't see what Superman and Superboy (under the effects of special black kryptonite) do to Lois Lane; both are heavily suggested to be horrifying.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ganthet sends Hal Jordan on a mission to figure out what's going on on Earth. When he's told not to tell anyone in the Corps, especially the Earth-bound Lanterns, Hal knows something bad is up. It gets worse when he realizes the location he's being sent to is Wayne Manor.
    • Mr. Miracle when he sees what Batman's got in Superman's basement. He tells Bruce not to look at it and leave.
    • Mongul gets one when he sees the Justice League combine Toyman's gladiator robots they were fighting into a Giant Robot under their control.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Dramatic version. When the agency heads decide to drop a superweapon on the Dark Knights, Tom Kalmaku, the man in charge of dropping the device, briefly begs the target not to be Coast City. Again. He's granted his wish when the target turns out to be Langley, Virginia, home of said government agencies.
  • Patient Zero: The Devastator infects Lois Lane with his Doomsday Virus when he invades Metropolis, making her a carrier who starts spreading the virus to the rest of the populace there.
  • The Power of Friendship: Superman and Batman's friendship helps snap Bruce out of the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Press X to Die: Everyone warns Batman studying the metal is a horrible idea and that he's doing something really, really stupid - from capturing Joker to force him to assist, to studying the Multiverse Tower, to trading metal samples with Talia al Ghul. He soldiers on, thinking nobody understands him or his need to understand the big secret behind it. Surprise, surprise, for once it turns out the Dark Knight has bitten off far more than he could chew.
    • The Batman who would become the Murder Machine was explicitly warned by his version of Cyborg not to allow the Alfred A.I. into the Batcave's computers to try to contain it. He disregarded this advice, leading directly to his assimilation and every other atrocity that followed.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: Dawnbreaker hit his Despair Event Horizon with his parents' death, and when the Green Lantern ring tried to recruit him, it mistook the void within him as lack of fear. The mistake proved costly when Bruce started dredging his darkness and channeling it with his ring, wishing above all things to make everyone happier than him feel just as horrible as him.
  • Rapid Aging: One of the Red Death's powers is to use the Speed Force to age people.
    • This is one of the effects of being hooked up to the Dark Knight's life-absorbing machine. Superman gets away with greyed temples, but Batman is left looking decades older.
  • Retcanon: When Cyborg frees Raven from the Dark Knights' prison, they treat each other as dear friends and past teammates - something that was only true in Pre-Flashpoint continuity, as they never interacted with one another in the New 52.
  • Retcon:
    • It's revealed that Mr. Terrific has been on a secret mission for Batman since the start of the New 52.
    • The Hawks and Hath-Set are now tied into the wider ancient conspiracy concerning the various immortals of the DCU, and Hath-Set was working for someone when he killed Khufu and Chayera. Previously, he'd done it out of pure jealousy.
      • Similarly, the Thanagarian ship had been trying to warn mankind about what was coming.
    • Barbatos is no longer Darkseid's Hyper-Adapter, but the giant Dragon that destroys newborn universes when they turn out to be unstable. However, Barbatos is briefly referenced as the Hyper-Adapter in spite of this new backstory.
  • The Reveal:
    • For The Forge, it's revealed that Batman has a hidden cave within the Batcave. And (one of) the Joker(s) is inside it.
    • Issue 1 has a few:
      • Lady Blackhawk is actually Kendra Saunders.
      • Red Tornado's existence.
      • The Dark Multiverse's existence.
      • Dream of the Endless is present in the Rebirth DCU.
    • Cyborg eventually discovers that the Dark Knights aren't just Batman's fears - they're his regrets.
    • The captive of The Batman Who Laughs is Nix Uotan.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The Devastator notes that nobody on his world was ever able to determine just what caused his version of Superman to turn against humanity.
  • Rule of Cool: Snyder declared that Metal is a celebration of "bonkers storytelling" in comics.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Batman holds a Thou Shalt Not Kill rule so he would never become as bad as his enemies, especially the Joker. In the Batman Who Laughs' case, he literally becomes the new Joker after killing the original.
  • Running Gag: Every issue has someone make the sign of the horns. Because METAL.
