Beware of major spoilers to Dark Nights: Metal #5, ye who enter here

Dark Nights: Metal #5 came out today. The latest story by DC legends Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo has had some major implications for both heroes and villains of the DC Universe. In fact, the implications are Universe-ending. At the end of issue #5, the battle is essentially lost. Superman and Batman are falling into the Dark Forge, unsure if a spark will emerge to aid them. Wonder Woman saves Kendra Saunders from her corruption. Together, they return to the Universe to help the Justice League face…imminent death. Because it’s all but over; the battle is lost.

The last few pages spell doom for the entirety of the DC Universe. Of course, solicitations for future comics notwithstanding. But as of right now things are looking just plain awful. But just how does this apocalypse come about? Well, it’s revealed in the final panels of issue #5.

First, Wonder Woman and Kendra return to the DC Universe.

Then, as the obvious foreshadowing of her words spells out, Kendra and Diana wander into something unspeakable.  The two heroes witness the corruption that has literally laid the DC Universe low. It causes every hero and villain to become a bastardized, demonized version of themselves. Even the most powerful of characters fall to the power of Barbatos.

That is all that’s left of our heroes; all that’s left of the DC Universe.

Scott Snyder isn’t kidding around here. His first event series literally destroyed the DC Universe. He certainly can’t be accused of not being a risk-taker.

So what will happen to the DC Universe? What is left of our heroes? With the announcement of Scott Snyder’s next series Justice League: No Justice, the direction the Justice League is heading becomes clearer and stranger.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The reveal that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo basically destroyed the DC Universe is kind of a big deal. The two artists aren’t afraid of controversy. This is the team that killed Bruce Wayne, again, and made Jim Gordon his Batman-replacement. They’re no strangers to weird choices. But it’s because they know comic book fans have read it all. Readers have seen these characters go through every single story imaginable. So how do you mix it up? By allowing other characters a chance to take part.

That’s just one of the many ways these two have turned a good partnership into one of the best creative teams in comic book history. Needless to say, that’s what makes Dark Nights: Metal #5 and the series as a whole so special. The complete lack of fear. In the long run, every one of DC’s best heroes is going to be fine. But Snyder and Capullo are putting them through hell first.

With Justice League: No Justice on the horizon, the plans seems complex. Every story tends to wrap-up in the final entry, allowing the writers to get the superheroes back to their status quo. There’s no way in hell that’s happening here. The next issue clearly won’t be wrapping up the Dark Nights: Metal story entirely.

Instead, it’s obviously going to jettison these characters into different dimensions with different teams. But just how is that going to happen?

The Great Beyond

Batman Cover of Justice League: No Justice by Francis Manapul

This Batman-led cover is just one of 4 created by Francis Manapul for the upcoming series. Clearly, the characters appear to be in some kind of “nether-realm” outside of time or space. Or it’s just a cool back-drop for setting up these different teams.

Either way, it’s a fantastic piece of art from, arguably, DC’s greatest artist right now. The fact that Manapul is teaming up with writers Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson solidifies this book as the most exciting DC release of 2018. But just how will Scott Snyder align and separate our heroes, seemingly resurrect them, and launch them into a Universe-spanning adventure?

That’s a question that can really only be answered by the pages of Dark Nights: Metal #6. There’s so much to reveal and develop that there’s likely a few other ways this story will come about. At this moment, Batman and Superman are together. Aquaman was last seen with Deathstroke. Cyborg was a mangled mess. Hal, J’onn and Barry seem to have been corrupted by Barbatos. And the last panel is Wonder Woman and Kendra Saunders leaping headfirst into battle against all of the above. It’s a wondrous panel, reminiscent of Frank Miller’s famous Dark Knight image with the lightning-infused backdrop.

In the End

Despite being the best warrior in the Justice League, things don’t look good for Diana. The only way the world can be saved, is if Batman and Superman truly find a spark in the forge. They’ll re-emerge with brand new weaponry and come to Diana’s aid.

Together, DC’s trinity may actually ride the Joker-themed dragon as prophesied by this cover for Dark Nights: Metal #6.

Dark Nights: Metal #6 Cover by Greg Capullo, Writer Scott Snyder

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo would make readers everywhere cry tears of joy if this image somehow comes about in the pages of their next comic. Barbatos does have these dragons, as seen throughout Dark Nights: Metal. Readers have also seen the Justice League wearing armor in Dark Nights: Metal #1. Scott Snyder likes to plant story elements throughout his stories only to bring them back in the end. Maybe Snyder and Capullo have been teasing the final battle the entire time.

Somehow, the few DC heroes left alive will mount a defense against the rest of their now-corrupted Universe. Hopefully, Superman and Batman can somehow come to the aid of Wonder Woman as she faces impossible odds. But if they were to get their hands on a “Joker Dragon,” chances are DC’s Trinity would come out alive.