Rooted as he is in the hardboiled detective fiction of the 1920s, Batman has always been out of place in the wider DC universe of Kryptonian immigrants, Amazonian queens, and dispossessed sea people. Batman looks watching over Gotham from an art-deco skyscraper, but he seems more than a little silly watching over the whole planet from space.
Hinging a major DC event around Batman, then, is a tough task for any writer, even one of Scott Snyder’s caliber. To give Batman a useful role among so many super-powered heroes, Snyder focuses on Batman not as Dark Knight or Caped Crusader, but as World’s Greatest Detective.
Something is amiss on Earth – indeed, in the whole universe – and Batman is going to figure out what is causing it. For years he has worked behind the scenes to uncover traces of an alien element – so alien that it comes from outside any of the known universes in the DC multiverse. What’s more, the element seems to have something to do with a nefarious being also from outside the known multiverse, but eager to enter … and to destroy.
The result is Scott Snyder’s attempt to tell a Lovecraftian-horror story within the DC universe, bringing together all the players (both major and minor) to search for prehistoric archeological clues that might help defeat the encroaching Old One from beyond the multiverse. Dark Nights: Metal #1 is a mish-mash of moods and settings that doesn’t harmonize well, but which promises some exciting revelations about the cosmic roots of both Batman and Joker that may well shake the very foundations of the DC universe.