  • Schmuck Bait: Superman thinks Batman is trying to send a message to him, and goes charging into the Dark Multiverse to rescue his friend. It's a trap, since Superman was what the Dark Knights needed to finish their machine and really get into the multiverse. Batman had been trying to warn Clark to stay the hell away.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In Dark Days: The Casting, Wonder Woman tells Batman that the Olympian Gods have packed up and left.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the series, a good number of plot points are teased for subsequent stories, most importantly The Reveal that the Source Wall has broken open.
  • Sequel Series: To The Multiversity, to the point of even bringing in Grant Morrison to co-write a tie-in one-shot.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The Dark Knights serve Barbatos in exchange for the resurrection of their worlds, whose death as part of the Dark Multiverse they find incredibly unfair. Cyborg, however, notes that part of Batman's core philosophy in any of his lives is that this trope is fundamentally impossible: taking away the tragedy that powers Batman would mean no Batman. This means everything they've done for their goal is and has always been ultimately futile.
  • Shout-Out: People working on the book have heavy metal themed nicknames, a gag similar to that of Treehouse of Horror.
    • In the Drowned's universe, she dated the genderbent version of Catwoman named Sylvester. There's another cat that goes by that name.
    • Lady Blackhawk visualizes what the Dark Multiverse is by flipping the multiverse map upside down, which Eleven from Stranger Things does to a Dungeons and Dragons game board to explain the Upside Down.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Among the Dark Knights, the Drowned is the only female "Batman" as it were.
  • Super Empowering: The Batman Who Laughs gives out Joker cards to Arkham inmates, which grant them a small measure of Reality Warper powers over the twisted hellscape that was once Gotham.
  • Superior Successor: The Batman Who Laughs sees himself as one to the Joker, feeling that he had good ideas but was too single-minded in his focus on Batman. He's decided to take them Up to Eleven on the entire world and, eventually, the multiverse.
  • Take That! / Biting-the-Hand Humor: The Devastator shows Earth -1's Superman curb stomping Batman, who tries to use a Kryptonite spear against him. Superman taunts him for using that as his Plan A and also mocks the age-old belief that Batman will win any fight between them. The narration also makes it known that the reason behind this fight is really unclear.
    • invoked One of Superman's Dark Multiverse counterparts is wearing the blue containment suit, a well-known Dork Age for the character. Remember that the Dark Multiverse is considered a realm of bad ideas or ideas gone horribly wrong.
    • Similarly, a Dark Multiverse Riddler appears during a huge battle, sporting the infamous question mark mohawk he had during the start of the New 52.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Deathstroke joins forces with the Justice League and other heroes fighting the Dark Multiverse's invasion. The heroes allow it since his sword and armor are made of Promethium, and thus have the same signature as the other metal items in their possession.
    • When going after the Batman Who Laughs, Bruce works with the Joker to double-team him. The Joker happily cuts off fingers from the evil Bats, while a disgusted Bruce tells the Joker to never tell anyone of their partnership.
  • Tempting Fate: When the Batman who would become the Devastator fought his world's rogue Superman, the latter mocked the very idea of Batman being able to kill him. Then Batman injects himself with the Doomsday virus...
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: The Merciless instantly destroyed Ares after taking his helmet for himself in revenge for killing Diana. Unfortunately, at that moment he realized the god had merely stunned her, but the helmet had corrupted him so badly in that instant, he killed Wonder Woman himself to stop her from taking the helmet.
  • There Is Another: Cyborg learns from his mother box that he's not the first to become a cyborg bonded to one.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Batman really has his head up his ass here. After an elaborate deception to misdirect the Justice League, what's his big plan for fighting Barbatos? To go to the Tomb of Katar Hol, travel in time ALONE and hit Barbatos over the head with a mace. Why? Because Hawkman did it once and it worked. Goes as well as expected. Bonus points, Batman didn't even go to the correct tomb! The rest of the Bat-Family get a nod too for not questioning Batman why they need to oppose the League and being so smug about it afterwards.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Cyborg gets a major power up when he accesses the Element X in his Mother Box technology and controls it, allowing him to draw energy from throughout the Multiverse.
  • Uncertain Doom: The Joker and The Batman Who Laughs are last seen in the collapsing Dark Multiverse.
  • Wham Episode:
    • #2: Batman travels to an ancient tomb in order to use Baby Darkseid's Omega Beams to go on a one-way trip back in time to fight Barbatos. However, the place turns out to be a trap laid by the Court of Owls, who use a metal called Batmanium to transform Batman into a doorway and allow Barbatos and the Dark Knights to enter the DC Universe.
