New to DCU Book Club Week 2: Death Metal, Strange Adventures, and Joker War's first issue!

Hello everyone! Welcome to Week 2 of the New to DCU Book Club, where we will be reading and discussing comics currently coming the DC Universe Infinite.

What is this club?

We will be discussing stories big and small. Both Batman and Adam Strange, while making sure that you have ALL the context that you need to enjoy the story. You are missing as few details as possible, and that you will be able to understand everything. We will also be following a reading order I wrote to read the stuff you will need to enjoy Future State and Infinite Frontier. You can see the reading order HERE . As the weeks progress, we will read books including

  • Batman
  • Wonder Woman
  • Death Metal (and it’s tie-ins)
  • Joker War (and it’s tie-ins)
  • Strange Adventures
  • Far Sector (a phenomenal Green Lantern Story)
  • Justice League Dark
  • Rorschach by James Tynion and more.

There are series I’m missing. Some missing stories are great stories, while others are mediocre. Some notable titles are missing like Superman and Aquaman and this is because I’ve decided either 1) The run isn’t worth your time (like Superman) or 2) That the run is too far in to be accessible for jumping right in(Like Superman and Aquaman).

This is our first week where we are reading issues from different stories. This week we are reading Death Metal #1-2, Batman #95, and Strange Adventures #1-3

Death Metal is VERY context heavy as it’s the end result of the two years of set up. If you are new, go in expecting to be a little confused at times but reading my guide for the BARE basics should be enough to understand the gist.


Batman #95 contextually requires the books you read last week (Batman #86-94). If you didn’t finish it, feel free to keep reading and discussing your thoughts here:

Strange Adventures #1-3 require nothing really. Adam Strange is a fairly obscure character and as such the issue is written assuming you know very little.
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Death Metal #1-2

Context and the plot so far: Death Metal

Step in for a lot…. There’s a lot of cosmic stuff here that can be very convoluted because it’s based on the last 3 years of comics. DON’T GO READ IT ALL. IT’S A LOT TO READ. Instead you are better off getting the gist of what happened and then jumping right in.

Part 1) Dark Nights: Metal
This is the first Metal Series. I really like it, but Death Metal is something different. In Dark Nights Metal, Batman discovered that there was a dark multiverse as well as the multiverse he lived in. The dark multiverse contains versions of his own worst nightmares. For example, a version of him where he killed joker and was poisoned with Joker toxins. It made him The Batman Who Laughs.

There are other examples, but they aren’t super important for this series.

After Batman discovers the dark multiverse, the Batman who Laughs got 7 evil Batmen together and they tried to take over the good version of Earth (Earth-1, Earth Prime, or Earth-0. I forget what the main world is called these days). In order to beat the Batman who laughs and the evil Batmen, Batman tried to craft a set of armor of nth metal, and discovered the Bat God Barbatos. After freeing a possessed Hawkman. Batman used the world forge which Barbatos was guarding to craft a set of Armor that could fix the universe. Batman removed the evil Batmen from the picture and the heroes won. However, in remaking the universe, they broke the source wall, a magical wall that exists at the edge of the universe to protect the universe.

Part 2) Justice League (2018)

The piece of the source wall that the heroes broke, landed on Earth and Lex Luthor’s Legion of Doom, and the Justice League fought over it to try and study it. The Justice League won and began to study it, but Luthor wasn’t done yet. He captured the Batman who Laughs and made him agree to not interfere with his plans. The Batman who Laughs agrees but has plans of his own (We will discuss this when we read the Batgirl comic later). For now, all you need to know is that Luthor stole the piece of the source wall and discovered that there was a goddess named perpetua. Perpetua created the multiverse, but her children (the monitor, anti-monitor, and the world forger) captured her because she was evil and locked her up in the source wall (which is now destroyed). Lex Luthor manages to summon her and plans to be her champion. Lex beats the Justice League in a deeply convoluted event called Year of the Villain and beats the Justice League. The Justice League teleports away and prepares to fight one last time. This is where the Justice League series ends.
Part 3) Hell’s Arisen
The final part of year of the villain is a battle between the Batman who Laughs and his soldiers versus Lex Luthor (who has made himself into an alien creature) to be perpetua’s champion. The Batman who laughs wins and becomes Perpetua’s champion. At some point between Hell’s Arisen and Death Metal, there is a huge battle between Perpetua and the Batman who Laughs and the Justice League, however we don’t get to see it. Instead Death metal begins 3 months after the Batman who Laughs has control of the earth.

Important characters not already mentioned

Sergeant Rock: He’s an obscure DC character

Swamp Thing: He’s a plant based character who has control of the green, the force of green nature. When the green is weak, he is weak. When plant-life is weak, he is weak.

