Dark Days: The Road to Metal is the latest from Scott Snyder as he looks to interweave past and present stories of Batman into one cohesive entity; not just through Gotham alone but the larger DC universe as well. However, the mystery which should grab and hold the reader to its pages becomes its weakness.
Issue after issue, we flash forward not just between worlds but time itself, presented with Justice League members, Aquaman and Hal Jordan, and those on the lower totem pole of the DC universe: The Hawks.
Dark Days’ mystery predates not just the Court of Owls but man itself, with Batman investigating the Nth metal and how his findings might possibly reshape the reality of man.
Telling a story that reinvents parts of Batman’s history is an ambitious one. Like all good Batman stories there is always a riddle to be solved in between the ass kickings and monologues from its villains. But the more Batman investigates the more in the dark he is left, along with the readers, and this proves frustrating.
I did enjoy the placement of the older Batman arcs alongside the current ones, although the writing did tend to feel hammy at times. The art is dark and gritty and the artists are able to mesh their art and the story together, but outside of a few panels with the Joker not too much stands out.
By the end, the reader is still no closer to what the mystery of the Nth metal is, and it does feel, at times, as if the story being told is unnecessarily complicated. Dark Days, while an impressive work that molds together a diverse group of characters and stories with Batman at its center, left me asking whether what Scott Snyder set out to do could be done, and yes it can. But did Dark Days: The Road to Metal stick its landing? I would say no.