Dark Nights: Metal arrived in the pages of DC Comics in summer 2017 and quickly proved itself to be a popular crossover with lasting repercussions. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo pioneered the story, reunited following their hugely successful run on Batman during the New 52 era.
Like many other comic events, Dark Nights: Metal can be read as a limited series, in this case comprising six issues even though its story and consequences crossed into other titles and tie-ins. While the Justice League is at the heart of the story, the Teen Titans and Suicide Squad are roped in, too.
Dark Nights: Metal was well-received by readers. It set out new directions for the DC multiverse and introduced popular new characters. Most notable was the chilling Batman Who Laughs, a Jokerized version of Batman who’s fallen as much as a bat can fall.
Throughout the pages of the limited event, the Justice League investigates the origin of a mysterious metal that has fallen to Earth. That metal reveals a Dark Multiverse beneath the DC Multiverse and a host of Dark Batman originating from worlds that never stood a chance against the darkness and the Bat-God Barbatos.
If you’re eager to read the further misadventures of the Batman Who Laughs or 2020’s sequel event, Dark Nights: Death Metal, you should start with this series.
Originally running between June 2017 and March 2018, Dark Nights: Metal was released in single issues, later collected in four editions. To read the event in its correct chronological order, you have to jump between the titles. Here’s the best reading order to make sure you don’t miss a moment.
Essential Reading: Collected Editions
The complete event series and recommended pre-reading have been collected into four hardcover and paperback volumes:
Dark Days: The Road to Metal
Dark Nights: Metal
Dark Nights: Metal – Dark Knights Rising
Dark Nights: Metal – The Resistance
Complete Road To Dark Nights Metal
Dark Days: The Road to Metal collects several earlier DC issues that introduce themes or plot points picked up in the limited event. They’re not essential for reading Dark Nights: Metal, but this is where the groundwork was laid, reaching back to 2008’s Final Crisis and premonitions made during Snyder and Capullo’s run on Batman.
In chronological order, those issues are:
Dark Days: The Forge #1 (2017)
Dark Days: The Casting #1 (2017)
Final Crisis #6 and #7 (2009)
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 (2010)
Batman #38 and #39 (Endgame parts 4 and 5, 2010)
Nightwing #17 (Nightwing Must Die! Part 2, 2017)
Detective Comics #950 (The Big Picture, 2017)
The Multiversity Guidebook #1 (Map of the Multiverse, 2015)
Dark Nights Metal: The Complete Reading Order
The limited event series and its tie-ins crossed multiple titles and one-off specials. To experience the full Metal effect, you need to jump around the collected editions or carefully line up the original issues. To read Dark Nights: Metal in chronological order, the story runs like this:
Dark Nights: Metal #1
Dark Nights: Metal #2
Teen Titans #12 (Gotham Resistance Part 1)
Nightwing #29 (Gotham Resistance Part 2)
Batman: The Red Death #1
Batman: The Murder Machine #1
Batman: The Dawnbreaker #1
Batman: The Drowned #1
Suicide Squad #26 (Gotham Resistance Part 3)
Green Arrow #32 (Gotham Resistance Part 4)
Batman: The Merciless #1
Dark Nights: Metal #3
The Flash #33 (Bats Out of Hell Part 1)
Justice League #32 (Bats Out of Hell Part 2)
Batman: The Devastator #1
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #32 (Bats Out of Hell Part 3)
Justice League #33 (Bats Out of Hell Part 4)
Batman Lost #1
The Batman Who Laughs #1
Hawkman Found #1
Dark Nights: Metal #5
Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1
Dark Nights: Metal #6