Fans might have exerted one gigantic sigh when Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo departed the Batman franchise a little over four years following the debut of their New 52 run, but this year's return, chronicled in the pages of Dark Nights: Metal, has made it the comics event of the year (sorry, Doomsday Clock).
Harkening back to classic crises of DC's past, Snyder and Capullo's opus to both Batman and metal iconography feels like poetry in motion or, at the very least, a very well put together album. It's even getting its own soundtrack soon, and while the sheer scope of its premise is bound to flummox some readers, you'd be hard-pressed to find a Bat-fan who doesn't get a big fat bat-grin flicking through its pages.
Said premise, centred around the discovery of a 'Dark Multiverse', is just genius, and both Snyder and Capullo have been afforded plenty of space to exploit it fully. It's visually stunning in every sense of the word, painstaking in its use of the Bat-license and even better for its cumulative contributions to it. The Batman Who Laughs is already shaping up to be one of the best villains in the character's rogues gallery, and - quite unusual for an event comic - even the tie-ins have felt worthwhile.
That's no small feat, and while Bat-fatigue is something DC will have to be weary of in the months ahead, there's no denying that Metal, in all its bombast and beauty, has made for one of the most entertaining reads of the last five years, let alone this one.