Of Metal and Plants

DC and Marvel have been continuing their big event stories Death Metal and Empyre. So far I’ve been thoroughly enjoying seeing the events unfold as the pacing and build-up has been top notch. Death Metal, of course, is the culmination of events stemming back to the onset of the New 52. Empyre builds on decades of events from the constant war between the Kree and Skrulls to other similar events. Here is a short recap and review of Death Metal #2 and Empyre #1 which is the official kickoff after lead in stories from The Avengers and The Fantastic Four.

Death Metal #2

You know what? The whole Metal saga has the feel of an amazingly crazy big Elseworlds story. Just the variations of Batman alone make my head spin. The first issue had a Dino Batman and in this issue we get to see a Batman Monster Truck….Buggy…..thing? Amazing! Swamp Thing taunting him the big bad with Dad Jokes on one page is just a taste of the crazy in store. It’s so over the top, but importantly never stupid. This all starts with the quick intro and outro of another Dark Batman.

We pick up with Wonder Woman, Flash (Wally West), and Swamp Thing going to rendezvous with the actual Batman under a cemetery. A place guarded by the Justice Society (!) and used by Batman to summon an undead hero army while being advised by Jonah Hex. Like I said: crazy. We are given more information about how things came to be as they are while tying in how Dr. Manhattan became involved. If you loved The Watchmen series, The Doomsday Clock series, and Dr. Manhattan this will probably disappoint you.

We also see the fallout of the death of The Batman Who Laughs in the first issue. Let’s just say that the threat he posed only became bigger and more terrifying. As terrible as that is, Perpetua is still worse AND she is still frightened of the forces that bottled her up in the first place. It’s something that keeps me interested in the series if only to see what could be more powerful than a being who makes and destroys multiverses. Even more, how does The Justice League possible combat this and win. The story is labeled as an “Anti Crisis” and it feels like it will play out in a similar fashion as Avengers Endgame as we will see the heroes revisit all the Crisis events and more to try and use “Crisis energy” against Perpetua. Either way, by the end of this, the DCU will again be reset, but I’m left wondering what the form will be. By the end of this issue you can see just how much fun Snyder and Capullo are having and that will keep you looking forward to the next issue.

Empyre #1.

The Kree and Skrull war is over. United by Hulkling whose strings are being pulled by Super Skrull and Tanalth The Pursurer, they are on their way to Earth to fight the Coatai. The Coatai is a plant based race with ties to both the Kree and Skrulls and with personal ties to The Avengers. A Coatai version of Swordsman and the Coatai Messiah Quoi convince the Avengers, especially Iron Man, to fight with them against the approaching armada. In their preparation Hulk (Jennifer Walters) gains a hammer that seems to cure the mental problems she’s had since she was enhanced to Banner levels.

Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four has taken custody of a Kree boy and a Skrull girl. These two have been used by a “new” Elder of the Universe to battle in a space casino using old Kree Skrull battles for profit and entertainment. This story was covered in the Fantastic Four focused Empyre one shot. Upon leaving, they fly right into the teeth of the Kree Skrull armada and in direct contact with Hulkling and his court. In the course of this, Hulkling contacts the Avengers to get the Coatai to surrender. Of course they refuse and the battle begins. The Fantastic Four fights the Kree Skrull as well trying to keep the peace. In the midst of this, the twist and swerve occurs which will continue what seems to be the theme in the Marvel Universe across the board: Plants are the enemy. Insert The Happening quote here.

What is most interesting to me is that there are issues of X-Men slated to tie into this story and they have had their own ongoing issues with plant based life and people who also seem to love plants. So where is this all going? Will this upset the revolution that the X-Men are in the middle of while occupying their entire civilization on a living island? I wonder how tied in everything will be across the board and also what the timeline will be as the individual books seem to be in vastly different times. All of this is going on with Marvel also teasing that the next big event (Knull) will begin in earnest before this one is over. While I am not as excited with this as I am with Death Metal, it is definitely something I would recommend checking out.

Al Ewing and Slott are telling a good story so far and the art by Schiti has been solid. Can’t wait to see where things will go from here!

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