In this week's Dark Nights: Metal #5, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo push the world to the brink of disaster, with every Justice League hero confronted by the hopelessness that's invaded the DCU from the Dark Multiverse.
Following up on some of the ideas we discussed with Snyder before this week's issue, Newarama talked to the writer about the fast pacing in Metal, the revelations about Plastic Man, and how he's hoping to carry many of the elements introduced in this series into his Justice League stories this summer.
Newsarama: Scott, one of the things that is so noticeable about the way you're writing, Scott, is the pacing you're developing. In this issue, for example, Green Lantern kicked Starro's butt - all of his butts, actually...
Snyder: Five, right? [Laughs]
Nrama: Yes, all five. And we know it happened. But we didn't even see it - the story just moves forward. That entire fight, which in some comic books would take most of the issue, just happened and we know it was awesome and he kicked his butts and the readers laughed and boom - next thing happens. This is a different style than, for example, the one you used on Detective Comics. That was a different type of story, obviously, but can you speak to the style you're using here? Is it something you developed while you were on All-Star Batman and hope to stick with, maybe into Justice League? Or is it just something for this story in particular?
Scott Snyder: My favorite writers - the ones that I love the most and admire the most in comics and in fiction and in film and all of it – are the ones that have a vision for very, very different styles. So someone like Jason Aaron, who can write Thor in this big, bombastic way and make it something special, and then do something like Southern Bastards and then do something like Star Wars that's pure, crazy fun, and yet still do it in such a way where the themes, the interests, the passions are recognizable as his. Jeff Lemire is similar. A lot of writers that I love are that way.
So for me, Metal is easily the biggest, I think purest expression of me and Capullo as this sort of - this is our friendship on paper.
We love these characters, but we also love getting together and saying, like, how can we have the most fun, the fastest, the craziest way, like metal. The title reflects that.
Events are usually really dark and portentous and self-important. We want this one to feel kind of like, you know, metal-hair fun where you're like, "Hey! Comics are awesome!" You know?
It's definitely a style that, on the one hand, flows off the stuff that I tried in All-Star. That was kind of a training ground, where I was trying to approach characters from very different angles. But Metal is a very particular style.
Nrama: So the things that come after Metal…?
Snyder: The things that I do after, I'd like to try to switch that up.
Doing everything from A.D. After Death to Wytches to Metal - that's my goal, is to be able to surprise readers and myself above all, by taking a style that's organic to the story you're telling and showing and expressing these feelings in a new way, but at the same time touches on the stuff that you know are keystones of your own writing in general.
Metal is definitely metal. [Laughs]
I'm not going to go over and try to do Metal with another artist in a different way. I would switch up to try to do something in a different style, for whoever I'm working with next on whatever project.
Nrama: Let's talk about Plastic Man. His body is a "superconductor," and you've brought the "cosmic metals" from this series into his origin story.
Snyder: Yeah, everything we're trying to do in Metal at this point, we want to have really big stories afterwards.
So Plastic Man has a really big role in Jeff Lemire and Ivan Reis' new book, The Terrifics, which is … terrific, obviously, but also really inventive and cool. And so we had long discussions about what to do with Plastic Man and how to honor his past.
He's still that kind of ne'er-do-well thief who falls into a vat. That sort of low-level guy. But then he gets these incredible powers to shift his body. And he's also a little crazy.
But we wanted to give him a bit more grandeur, where the stuff that changes him makes him conductive to the sort of Multiverse's energy, you know? Who knows what it was in that vat?
And in that way, everything that you hope or fear for, he feels.
So on a normal day, when dark energy isn't rising, he's just a little bit crazy. You know? But on a bad day, where dark energy like this is off the charts and the world is failing, he's very threatened by the idea of becoming everybody's nightmare all at once.
Nrama: Thus the egg shape.
Snyder: Yeah, that's why he compressed himself into this egg.
And that sort of speaks to one of the ideas behind the series. Ultimately, Metal is about not being in your comfort zone, not being in your egg.
It's when you step out and you try something new - like Batman, he goes on this mystery that's bigger than anything he thought that kind of explores stuff that Carter Hall was investigating, that goes back to the history of humanity.
And suddenly, all the answers you find when you try a new job or you move to a new place point back to yourself. And you think, you shouldn't have done that. You're a failure. Why did you step out of your comfort zone? Why did you try this new job? You suck at it. Why did you become a parent? All those things that you - you grow, and then something in the universe says to you, you failed.
That's what Batman Who Laughs is saying too - that's my favorite laugh, is when I hear the scream that is the final dying yell of any dream. That's what he loves, going around to worlds and killing them in that way.
So when Plastic Man comes out of his egg - which, spoiler, he will in #6 - it's one of my favorite pieces that Greg Capullo ever drew. There's literally, like, a dolphin with a chainsaw finger - one of Plastic Man's fingers as he has this huge moment. It's one of the few splashes.
It isn't a scream. It isn't that sort of shrinking away into the dark and saying, "No, you're right, I never should have done this. I failed." It's what Wonder Woman articulates at the end of the issue - it's a battle cry.
It says, no, I'm going to fight. I don't care if I go down. I don't care if I'm wrong to have tried something. I'm going to try more and more and more.
Plastic Man, Kendra, Martian Manhunter, and a lot of the characters who come in peripherally or in ways that you don't expect - they hold a lot of the heart of the story.
And as fun and stupid rock-and-roll/crazy weird as it is, it has a real heart for me and Greg and the people on the team in that way.
So we're very grateful that people have responded.
Nrama: We talked before about how the characters being featured in Metal will have a continuation of some of these story elements in their post-Metal series, particularly the ones spinning out of your Justice League event in May. And it sounds like Plastic Man is no different. This all matters after the event is over?
Snyder: Yeah, yeah, I was doing my homework on the massive events (while I was on All-Star), reading all my old favorite ones from childhood and everything. And these things have to matter some way. You invested in all these books.
So a lot of the reveals that seem, sometimes, I think, like fun - where it's like, oh, look, Aquaman is in the center of the Earth fighting evil Batmen, and the molten core of the Earth is being protected by a mystical metal - that's a sentence that I love to utter. It's just crazy.
And we're going to try to carry it forward as much as we can into spring and summer. Everything that you see rolling out in Metal #5 and Metal #6 - especially with the twists and reveals in #6 - are going to be a big part of the DCU spring/summer.
Issues #5 and #6 will set up what's coming in a bunch of books, especially the Justice League stuff, after the event.
We want to make sure you feel like you went to an awesome concert, but it's not over.
So we're really excited about keeping the party going and carrying that energy forward.