Wonder Woman: Diana Prince. You should know her from the Wonder Woman movies. She also has an invisible jet. That’s all you really need to know for this.

Lobo: A Pale Alien Humanoid who regenerates quickly and is very Metal.

Wally West (Redhead with Blue Flash Suit: He is the 2nd Flash. We will discuss his past more later. For now, just know that he has some of the power of Doctor Manhattan.

Doctor Manhattan: A being from the Watchmen comic who has been manipulating DC. He is basically omnipotent and omniscient and omnipresent.

JSA: In the 1940s, there were heroes who helped fight for justice including: the first Flash, the first Green Lantern, Catman, and Doctor Fate. For all intensive purposes we are going to call them the Prototype versions, so Jay Garrick is the prototype flash while Barry is the first flash. You can disagree with my take, but it’s easier to explain if Barry is the first flash.

Questions:
Death Metal #1-2
Is this your first time reading it? If not, how does it feel coming back to it? If yes, what are your initial thoughts? Did the context guide help?

Do you like how Snyder skips over a big battle, but tries to fill in gaps with the narrative?

Who is your favorite Batman introduced in these issues?
What do you like (and dislike) about this alternate earth so far?

We will be reading Death Metal #3 in a couple of weeks.

Batman #95

Batman #95: The Story so far

Batman over 3 months rebuilds Gotham to make it safer. However, 4 super assassins come to distract batman. Slowly, various players from an old secret plan, realize that the Designer is back implementing a plan they created to take over Gotham. Catwoman, realizing the plot to steal Wayne Fortune, tries to steal it for herself, but gets captured by Punchline (Joker’s new accomplice) and gives Joker all the Wayne money. Meanwhile Batman beats the designer who turns out to be an animated corpse of the jokers. Now the Joker has the Wayne Fortune and he’s prepared to start a war.

Is this your first time reading it? If yes, what are your initial thoughts? Did the context guide help?

What are your thoughts on Punchline? Are you enjoying her, or is she kinda mediocre?

What is your favorite moment?

Strange Adventures #1-3

Context: Adam Strange is a human who got ahold of a jetpack and fought a war on the planet Rann. He got married. That’s what you need to know!

Strange Adventures #1-3

Questions.

  1. What do you make of the questions Terrific answered, why did King make that such an important part of this issue. What do you think King is teasing when discussing stories like the chess one?

  2. Most of the stories alternate the scene per page. Why would King alternate the pages between scenes?

  3. The lettering makes distinct choices between the Rann and Earth scenes. What can you gain from looking at that?

NOTE FOR EVERYONE

Please only read what you want to read. Also to encourage discussion, please format all comments like my comment below so that people can engage discussing the weekly books they read and ignore the books they haven’t read yet.

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(Fake) Death Metal #1 Thoughts for the Note for everyone

These are my spoiler thoughts here. Type them here so when people read that issue they can click on the comment and join the discussion. It’s the best way to create a spoiler-free environment if you have only read 2 of the issues.

Fake Strange Adventure #1-3 thoughts:

These are my strange adventure thoughts.

You can blur the words by using htlm text. Simply type in [spoiler] before the spoilerly comment section and [ /spoiler] after the stuff you want to blue without the space between [ and / to hide your text.

Also here is our weekly checklist Status update:

Batman Stories:

Death Metal Stories

Out of continuity stories:

Good stuff! I’ve been especially looking forward to reading Strange Adventures.

And I haven’t read any of these issues for this week before.

Nice to see the New to DCU Book Club ridng again. (Or should that be New to DCUI?)

Who knows, maybe the One Shots Book Club may emerge from the ether some day soon as well @Awesome_Squid

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Death Metal 1-2
This is my first time reading this story. The context guide did help me have some idea as to what was going on. I am not sure what I think of this story so far. I am not a big fan of the Batman who Laughs so far.

Batman 95
Yes, this is my first time reading this. I read last week’s Batman issues, so I was aware of the context already. I am still not a big fan of Punchline. The flashbacks with Alfred were probably my favorite moment.

Strange Adventures

  1. I was thinking that King was showing the depth of Terrific’s knowledge with all the questions he answered. Maybe the chess story was supposed to tease unconventional thinking.
    The other questions I may come back to later.

Death Metal was going to be more confusing then the rest. There’s a lot of stuff going on that can feel very overwhelming. The context is a little convoluted and poorly explained. (Somehow Batman #95 has to take place after the JL have been defeated and the BWL and Lex go to war, but before Death Metal which isn’t possible), but it’s an important story to understanding the universe heading into Infinite Frontier.