    • #4: Probably the whammiest of all. Dream appears to explain the origin of the Multiverse, Barbatos's identity, and send Superman and Batman to the World Forge. THEN they find it's already darkened and guarded by a giant corrupted Hawkman.
    • The Wild Hunt has Red Death's Heel–Face Turn, the Dark Knights's Hazy Feel Turn and ends with The Reveal of Universe 53, home to a Super Ape version of the Justice League.
  • Wham Line:
    • In The Batman Who Laughs, Earth -22's Batman has finally killed the Joker, but is stuck with a whole bunch of Jokerized children with no cure in sight. He and Superman talk about the predicament and Superman briefly brings up an incident where a Jokerized kid tried to bite out a doctor's throat. To which Batman responds with:
    Batman: Ha!
    • In The Wild Hunt, Dawnbreaker finds himself picking up a message from Universe 53, a universe that shouldn't exist. The next words out of his mouth?
    Dawnbreaker: In Brightest Day...
  • Wham Shot:
    • Batman examining the tower in the hidden chamber. One that looks like the ones the Monitor used in the original Crisis, and later Alexander Luthor in Infinite Crisis.
    • Batman encountering Dream of the Endless at the end of Issue #1.
    • Barbatos and the Dark Knights are bringing an army of Dark Multiverse denizens, all resembling twisted and corrupted versions of the heroes, to help their invasion.
    • A gigantic, corrupted Carter Hall declaring himself Barbatos' Dragon at the Dark Forge.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Every one of the Dark Knights is an aspect/fear of Batman twisted to a murderous extreme, tied to his despair toward the loss of his loved ones.
    • The Red Death is his dedication to justice and paternal feelings towards the Robins.
    • The Murder Machine is his love for and dependence on Alfred.
    • The Dawnbreaker is both his willpower and pain over losing his parents.
    • The Drowned is his love for Catwoman and inability to trust others (particularly metahumans).
    • The Merciless is his love for Wonder Woman and his fear of breaking his no-killing rule.
    • The Devastator is his friendship with Superman and his family, the compassion and hope that he gains through it, and his fear of what would happen if Superman ever went rogue.
    • The Batman Who Laughs is his love of Gotham, his friends, and the entire Batfamily. He's also the order Batman embodies in contrast to the Joker's chaos, his fear that the Joker's theory of "one bad day" breaking a man is correct, and his fear that he is ultimately Not So Different from him.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The Merciless, The Dawnbreaker and The Murder Machine only appear in a couple panels getting crushed by Green Lantern after the heroes have their Heroic Second Wind. After the crisis is averted in full, Dream of the Endless is also nowhere to be found. The Joker and the Batman Who Laughs were last scene still battling in the background of a panel, but their fates are unknown.
    • It's not shown how the Devastator's Doomsday virus was stopped, or how Lois Lane and all the infected were restored back to normal.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Superman gives Batman one, when the latter kept telling Supes that he can't join the fight against the Dark Knights.
  • Worf Effect: Everyone other than the Bat-family get this initially. Even that top trickster John Constantine gets a case of the dumbs.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • "You're Batman, dammit. You give others hope. They see you and are filled with wonder about what they can achieve."
    • Batman gives one to the corrupted Carter Hall, surrendering his title as the World's Greatest Detective to him and praising him for being The Determinator he was.
    • Kendra tells Wonder Woman that she is the personification of this trope.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Court of Owls hopes to be rewarded by Barbatos. Predictably, the demon just kills them.
  • Younger Than They Look: Ra's al Ghul claims that he is the youngest among the Immortal Men.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The Dark Multiverse is a reactive plane of existence. Its worlds and inhabitants are composed of the desires and fears of those in the main Multiverse brought to life. According to the Batman Who Laughs, it's a realm of stories that should've never happened or should happen. Appropriately, a collection of worlds created by the imagination of people attracts the attention of Dream of the Endless.
    The Batman Who Laughs: I know we must seem like cruel monsters of nightmare, crawling out of the abyss to run over your world. And in a way, we are. The truth is, we're only here because the world was dark enough to dream us into existence. Because deep down, it needed us.
    • The Batman Who Laughs explains that each of the Dark Knights themselves are based on one of Batman's greatest fears or doubts. Later, Cyborg reveals that they're also formed from Batman's regrets as well.

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