The momentum is picking up quickly in the Darkseid War with the release of Justice League #42. Much anticipation is in the air for this heavyweight bout, and the story progresses ahead at a strong pace. This extra bit of setup serves to build towards a big payoff further along in the arc. This issue barely scratches the surface of what appears to be brewing from this story.

Geoff Johns spends a little time on each thread that he’s spun, giving the reader a clear understanding of where the characters stand, and how they’ll move forward from here. A very talk-driven issue, the entertainment never wanes to a boring aspect. Concise scenes for each character piece keep the balance well adjusted.

The second chapter starts off with Superman tending to the wounds of Lex Luthor. In Justice League #41, Lex was shot multiple times by his own sister. Whatever metal was present in her bullets was foreign, and able to penetrate through Luthor’s armor. Lena Luthor then sent Lex and Superman off to their current location of Apokolips via Boom Tube to meet their demise. Word reaches Darkseid that Superman is on the planet. New God, Steppenwolf informs Darkseid of the Justice League members’ location on the planet, and pledges his allegiance to the dark lord with a declaration of Superman’s murder. Darkseid wants more than the death of Superman, he wants to crush his spirit. He unleashes all the slaves on Apokolips to seek out and destroy Superman. Darkseid seeks to use Superman’s passion to look for hope in all things against him. On Apokolips, hope is scarce, and there’s no signs of that changing anytime soon. There’s a poignant moment in this scene for me when Darkseid is speaking with his elite. Steppenwolf asks him what exactly they’re fighting for. That question made me stop and pause, and think, “Hey…what is this war about”? There are a number of factors at play. “Capturing  [Darkseid’s] daughter, destroying the Anti-God, or revenge on the Justice League are some of the suggestions from Steppenwolf. Fittingly, how could it be about anything other than for Darkseid?

Few faces scarier than this mug in the 52 universes...and he's grinning
Few faces scarier than this mug in the 52 universes…and he’s grinning

On the other side of the fence, Wonder Woman and the injured League stand in awe at the the arrival of the Anti-Monitor. Diana narrates this portion of the story as a quick recap of what she knows up to this point. Though her back is against the wall, Wonder Woman charges in the face Grail, the half Amazonian exile who has ushered in this monstrosity. As the two clash, Anti-Monitor jumps into the fray with a powerful blow. Wonder Woman stares back at him in amazement and what appears to be fear. Before the Anti-Monitor could say some clever line a blast the entire League to smithereens, Metron appears on the battlefield. He teleports the JL away from the action, postponing this fight for another time.

Meanwhile, Mister Miracle and Grail’s mother, Myrina Black converse in her lair in Athens. Myrina rescued Mister Miracle from Kanto and Lashina, the very ones who are hunting her. She ues this downtime to explain her plan to Scott Free. She desires to see the death of Darkseid by any means necessary. She states that she created a weapon to do this. Myrina’s daughter that she conceived with Darkseid is the weapon that she speaks of. Grail bringing the Anti-Monitor to battle with Darkseid is her mother’s master plan to kill the Apokolips leader. This wouldn’t be such a bad idea if three-fourths of the Earth’s population wasn’t going to die in the process. Mister Miracle voices his concern to Myrina, who quickly defends her decision by attacking him. Just like in the last issue, Scott quickly has to react and boom himself to safety.

With the focus back on the League, we see that Metron has transported them to the safety of Shazam’s hideout, the Rock of Eternity. He brought them there because they are safe for the time being, giving them time to recover from their injuries. Metron tells the JL that this war is unwinnable and that they should cut their losses and find a place to vacate to for safety. Green Lantern is the only one familiar with Metron from their past encounter on Oa. Wonder Woman understandably is not in the mood for any shenanigans and uses her lasso to get to the bottom of things. Hal explains that Metron’s knowledge comes from the chair he sits on, so Diana does what smart person would do–she yanks his behind off of that chair. Batman rushes to the chair before it teleports through a boom tube. 

Spoiler
I already knew from the covers and solicitations that Batman would sit on Metron’s chair, but reading it for myself was different experience. First off, the design of his appearance while on the chair is terrific, but the most interesting thing was the questions Batman chose to test the chair out. He asked about his parents’ murderer, and then asked for the name of the Joker. In true comic fashion, the readers don’t get the revelation of the Joker’s true identity, but it was something that threw Batman for a loop. My guess, Joker somehow doesn’t have a name or information on him is somehow absent.
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I seriously want to know how long Fabok takes on these issues. His art is just so amazing. The pencils match the grand scale of the story. The plot and the dialogue are large in scope so the art has to reflect that. The character designs, facial expressions, and backgrounds are all meticulously detailed. A round of applause for colorist, Brad Anderson. From the eerie orange glow of Apokolips to the blinding bright blue of the Mobius Chair, the colors of the pages stand out remarkably. They look exceptional along with the detail in each panel.

Recommended if:

  • You’re following the Darkseid War
  • You want to see outstanding artwork
  • You want to see Superman and Lex Luthor have to fully trust one another
  • You want to torture yourself waiting for the next issue in August

 

Overall:

A quick read, the issue is similar to watching an after school cartoon, and “To be continued…” flashes across the screen. And it’s Friday and the show doesn’t come on during the weekend. The Justice League definitely have their work cut out for them with their backs against the wall, but they may have been provided some assistance after this issue’s cliffhanger. Jason Fabok and Geoff Johns are an awesome tag team combo right now. They’re like the Sting and Ultimate Warrior of comic books [or insert a more relevant duo here]! Most of the game pieces are all on the board, just waiting to see how the dominoes will fall.

SCORE: 8.5 / 10