The wait is finally over as Geoff Johns and artist Jason Fabok deliver the first installment of their new Justice League arc The Darkseid War!

I’ve been anxiously waiting for this story to kick off. I’ve been play LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham just to fill the Justice League void in my life. Fortunately, I was not disappointed after their hiatus. It’s been some time since the Justice League graced the pages of their flagship title. Shortly after the Amazo Virus arc ended in March, Convergence commenced for two months. Officially, this story started with last month’s prologue, but here is where the League finally enters the picture.

This issue serves as an introduction, or a reintroduction to a lot of the main characters that will be involved. Beginning with the tale of Scott Free, revisit and redesign the young child of the Highfather that was previously shown in the prologue. Sent to live on Apokolips in an exchange of sons to prevent a cataclysmic war between Darkseid and Highfather, the young boy has grown up to become Mister Miracle. This is an old character from the New Gods mythology, but Johns and Fabok give him a fresh look and a simplified back history to bring the character up to date. That could upset a few fans, but it works well to introduce the players and their roles quickly, and keep things rolling. Last issue, we got an outsider’s perspective of the impending war through the eyes of Metron. Now, we get a sense of the situation from an insider’s point of view through Scott Free. A problem this large calls for help from the group that defeated Darkseid the last time–the Justice League!

Reminiscent of the intro to the Justice League animated series
Reminiscent of the intro to the Justice League animated series

As the story progresses, the focus switches over to the Justice League through Wonder Woman’s narration. The League is investigating a homicide after tracking a Boom Tube being used at that location. Due to some of Cyborg’s alien technology originating from Apokolips, he can sense whenever the Boom Tubes open. The use of Mother Boxes is what has the JL interested in a murder case.

The crime scene serves as a perfect background to reintroduce the members of the JL. The calm setting allows each character to be introduced and showcase their personality. Fabok illustrates the Flash in various places throughout the panels. Although, I hope Flash has great control moving that fast. Seems kind of risky to travel at such speeds at a crime scene.

Before the League or the readers has a chance to ponder what’s going on, the mysterious femme fatale, Grail makes her dramatic entrance (and boy, what an entrance it was). With the element of surprise, she begins to make short work out the JL as they try regroup and figure out exactly who is their assailant. With a few members down and Superman and Lex elsewhere, Grail singlehandedly ushers in the arrival of the Anti-Monitor.

The odds are really stacked against the Justice League
The odds are really stacked against the Justice League

The story switches between the League vs Grail, Superman and Luthor visiting Neutron, and Mister Miracle returning to Apokolips. Scott Free comes face to face none other than Darkseid. The dark lord doesn’t appear bothered by Scott’s presence. He easily neutralizes Mister Miracle who barely escapes with his life. As for Superman and Lex Luthor, they have their hands full trying to discover who put a price on Luthor’s head. They’re scenes together are very tense, funny, and jaw-dropping, simultaneously.

Spoiler
Superman doesn’t trust Luthor at all, so their back and forth banter is entertaining. A prime example is when Superman tells Luthor to put up or shut up and cure cancer. Of course Luthor obliges. That man’s ego knows no limits. Too bad that same ego results in him catching 3 bullets. From his sister, no less. The Luthor family reunion must be chock full of double crossings and passive aggressiveness.

Having the break in between arcs has really benefited this title. Fabok stated that he really wanted to focus on really bringing his A game for this story. The characters and the backgrounds look amazing. I really liked the updated look of Mister Miracle, and seeing Fabok’s Darkseid. The team work well together bringing such a large number of characters together without the pages ever feeling cluttered.

Spoiler
Since this issue was setup to introduce characters in the story, be sure to let me know in the comments who you felt had the best intro: Mister Miracle, Darkseid, Anti-Monitor, Grail, or her mother Myrina.
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Recommended if: 

  • You’ve been following the Justice League title
  • You’re waiting to see a massive war between two of the universe’s most powerful beings
  • You’re a fan of the New Gods mythology
  • You want a great jumping on point

Overall:

The issue is well written and wonderfully drawn. Geoff Johns crams a ton of material in here, but never does it feel overwhelming. A lot is going on here, and it seems like each member will travel down some very interesting journeys. Plenty of peril and doom is to be found in these pages, and the sheer scope of the story is exciting. It appears to be a very large story, but the great thing is that it is its own contained event. It doesn’t have to necessarily carry over into other books, and here we have a Kryptonian suit wearing, slick-haired Superman, and a Chappie-less Batman (that’s still Bruce). I’m all for the changes, but this title gave me a bit of what I wanted: some good ol’ fashioned superhero drama.

SCORE: 9.5 / 10