Comic Book Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal

Details: This series is currently complete. More information can be found at https://www.dccomics.com/comics/dark-nights-death-metal-2020/dark-nights-death-metal-1 and https://dcdeathmetal.world/

Score: 6.5/10

Dark Knights: Death Metal is DC Comics big comic book event for this year. It is a mess. The prior big annual event was also written by Snyder and that was also a mess. This was an even bigger mess and while entertaining if you read it superficially, it feels too disjointed and pointless. If there was any real point to this series, it is to relaunch the DC Comics universe yet again and to launch an enormous line of toys and action figures.

If you’ve been keeping up with Batman and the Justice League comic books over the last few years, you’d be aware of the character known as The Batman Who Laughs. He’s basically an evil Batman from a parallel universe with all of Batman’s intelligence, but none of his morality. The Batman Who Laughs has obtained god like powers and threatens the entire DC Comics multiverse. Now the heroes and villains must band together to fight him and his nightmare forces.

After reading this, it’s clear to me that Snyder’s forte is writing horror, not large scale science fiction. Scott Snyder first met success at DC when he wrote for the main Batman book. His run on Batman is considered one of the best runs on Batman in its history. The story arcs here that got the most praise were the dark ones that were full of that horror atmosphere and yet had an optimism that permeated those stories.

Snyder later moved on to Justice League and the Death Metal annual miniseries’ which were books that mostly turned me off. They were just so scatterbrained. Snyder writes all these plot points that build up almost instantaneously and offer lackluster, unearned payoffs. It’s a weakness that I’ve also seen in Jonathan Hickman’s stories where the writer just tries to cram in too many ideas into a story and what you get is a half assed story that doesn’t do justice to any individual plot point. There’s too many things going that were set up poorly.

The same is true in Death Metal. There are too many cameos, plot points, development, references to past comics, all bereft of any competent setup. It all just ends up feeling cheap rather than what was like intended to be an epic moment. Of Snyder’s DC books that he’s written since leaving Batman, it was The Batman Who Laughs that I enjoyed the most. That was a small, intimate story with horror tones and ample character development. Death Metal lacks all that. It feels like Snyder constantly overreaches and throws in poorly researched elements of DC Comics history and glues them together for an incohesive story.

The art is great. I always enjoy Capullo’s art. It’s a shame that the story is so scatterbrained because good art cannot shine in a comic book with at least a somewhat decent story behind it.

Overall, this book was disappointing. Ultimately, this book exists solely to relaunch the DC Universe yet again in hopes of drawing in new readers, providing new stories to old readers, and to sell a ton of new toys.

Book Review: Star Wars: Thrawn, by Timothy Zahn

Details: Official site can be found here (I think): https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/223651/thrawn-star-wars-by-timothy-zahn/9780345511270/

Score: 7.4/10

Thrawn is a much beloved character of the extended Star Wars universe. After Disney acquired Star Wars, the extended universe was erased and a big question was where Thrawn ended up. Well, the animated television show Star Wars: Rebels brought Thrawn back into the new Star Wars canon, so I guess Thrawn’s back. This book is an origin story for the character and also a prequel for the Star War: Rebels television show.

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Book Review: The President Is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Details: Official site is https://www.presidentismissingbook.com/

Score: 7/10

The President Is Missing is a fairly standard political thriller reminiscent of shows like The West Wing and 24. While James Patterson is obviously one of the most successful writers of our lifetime, the main draw here is Bill Clinton. Not many books can say that they are told with the perspective of one who has actually been president of the United States and there are clearly many points in this book where you can feel Clinton’s voice in the story.

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Book Review: Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn

This is a review of the book, not the show. I felt like I needed to add an accompanying video and this was the closest thing I could find.

Details: Official site is http://gillian-flynn.com/books/sharp-objects-movie-tie-in-tr

Score: 7.4/10

Sharp Objects is a New York Times Bestseller from the author of books like Gone Girl. This is a different book from Gone Girl, but the overall tense tone and female centered story is still there.

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Book Review: The Affair, by Lee Child

Details: Official site is https://www.leechild.com/books/the-affair.php

Score: 6/10

The Affair is the origin story of the character Jack Reacher. Jack Reacher is a character who stars in a book and movie franchise (starring Tom Cruise) about a former military police major who now wanders around America solving military related crimes and kicking ass.

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