These questions are purposely trickier to answer because they are about pointing out what Tom King is trying to do. The story is less straightforward and King tries to do a lot of smart literary moments when he writes. There are no right answers to these questions, and a tease of unconventional thinking is definitely possible. I have my own thoughts that I will share later in the week, but I want to give others time first.

One thing that might help is that there is a big contrast between the Rann storyline and the Earth storyline in many different ways (including the artist). This is intentional. King wanted to explore the difference between truth and reality. (Which is a very narrow difference) we will see later how he handles it, but I am intrigued to see how he does it.

Okay, here we go:

Death Metal:
I really like this quite a bit. This is my first time reading, although I was pretty caught up with everything else leading up to this. I just read Hell Arisen first before jumping in. I can’t think of anything I would add to your guide above, Mr. Nathan, since you say you’ll be filling in more about Wally later.

I like how Snyder just jumped in after the evil Batfolk have already won and we’re all post-Batpocalypse. It makes things seem even more hopeless, like the heroes got beat so soundly there’s not point in even showing it.

My favorite Bats have to be the sentient car and the T-Rex. Especially the T-Rex. His tiny arms defense giggled me (Is that a spoiler? That’s not a spoiler, is it? T-Rex’s have tiny arms, people).

Batman #95:
Yep, first time reading all of this. I liked it a lot. Every major writer should get a major Joker story to tell, and Tynion is solid so there’s a lot to enjoy here. Punchline is more mediocre to me this time around, so I think my initial enjoyment of her before had a lot more to do with Harley’s banter than anything else. I wonder is works more as a foil than a character in her own right.

Strange Adventures:

This is the one I’ve been most looking forward to, given how good Mr. Miracle was (although I still need to go back and finish the last few issues on that). It was worth it, I thought this was really well done. The questions being constantly thrown to Mr. Terrific help show how obsessive he is regarding his knowledge, and shows the ready just how really, really intelligent he is. Everything else Nathan mentions seems to be to completely distinguish between what Adam reports his adventures to be on Rann vs. the much more grounded reality the present story is taking place in. I guess that helps us believe that what happened before may be just that: nothing more than a story. Also, I sure do want to know where the daughter is now!

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Thanks so much!!! I’m so glad that I’m doing a good job with the recaps where neccessary.

Um…His name is B-Rex… (We will read his origin story later) but it’s not a big spoiler. Snyder had discussed it alot before the book even came out in press interviews.

I’ll be curious to see what you think of Punchline #1 when we get there, because I think it will help you understand what’s so interesting about the character, but I do think she currently works better with a foil. We will talk about her 2021 stuff in September (HOLY F*** that’s a long way away…) when Joker #1 comes out and she gets the back-issue, but I think there’s a great plan coming.

seems to be to completely distinguish between what Adam reports his adventures to be on Rann vs. the much more grounded reality the present story is taking place in.

DING DING DING!!! Some things of interest include the lettering. When violence occurs on RANN. The lettering is full of sound effects and full of action. But on earth, there are no sound effects, the action is more subdued, and the “heroism” is minimalized. I think it goes to show that the Rann stuff is Nothing more than a story, but I do want to note that these events can be “real” and not be fully “Truthful” You can omit details to make your true story more self-promotional.

For the record, I’ve only read what you’ve read.

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Cool - now I’m curious what I’ll think of her, too…

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Strange Adventures 1 and 2 so far-
Question 1 concerning the questions Mr. Terrific answers the entire issue, it was a bit arrogant, the character’s way of telling everyone around him he’s knowledgable. I’ve never equated memorization ability with IQ, and neither do IQ tests. I did however enjoy that the quotes had to do with favorite historic figures of mine like Kierkegaard and Bobby Fischer.
T King might use some of this to point to plot developments, but this was supposed to be randomly generated questions.

The two techniques referred to in your other two questions, changing the scene every page and using different coloring between Rann and Earth to me points to anything shown on Earth is true and solid, anything depicted on Rann is very interpreted and full of either deliberate lies or self deception on Strange’s part. The Rann scenes I took to be excerpts from the book

Looking forward to reading the third issue maybe tomorrow, then back to week 1 Batman lol.

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Memorization and IQ aren’t the same thing, sure, but I view it more as Mr. Terrific testing himself. He’s matching “peak intelligence” with “peak physical activity” to show how he strives to be perfect. It never seems like he’s bragging about his knowledge.

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I hear you. To me the fact he does it so openly in public 24 hours a day makes it showy, but also I think it’s really is in harmony with other recent versions of Mr. Terrific, where he’s meant to be an arrogant high-level intellect, like in New 52 World’s Finest or the Terrifics, and it nicely adds to the tension between the characters of the story.

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Where is the link to join?

https://community.dcuniverseinfinite.com/g/NewtoDCU

I think this is it.

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