WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Dark Nights: METAL #4
While Marvel's Avengers are chasing their own Infinity Gauntlet, DC just gave Batman his very own. But it wouldn't be the kind of friendly competition and playful back-and-forth expected of Marvel and DC without Batman's version being a bit more... METAL. And just like the ongoing comic book event of the same name, Batman's superpowered, multicolored gauntlet is equal parts DC Comics legacy and absolutely outlandish fantasy. Strong enough to stop a squad of Supermen, too.
In any other story, Batman strapping on an armored gauntlet filled with every kind of Kryptonite he could find, and threatening to kill dozens of Superman doppelgangers would be the climax. In the METAL cosmic opera dreamed up by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo... it's just another page. Just another unforgettable page, to be clear. And, as has been the case with most other memorable moments, is guaranteed to delight heavy metal fans and the comic book geekdom alike.
To understand why this arguable deus ex machina is more payoff than cop-out, allow us to offer a bit of context. The origin story of DC's Multiverse has been completely rewritten, with an evil cosmic dragon using Superman to unleash infinite nightmare realities - erasing all light in the Multiverse completely.
So yeah, Batman's more than a little lucky to find his magic gauntlet when all hope is lost.
Batman's Kryptonite-Powered 'Five Finger Death Punch'
As mentioned above, it's actually a mash-up of Superman hybrids, alternate versions, and evil mash-ups Batman wields the gauntlet against (officially named his 'Five Finger Death Punch' as a nod to the heavy metal band of the same name). So far in METAL's story, the evil, demonic 'Bat-God' Barbatos has relied on an army of evil Batmen to do its bidding - Bruce Wayne's fears, haunting questions, and doubts made real. But with Superman now swapped in as the key to unleashing the Dark Multiverse, it's the nightmares of Superman charged with keeping him locked in place.
That includes a Superman who donned Lex Luthor's power armor, an inside joke making the Electric Superman an actual nightmare, and a mash-up of the Man of Steel and Batman from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. It's the latter who provides Bruce's way out, spotting his glove-mounted, Kryptonite kaleidoscope, and being too far gone to worry about harming the Superman he's actually trying to save.
The plan succeeds, since these other Supermen recognize Batman is crazy enough to kill them all (common sense is a multiversal constant, after all). It's a case of leaping out of the frying pan and into the fire for Batman and Superman. But as every Marvel Comics fan will tell you: attaining the Infinity Gauntlet - even a heavy metal, comedic facsimile of it - usually is. Here's hoping DC next takes a cue from The Avengers: Infinity War's new Captain America and gives Superman a beard and shield-- too late.
Dark Nights: METAL #4 is available now.