Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: James Tynion IV, Frank Tieri
Artists: Riccardo Federici, Rain Beredo (colours)
Release Date: 27th September 2017
In “The Murder Machine”, DC’s second direct tie-in to METAL, we get to see the Cyborg Universe’s answer to Batman.
Taking one part Terminator and one part I, Robot, the unstoppable mechanical killing machine trope has been used over and over, but here it’s used to showcase a much more cold and calculated side to a character I would have sworn couldn’t get any more stoic.
Tieri and Tynion IV have pulled out the big guns, so to speak, with a measured balance between flashbacks and real time, showing just how this particular Bats went down the darker path, while simultaneously providing some nice characterisation for Cyborg. Personally I’ve always found the Cyborg character to be a little one-dimensional, however here we get to see more of the man than the machine – a man who still has a family and who can still show emotion.
I’m a huge fan of the art on this book, with Federici bringing a realistic style, with super-fine linework and an acute attention to detail. The flashback scenes are my personal favourite, only using a few straight panels, and the rest of the time having everything flow into each other.
The star of the book for me though is colorist Rain Beredo, who manages to distinctly separate the past and the present, adding a beautiful choice of colour palette to an already gorgeous book. The few uses of bright and neon really make the splash pages pop.
It’s safe to say that the unifying buzz-words for Metal so far would be ‘over-the-top’, ‘grandiose’ and, well, ‘ridiculous’, providing us with a series of alternate realities where Batman is the baddie, and is an amalgam of different Justice League characters.
All the boxes are ticked here for me, but with the bar set so high already, it did fall slightly short of a perfect score, in a ‘good, but not great’ way. That’s not to say that this should be skipped over by any means, because let’s be honest, it’s still gold, and worth the cover price for the Terminator Batman alone.
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